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"Reign" Creator On The "Scary, Sweeping, And Epic" Second Season

Plus, watch an exclusive teaser for Reign's "haunted" sophomore season. More "forces of darkness, forces of the heart" ahead!

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Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo
The CW

Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo

If it felt like the first season of Reign — The CW's 15th-century drama about Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) — sped through history, that's because executive producer and co-creator Laurie McCarthy was desperate to get her series to a very specific period in time.

"We burned through the timeline last year because I wanted to do two things: I wanted to get Mary and Francis (Toby Regbo) on the throne, so that Season 2 felt like a new chapter, and I also wanted Lola (Anna Popplewell) to have his child," McCarthy told BuzzFeed News. "Now that I've got everybody where I want them, there are so many stories to tell about them being young rulers. We also get to go beyond the castle walls, out into the landscape of France, and see the real obstacles they face with the nobles."

She continued: "We're also leaning into the religious wars between Protestants and Catholics because it gives you a lot of high stakes. Really, what that was was the revolution brewing between the old guard and the new guard. There are so many stories to explore there that we'll be slowing down a bit and going really deep rather than speeding forward."

In the spirit of slowing down, McCarthy broke down the biggest moments from BuzzFeed's exclusive teaser trailer.

Death takes no prisoners.

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Season 1 ended with a massive death as Francis murdered his father, King Henry (Alan van Sprang), and more bodies will hit the floor now that the plague has invaded the castle walls. "We like the danger to reach into the heart of the show," McCarthy said of the black death potentially affecting every character.

And while Reign has yet to kill off a main character this season — although things don't look good for Bash (Torrance Coombs) and Kenna (Caitlin Stasey) in the teaser — McCarthy would not hesitate to kill off a fan favorite. "If it feels right, then yes," she said ominously.

Bash and Kenna advance their own agendas.

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The first season featured an impromptu arranged marriage between Bash, the king's bastard son, and Kenna, the king's former mistress. And in Season 2, the love between this unlikely couple will continue to grow as each cements their foothold in the castle's political sphere.

"Bash is going to be drawn closer and closer into Francis' rule," McCarthy said. "His brother is going to lean on him a lot, and the more [Bash] tries to protect and defend his brother, the more complicated his life is going to become."

As for Bash's better (?) half, McCarthy will continue to mine humor from Kenna's outsider-on-the-inside perspective. "She's so unedited and I love that," McCarthy said, laughing. "But Kenna's incredibly ambitious and a little bit reckless — and I don't see that changing because she's happily married."

Francis will pay for the sins of his past.

Francis is hiding two big secrets at season's start: He fathered a child out of wedlock with Lola, and he murdered his father. While both threaten to derail his life, only one could lead to his death. "There's no greater crime, and it's the one crime a king is not protected from," McCarthy said of Francis' lethal bedside manner, before adding, "It would take Mary down too — and someone knows the truth!"

So, how far will Francis go to protect this secret? "If someone were to blackmail the king, I think he would do just about anything to protect Mary and his entire line."

A line that now includes a son. Although it was incredibly common for kings to have children with women who were not their wives, Mary is not your average spouse. "It's a thorn in their marriage," McCarthy said of the infant. "And Francis will have a bond with Lola that isn't necessarily sexual — although it clearly was at one point. Francis is eager to have a family and it puts a lot of pressure on Mary, who historically had incredible difficulty conceiving. And the harder his job gets, the more pleasure he'll take in simpler things, and [his son] is a simpler relationship."

A power shift puts Catherine (Megan Follows) on the offensive.

With her husband dead, Catherine is no longer the ruling queen of France; Mary is — and that proves to be an incredibly bitter pill for Catherine to swallow. "I love their relationship," McCarthy said enthusiastically. "What I love about it is they couldn't have more in common, really. And yet Mary's taken something from Catherine. Even though Catherine is now relatively at peace with the fact Mary is wed to her son, she still took her son! She has a lot of natural mother-in-law tendencies and a big stock of poison."

In navigating this new dynamic, fans will be presented with even more backstabbing and side-eyeing. "We'll see their relationship twist and turn a lot into many different iterations this year," said McCarthy. "It will be less black and white than Catherine simply wanting Mary gone, but there will be moments — that will be earned by story — where Catherine is most definitely going to want Mary gone."

Ghosts — both literal and metaphorical — haunt the castle's halls.

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"We talk about this being the haunted season a lot on the writing staff," McCarthy said. "They're people who are born of such privilege, but they're haunted by their responsibility and they've all made choices that have spilled a lot of blood. If you've committed a lot of sins, you may be haunted by nightmares or visions."

"When you have people with so much power, they can influence others," she added. "But when they influence, the outcome can be shocking. And if you have people who are mercurial in these positions of power, they can make enormous things happen and I'm excited about everyone seeing that. This season is going to be just as scary and sweeping and epic, but more complex — and there will be surprising twists and turns."

Watch BuzzFeed's exclusive tease for Season 2 of Reign, premiering Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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