Altered Carbon presents a rare twist for a TV series heading into its second season. Although the main character remains on board, Takeshi Kovacs has been what is called in the show's world re-sleeved into a new body. Joel Kinnaman portrayed the character in Altered Carbon's first season but in the new batch of episodes it will be Anthony Mackie playing Kovacs. In fact, Mackie is not the first person to take over the role, as Will Yun Lee was also seen in the part as the original version of the character and will be returning for Season 2. For Mackie, it was important to honor the other portrayals of the character while also making it his own.
"Well, season one was very different than season two, and, you know, Takeshi was out for revenge," Mackie told Comicbook.com. "So, he was a very dark, very mean, very stoic character. So, in the beginning of this season, I wanted to bring that same energy in, and allow the season to affect him, and turn him, and make him more emotional, and make him go from, cause you're not worried about the arc of the second season, you have to think about the arc from the first episode to the end of the second season. So, I was trying to play that arc and I really like what Joel and Will were able to do in the first season, so extracting a little bit of that but putting my funk on it."
In fact, much of the show's cast was re-sleeved, save for Poe actor Chris Conner who reprises his role in Season 2 and brought a new friend with him along with a small handful of familiar faces.
Interestingly, OG Kovacs actor Lee also had to take a bit of notes on how the character was portrayed when he filmed his scenes for Season 1 after Kinnaman had already brought the character to life. "Season 1, I had a big idea of how the story unfolded, 'cause I came in to film pretty late in the season and I'd seen a lot of what Joel did, so I had to work backwards in terms of since I was OG and that was the first character of Takeshi Kovacs," Lee explained. "I had to kind of match what he did in a lot of things. Season 2, I didn't know much, I was getting them script by script and we'd learn about it every week and I kind of like working that way in a lot of ways, 'cause I don't wanna know the ending yet. So I was getting it week by week."
Early in Mackie's season of Altered Carbon, viewers will notice a signature bit added to the action sequences. In the midst of a battle, the action will seemingly freeze for a moment as the camera zips through the chaos, offering up similar vibes to those of The Matrix movies. As it turns out, those sequences did not use the same technology as those movies but a clever bit of fast moving cameras and cast members standing still.
"They literally had us stand still, and they rolled the camera for a few seconds, and they did that over, and over, and over again," Mackie explained. So, then we came back that, we did that sequence for a week. 14 hours a day for a week, and at the end of the week we came in and actually did the entire fight. So, they would turn the lights off, turn the lights on, turn the lights off, turn the lights on and get those images, but then we did the entire fight so they were able to put that strobe sequence within the entire fight."
The action doesn't slow down for Mackie, as immediately after filming his action-packed season of Altered Carbon on the heels of Avengers: Endgame, he head straight down to Atlanta to film The Falcon and The Winter Soldier with Marvel.