At the 2018 New York Comic Con, Syfy nearly brought the house down at the Hammerstein Ballroom when it aired the premiere episode of Deadly Class, which airs Wednesday night. Writer and executive producer Rick Remender was on hand for the occasion, as were stars Benedict Wong, Benjamin Wadsworth, Lana Condor, María Gabriela de Faría, Luke Tennie and Liam James. Taylor Hickson, who plays the toxins-obsessed Petra, wasn’t there, but she definitely knows how it felt.
Deadly Class star Taylor Hickson talks about Syfy’s next big hit
“That’s been really fun,” the 21-year-old Canadian actress tells Metro of the show’s fanbase. “It’s also a tricky thing because we have to ensure that the fans who have been with us since day one are happy with how the story’s being told. We’re true to the comics, in a sense, but we’re also adding in a little bit of our own flair. We’re trying to bring these characters to life, even though the fans have already written them out in their heads. So we’re praying to God that it works for them. Lord knows we don’t want it to be a disappointment for them.”
Judging by the Hammerstein Ballroom’s reaction to October’s surprise screening, however, Hickson shouldn’t have anything to worry about. After all, the fans have already been flocking to social media and numerous genre-focused websites in anticipation of Wednesday’s official premiere.
“They’re so amazing,” she says. “We have all these fan pages already. They’re so dedicated to and excited about this show. We’re so happy to see so many others as excited as we were during the year or more that we spent creating the show.”
In Remender’s graphic novels, Petra is depicted as a 1980s Goth kid with a penchant for poisons. The TV adaptation’s portrayal of the King’s Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts student is more or less the same, though Hickson admits she initially took inspiration from a surprisingly different source.
“I was actually booked for the part off of a single self-made tape. It was nothing, though it took a lot of work to create my character,” she says. “Some of my influence came of the 1990s cartoon Daria. But yeah, she was very fun to create and when they brought me on, but essentially, myself and Siobhan [Williams] were the first cast members assembled. The rest came later.”
“Nobody was prepared for the caliber of this project, or for who ended up being behind it,” she adds in reference to executive producers Joe and Anthony Russo, the Avengers: Infinity War directors. “So when we booked it, my agent was like, ‘This is cool. It’s a little pilot you can shoot before the new year.’ Now I know he just didn’t really understand how prominent Petra was to the storyline. He thought it was just a small recurring role for the first season of a new show. Maybe three episodes max. It was all a bit of a surprise for us!”
Deadly Class release date
Deadly Class premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.