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.
Bash and Kenna advance their own agendas.
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."