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‘The Wilds’ Producers on Balancing the Stories of the 2 Groups of Teen Survivors in Season 2

The executive producers explain how they keep all those timelines straight in the writers room

Prime Video’s “The Wilds” is back for a second season of danger, island survival, and a social experiment none of the teen girls signed up for. This time around, though, we won’t just be following the stories of Toni, Shelby, Martha, Rachel, Leah and Dot. As we learned at the end of Season 1, Gretchen Klein is conducting the exact same experiment with a group of teen boys, leading to an expanded Season 2 world.

“I know a lot of people were worried we were just leaving the girls behind. That is 100% not happening,” executive producer Amy B. Harris told TheWrap. “We are going to be exploring some of the boys’ backstories, not all of them, some of them in tandem with each other, so that we can really split the – we really want to be with the girls and with the boys half and half and what was so important to us about the boys as we brought them in, and we know some of our fandom was not as excited about seeing this new group come in, is Gretchen’s really using them as a counterpoint to her main group. So, even when we’re watching the boys, it’s like, ‘Oh, we’re watching them in comparison to how the girls did finding water or how the girls put their shelter up.’

She continued: “Even when we’re with the boys, we very strongly feel like the girls are always sort of informing that experience. So, we’re excited to invest in both groups equally. And I think it’s very valid — the coming of age stories — of both these islands of castaways.”

And it seems that Gretchen (Rachel Griffiths), the woman conducting the experiment on the unsuspecting teens, has a stake in one of the races. The boys are the control group “she doesn’t want to succeed,” Harris said, noting however that Gretchen “won’t put her hand necessarily on that scale.”

“I think the audience is a little bit on that journey,” Harris added.

As the Season 2 trailer showed, at some point in the show’s post-island rescue timeline, in Gretchen’s compound, where the teens are being quizzed by her team (who are pretending to be American government officials), Leah will come into contact with one of the boys. That should be a gamechanger. 

“She’s becoming someone who’s going on the offensive in this post-rescue compound,” executive producer and show creator Sarah Streicher said, noting that Leah has become “stealthy” since her island experience.

“And I think we were just really excited about the idea of her colliding with someone else from this other island that could be the chocolate to the peanut butter, sort of like, ‘This is what I need. This is what you’re bringing. We bring it together and now we are actively getting at something here,’” she added. 

With so many storylines and timelines (before the island, on the plane, on the island and in the “rescue” compound), as well as a new group of teens, it was no doubt a challenging task for the show’s writing team as they headed into Season 2, but Harris said they had guides.

“Yeah, we have maps. We have timelines that help us remember where we are. And then it’s just really about reminding ourselves over and over again, like where we are emotionally in each of the stories? And that kind of grounds us,” she said.

“So there’s a lot of Jenga puzzle pieces that you’re sort of pushing in and pulling out all at the same time, which kind of also makes it fun,” she added.

Season 2 of “The Wilds” is available to stream on Prime Video.

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