Rosario Dawson on Why HBO Max's 'DMZ' Won't Have A Season Two

DMZ was originally intended to be a longform series on HBO Max but in the end it was reduced to just four episodes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosario Dawson told Newsweek.

The show, which was released on Thursday, March 17, was one of the last sets to shut down filming in March 2020, and the pilot was made with the intention of there being a second season, until plans changed.

DMZ follows Alma Ortega (Dawson) who travels into the eponymous zone based between the U.S.A and the Free States of America (the F.S.A) , where she goes in search of her son Christian, who went missing eight years before during an evacuation of the city.

Rosario Dawson on Why HBO Max's 'DMZ' Season 2 Won't Happen

"The idea when we originally started this was for it to be a multi-year several episode series, and because it's so expensive and because of the time [with the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding] the entire filming industry shut down... thank God it wasn't shelved, instead it was picked for a four-episode miniseries," Dawson told Newsweek.

"It was wonderful though because we ended up having a singular voice guiding us through it which is so powerful, and, you know, we condensed it and I think that's one of the reasons why these four episodes are so intense is because it's like a really good four-act movie, there's no filler, there's nothing."

Speaking about what the director had planned for DMZ, Dawson added: "Interestingly enough when we first did this with Ava [DuVernay, who directed the pilot] we had 900 extras a day for the evacuation scene, which when you add crew it was 1000 people, like I can't even imagine when I'll ever be on a set that has that many people again.

"Let alone just the COVID side of it but even just TV studios going 'yeah, we can just make that up later and avoid the cost and the logistics of it' because it's intense, you know.

"It's a really expensive show, and we shot it in March 2020 and we were one of the last productions to shutdown worldwide, and then we had a year and a half before we picked up production again.

The actress went on to explain that the show was shortened to be a limited series, however there was a possibility of there being more if there was fan interest in it.

The DMZ comics focus on a journalist named Matthew "Matty" Roth who, amongst others, meet's Dawson's character while investigating life in the DMZ, though now she is a leader named "Zee", an alter-ego Dawson's Alma adopts during the show.

"It was intended as the comics progressed, it was intended to be a much more longer form show," Dawson shared of her character's journey, and how the way the show ended could lead onto another season.

"Ultimately I think that depends on everything from the audience reaction and demand and, you know, schedules!

"I know that everyone when they first joined were hoping it'd be something longer to kind of deep dive into. It's a possibility, you know.

"I think it was vastly important that we got to make these four episodes, I am grateful we got to do that because it is very special, it has a lot to say even in just these four episodes."

Rosario Dawson on How the Show Compares to The 'DMZ' Comics

Dawson also spoke on how reading the DMZ comics made her think of her own childhood, saying: "I went through the comic, my friend Ashley was actually going to send me a picture, I was reading it with my dad while he was getting cancer treatment.

"It was really great to share it with him because I grew up in the Lower East Side in an abandoned building, in a neighbourhood and community that was not so different, honestly, from the neighbourhood depicted in the comics, and ultimately in the show.

"And it was really powerful to see that kind of storytelling, and I really love that perspective, something that really driven by the character of Alma, which is literally the character in the comics.

"This idea of like, not just focusing so much on the dystopian war aspect of [the comics], but really the internal space as a community is trying to find its way forward in the midst of war, and are they going to make the exact same mistakes that are literally being bombed all around them?

"Or are they going to be able to do something different? I love my character in particular, because she's the one who's the catalyst for change."

Rosario Dawson on What the Show Says About Parenthood

DMZ also explores the notion of parenthood and what it means for Alma, who learns her son Christian (Freddy Miyares) is no longer the boy she knew and has become a violent hitman for his father Parco Delgado (Benjamin Bratt).

Sharing what she felt DMZ said about parenthood, Dawson added: "It's intense, it's people raising people, it's fallible, flawed people, raising people in the midst of trying circumstances, and you know, divisions worldwide.

"In trying to, you know, bring who you are to it, and an understanding that, eventually, that child is going to talk back and tell you what they actually needed. You can go into any room and say, 'did your parents mess you up because they overwhelmed you or because they neglected you?'

"And, you know, it's trying and challenging, and also a remarkable experience and relationship. It's one of most remarkable and special things you can experience, and I'm saying that as a mom myself now.

"It's tough, and as you get older you start to recognize the choices you begrudged certain family members [for] because that's all they knew how to do.

"It's about connected and finding that empathy with each other... if there's anything DMZ speaks to it's that so much could be avoided if people really talked to each other and saw each other."

DMZ is available to watch in full on HBO Max now.

Rosario Dawson
DMZ
DMZ
Rosario Dawson, Freddy Miyares, and Benjamin Bratt in "DMZ".