The Inverse Interview

Invincible Showrunner Breaks Down Season 2’s Wild Ending — And Teases Season 3 Plans

“We have some really, really great stuff.”

Invincible Season 2 Episode 8
The Inverse Interview

Throughout Invincible’s second season, teenage superhero Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) has felt trapped between two worlds.

In the wake of Omni-Man’s (J.K. Simmons) absence, he’s become the de facto leader of the “Guardians of the Globe,” the last resort to save the Earth from its various threats. He’s also just started college, building a reputation as an absentee freshman with bad study habits. Understandably, his dual identities and existential burdens become hard to reconcile: Will he shake his father’s reputation, or take on the Viltrumites’ genocidal campaign? Will he make time for school and his girlfriend Amber, or is his job too demanding and all-encompassing? Will he be able to protect and console his mother, or bring more danger to her doorstep?

Like Season 1, the finale of Season 2 leaves Mark battered and bloody, but ultimately victorious.


The Season 2 finale went a long way in answering those questions — but like the end of Season 1, it leaves Mark soaked in blood and uncertain about the consequential decisions he’s just made. It’s a narrative symmetry and renewed ambiguity that’s made watching Robert Kirkman’s animated Prime Video series so rewarding. Despite the intergalactic warfare, absurdist supervillains, and ultraviolet showdowns, Invincible has subverted the genre by never forgetting to recognize the humanity and psychological states of its primary characters.

“That's the stuff that comes into our heads when we're talking in the writer’s room,” co-showrunner and executive producer Simon Racioppa tells Inverse. “We treat all our characters like they're real people, even in this fantastical world.”

“We treat all our characters like they're real people, even in this fantastical world.”


That general approach is evident during Invincible’s climactic showdown with Angstrom Levy (Sterling K. Brown). The villainous scientist began Season 2 hopping between dimensions and introducing the multiverse, where numerous alternate realities exposed Invincible as a sadistic Viltrumite-sided warrior. In spite of his recent disfigurement and scrambled memories, Levy has every reason to believe that defeating Invincible—even a kind-hearted one—is the only rational thing to do.

“He thinks he’s doing the right thing in killing Mark,” Racioppa says. “He's got these memories from all these other dimensions where Mark is terrible. Can you take that chance with this one?”

“What if you were the kid of a famous dictator, or one of your parents had been a murderer?”

As he threatens Debbie (Sandra Oh) and her stepson Oliver inside their house, Levy fights off Invincible by throwing him through various portals and into different dimensions. The pair’s confrontation leads to collateral damage — Levy eventually snaps Debbie’s arm, a decision, Racioppa says, that helped illustrate the idea that “she wasn’t protected by the fact she was Debbie”—but ultimately ends with a brawl in an indistinct desert world, where Invincible unleashes a torrent of blows upon his opponent. In an instant, he turns Levy into a pulpy mess, perhaps the consequence of his inner-Viltrumite waiting to follow in the footsteps of other killer Invincibles.

“What if you were the kid of a famous dictator, or one of your parents had been a murderer?” Racioppa suggests. “There's always a part of you that is like, ‘What if that comes up in me? Am I that person? Is half of me a terrible person? And what if that half wins?’”

Angstrom Levy returns in Invincible Season 2 Episode 8.


Levy’s villainous arc works primarily thanks to Brown, whose gravitas and deceitfully kind voice captured his character’s confused anger and incessant need for retribution. Similarly, it’s hard not to feel Mark’s righteous rage as Yeun screams between various punches and deathblows.

With such a talented voice cast, Racioppa admits that he often writes dialogue to his actor’s intonations and pacing, creating “bad impressions of them” in his head.

“I talk the words out loud a lot to hear the rhythm and to make sure that the words sound good,” Racioppa says. “It's a little bit like music — gaps and pauses and the length of the words changes.”

Invincible wielding what appears to be a Fortnite sniper rifle.


The decision to bookend the season with the big-brained villain was “hugely important,” Racioppa says, an opportunity to put a bow on Levy’s arc and highlight Mark’s murderous potential. The maniacal outburst also clarifies his decision to break up with Amber (Zazie Beetz) in the seventh episode after a Viltrumite unexpectedly crashes a dinner date with her and Mark. Unlike previous work interruptions, in which Mark is summoned into ill-timed Invincible duty by Cecil Stedman (Walton Goggins), the terrifying encounter suggests Amber will always be in danger around Mark, making a romantic relationship untenable.

In some ways, the scene feels drawn from pieces of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, which Racioppa admits “has come up in my thoughts a lot” throughout the writing process. More than their protagonist’s high-flying, web-spinning theatrics, Raimi’s movies centered their axis around Peter Parker’s constant negotiation with his alter ego and the consequences of involving himself romantically with Mary Jane. At various points, Peter attempts to live a normal life, tries to make a relationship work, and then reality sets in—a police scanner sounds an alarm, a burning building needs his heroism, a villain has leveraged his friends and family members.

“It can kind of suck to be a superhero,” Racioppa says. “Is it ethical for him to go to a college course when there's a ferry sinking somewhere else? How do you balance those two things? Spider-Man obviously can't get to Chicago in five minutes. Mark can. What's the scope of your responsibilities to the world with these powers?”

Invincible meets Spider-Man — sort of.


It’s a lot for anyone to take on, let alone a 19-year-old. As Mark hovers above school and watches Amber attend classes without him, a world-weary pain sets in, a recognition that he’ll never live a regular college existence. “Mark is just going through too much,” Racioppa says. “Amber deserves a real life.” That’s one of the reasons he eventually leans (quite literally) on Samantha/Atom Eve (Gillian Jacobs), another superhero determining her path in the world. Mark doesn’t seem ready to dive into another relationship, but much like his mother found temporary comfort in a superhero support group, he realizes there are only a few people who can relate to being responsible for someone’s death.

“You can be hurt mentally just as badly as you can physically,” Racioppa says. “Mark is far more vulnerable in a mental position than he is in a physical way.”

“Mark is far more vulnerable in a mental position than he is in a physical way.”


As Kirkman recently told The Ringer, he and Racioppa have planned out seven or eight seasons of Invincible. But this latest batch of episodes felt like a major transition and inflection point, a time for Mark to realize his higher purpose and calling, grapple with the burdens of his choices and growing strength, and understand that the path forward will be much tougher than he thought.

“The first episode of the second season is like, ‘I'm terrified of becoming my father, having this killer in me, and that's not who I am, I'm not gonna do it,’” Racioppa says. “Then he kills someone at the end of the season. There’s going to be pain from that.”

Racioppa won’t spoil much of Season 3, but it’s clear there is more reckoning ahead. After all, in the finale’s post-credits scene, on the brink of being executed by his fellow Viltrumites, Omni-Man expresses to Allen the Alien (Seth Rogen) that he misses Debbie. Is it possible for him to smooth over their relationship? And could he potentially repair the damage with Mark and defend his son’s planet again?

“I feel like we're building on that,” Racioppa says. “We have some really, really great stuff. I can't wait.”

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