Yellowjackets Executive Producer Drew Comins On The Line That Never Made It Into The Show [ATX]

The thrilling new series "Yellowjackets" may be in the off season, but the buzz around the freaky, excellent wilderness survival drama hasn't died down. Today, /Film's Ryan Scott is reporting from ATX Television Festival, where executive producer Drew Comins is breaking down some of what made the show's first season so singular.

According to Comins, the show's success and uniqueness lies not in its plot, which he says people tend to describe as "a young, female 'Lord of the Flies'" or "'Lost' with teenage girls," but in the execution of its often bone-chilling tone. Particularly, Comins said he was struck by an understanding of what the show would become when he heard a wickedly dark line of dialogue that didn't make it into the final version of the show's pilot.

"Yellowjackets" follows two timelines. In one, a championship-bound high school girls' soccer team crash lands in the wilderness in 1996 and must learn to survive in a challenging, and eerie, environment. In the other — set in the present day — the traumatized and secretive survivors struggle to maintain their privacy about what transpired over twenty years ago, still facing prying questions from those around them. The cut line of dialogue Comins referenced apparently related directly to those nosy questions, and laid the underlying premise of the show bare early on.

Shauna gets real

Comins says crash survivor Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) was originally going to confront a reporter in the first episode of the series, saying, "I know what you really want to ask. You want to ask if we f***ing ate each other."

It's true, if you somehow missed it: "Yellowjackets" is also about cannibalism. This would have been an incredible line, and it's easy to picture Lynskey delivering it with a niceness that edges almost imperceptibly into a threat; however, it never made it into the show's final edit. Instead, the show's early allusions to potential cannibalism were just dream-like and subtle enough to keep viewers guessing if it would really happen. With a second season in the works, the show has plenty of time to explore that burning question further.

Comins says hearing the line for the first time while in a room with the show's writers and creators made his blood run cold. The producer thinks that it's a great example of how the show's strong tone shines through, making it a one-of-a-kind story. "It kind of goes there," he says. "It says those indelicate things, and it asks very indelicate questions of the audience." It sure does. 

"Yellowjackets" season 1 is available on Showtime.