The CW's 'Pandora' star Ben Radcliffe on the 'intelligent, compassionate, and emotionally complex' Ralen
Ben Radcliffe also credits 'Pandora' for perfectly implementing the power and beauty of fiction to speak about the best and worst of humanity, which includes our hopes and fears
The CW debuted 'Pandora,' on Tuesday, July 16 and it could potentially be the network's response to 'Star Trek'. In fact, the show is definitely turning quite a few heads with its unique concept and diverse cast. Taking the CW's tradition of narrating stories through the eyes of a young and diverse group of people, who become friends and inevitably family, 'Pandora' sees the team combating intergalactic racism among other things. The being at the center of this battle is Ralen, a Zatarian who is distrusted by Earthlings.
The protagonist Jax (Priscilla Quintana) and her rag-tag group of friends ensure that he feels included despite being a minority at Earth’s Space Training Academy. As Ben Radcliffe, who plays the role of Ralen, rightly points out, the show and this specific narrative is particularly relevant in today's society, where "sometimes people are still ostracized for their differences rather than those differences being celebrated." He tells MEA WorldWide how the scripts of 'Pandora' emphasizes "a positive message of inclusion and I was excited to be part of such a topical, fun project that teaches valuable lessons without being overly didactic."
Radcliffe also credits 'Pandora' for perfectly implementing the power and beauty of fiction to speak about the best and worst of humanity, which includes our hopes and fears. "Ralen is a very meaningful and challenging role. He is intelligent, compassionate, and emotionally complex," says Radcliffe. Further elaborating on how he had created him, he mentions he had to establish the traits and characterization for an entirely new race.
"Initially, With some collaboration from our showrunner Mark Altman and our first director Steve Hughes I began to see Ralen's personality evolve by experimenting with a variety of accents and distinctive mannerisms," he explains adding how the character was a huge challenge, but also fulfilling in that he had the opportunity to add his own flair to the character, who is distrusted as an outsider and has to work twice as hard to gain people's trust.
"He is always going into situations on the back foot because of inherent distrust from some of his human classmates," says Radcliffe, adding how portraying the character has given him the opportunity to realize how disconcerting it must be when people judge you based on their preconceptions and stereotypes.
He elaborates, "I had to consider the way somebody who is fundamentally an outsider could develop a relationship with characters so different from himself. I tried to focus on personality traits in the other characters that even Ralen as an alien might be able to empathize with - eg. the ability to care and help others like Jax. I tried to make this empathy develop throughout the series as Ralen becomes more adept at understanding the essence of what it is to be human."
Radcliffe also teases that Ralen, timid as he may seem, has some epic fight scenes coming up in future episodes, which would feature some gymnastics as well. He heroically stands up to his friends and looks out for them, becoming the bad-ass Alien that he is. His hope for the future is to have Zatar get featured in one of the episodes. "I imagine it to be very cold and picturesque... perhaps I’m using that as an excuse to go to Iceland."
Don't forget to watch new episodes of The CW's 'Pandora' on Wednesdays.