Ahead of the upcoming premiere of the third season of Apple TV+’s workplace comedy series Mythic Quest, Nerds & Beyond caught up with series stars Charlotte Nicdao and Imani Hakim, who portray Poppy and Dana, respectively.
Mythic Quest follows a group of video game developers tasked with building worlds, molding heroes and creating legends, but the most hard-fought battles don’t occur in the game — they happen in the office. For Nicdao, season 3 will see Poppy navigate the gaming world and her partnership with Ian at the newly formed GrimPop studios. Meanwhile, Hakim’s Dana will be forced to play mediator to her bosses’ incessant bickering.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
Nerds & Beyond: The two of you have a really great dynamic. It’s so entertaining to watch it play out this season in particular. Can you talk a little bit about that and how it’s evolved since season 2?
Hakim: In season 2, we were both totally in different spaces. [Poppy] and Ian were Co-Creative Directors, and Dana was still technically a tester (and working directly under Poppy). Now, Ian and Poppy have started their new company, and they hired Dana as their one employee to help them with the startup company. There was a hierarchy before, but now Dana is finding her own footing and finding her confidence, where Poppy and Dana get to learn from each other but also clash.
Nicdao: They kinda clash. [Laughs]
Nerds & Beyond: The script for the show is great — I’m always laughing. The two of you have some amazing lines. Is there any improvisation that ever happens while you’re filming, or is everything just straight from the page?
Nicdao: We’re definitely given the freedom to play around with stuff on the day and find new things in the scenes. I think that most of the time when you’re laughing, it’s something that one of our brilliant writers has written, but I still think that we get given the opportunity to bring parts of ourselves to the character. [To Hakim] Would you agree?
Hakim: Absolutely. Yeah, there’s so much creative freedom there. They want you to have fun. They want you to find those moments that you can’t necessarily write all of the time. It’s just marrying both of the two and finding what works.
Nerds & Beyond: Despite the fact that this show is a comedy, there’s a lot of sincerity in the writing. What kind of underlying themes do you think that people might take away from this upcoming season?
Nicdao: [To Hakim] I love the thing that you were talking about earlier, about perseverance.
Hakim: Yeah. My take with this season is: all of the characters have been uprooted from their original plot and their story. Brad, he’s freshly out of jail. There’s Rachel, who’s in and out of school. There’s Dana, who’s now working directly with Poppy and Ian. Poppy and Ian have completely left Mythic Quest. So it seems like everyone’s getting a fresh start. It feels like a season of perseverance. You’re pushing forward to this new level, and you don’t really know where you’re going to end up, but you really want to see it through.
Nicdao: I think the whole is really about creative collaboration and what it means to bring something to life with a group of people — both the successes and the pitfalls of that. It is really fun to see these characters, that we have seen kind of in their element in the previous two seasons, now in these completely new landscapes. Like fish out of water … fishes out of water?
Hakim: Fish out of water.
Nicdao: Fishes? Fish out of waters?
Hakim: I think it’s just one fish.
Nicdao: One fish.
Nerds & Beyond: If you could take any character from the show out for lunch to pick their brain, who would it be?
Both: Oooh …
Hakim: Yeah, Brad.
Nicdao: Does that make me evil?
Hakim: No. I was going to say Brad, too.
Nicdao: I wanna know how he works. I want his secrets. He always seems to land on his feet.
Hakim: The thing is, even though everyone is a little bit all over the place, I feel that Brad has this weird level head.
Nicdao: He’s got a plan, yeah!
Hakim: He does have a plan.
Nicdao: Is Brad the most psychologically well?
Hakim: Maybe. Hot take.
Nicdao: Hot take.