‘Utopia’ Creator Gillian Flynn on Why She Killed Off THAT Character So Soon

Flynn tells TheWrap “no character is sacred” in her Amazon series

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(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Episode 2 of “Utopia.”)

Despite the fact Jessica Rothe was heavily promoted as one of the leading ladies of Gillian Flynn’s “Utopia,” her character, Samantha, was shot and killed by Jessica Hyde (Sasha Lane) at the end of Episode 2, leaving behind Becky (Ashleigh LaThrop), Wilson Wilson (Desmin Borges) and Ian (Dan Byrd) to follow the crazed woman who just murdered their friend.

So why did Flynn kill off Sam, the girl who knows the most about the “Utopia” comic book conspiracy, the leader of the pack, and an all-around good person who was just trying to help?

Well, for starters, Sam was born just to die.

“I will say that Sam is a character that I created, she wasn’t in the original [British series ‘Utopia,’ which was created by Dennis Kelly] and she was created largely to die, despite the actress, Jessica Rothe, being so, so good,” Flynn told TheWrap. “I was tempted to try to figure out if she could have a secret twin, Lamantha or something, so I could keep her around.”

But the reason Sam had to die, according to Flynn, is twofold.


“To me, it signals this is a world where you can’t take anything for granted. It puts the audience on this unsettling, almost unreliable narrator route where you find out the person who is going to be in charge is Jessica Hyde, who is obviously someone who is willing to kill in her single-minded pursuit of finding her dad and finding the truth. So it gives you a good wobbly and puts you in an unsteady place.”


“You could also play a drinking game for the number of times where people say, ‘Sam’s the leader! Sam knows the most.’ I have a distinct memory, my dad was a film professor and I remember him introducing me to ‘Psycho’ at a fairly tender age, and when Janet Leigh’s character is killed off, being so shocked out of my shoes at that point. I loved that idea ever since that no character is sacred. I liked that and I liked that it gave Jessica’s character this idea that, to her, humans are fungible. She doesn’t really understand the value of human life because she’s never really been taught to think of anything but survival. So over the course of the series, you see her take very, very small baby steps toward humanity and toward understanding that shooting your way out of everything isn’t always the answer. Violence isn’t always the answer. Humans aren’t just dolls that you put away and take back out when you need them, that people have individual wills and lives.”

“Utopia” Season 1 is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.


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