Freeform’s new drama series Motherland: Fort Salem is set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution more than 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the government to fight for their country. At TCA on Friday, creator by Eliot Laurence (Claws) said most of the show pays homage to witch history and removes some of the stigma around witches.
Motherland: Fort Salem follows three young women from basic training in combat magic into early deployment. Traditional roles of gender and power are flipped, with the more dominant women on the front lines fighting looming terrorist threats that are familiar to our world with supernatural tactics and weapons.
Laurence said one of the biggest themes they talked about in the writers room was what female sexuality looks like away from the patriarchy because it’s a matriarchal society in the show.
Series stars Ashley Nicole Williams, Jessica Sutton, Taylor Hickson, Demetria McKinney and Amalia Holm came to the TCA winter press tour with executive producers Laurence and Kevin Messick to talk about the show.
All of the women in the cast looked to Laurence – who originally envisioned the project as a book series — as their guide, and Hickson said they were glad they could go to him with all their questions. Williams added, “He has the world in his head.” Said McKinney, “To understand the power women possess and to have a man (Laurence) understand that, it’s been a joy, an honor and a pleasure.”
The company in the show has to work together in order to survive and move forward but Laurence said: “We didn’t want their sisterhood to be easy. We wanted it to be tough. It’s more fun.” Hickson noted, “It’s less about individual success and more about team strategy.”
The panel was preceded by a live musical performance of an eerie version of “This Land is Your Land.”
Motherland: Fort Salem premieres March 18 on Freeform. Check out the first trailer here.