'The Terror: Infamy' Draws on George Takei’s Childhood Experience in Interment Camps for Season 2

The Terror: Infamy is adding a supernatural element to the horrifying U.S. internment camps of [...]

The Terror: Infamy is adding a supernatural element to the horrifying U.S. internment camps of Japanese-American citizens, and the message couldn't be more personal for the cast.

In a Friday press conference for the AMC historical horror drama at San Diego Comic-Con, cast and creators opened up about the upcoming second season, revealing its deep roots in an ugly part of U.S. history as well as Japanese folklore.

"If you love Season 1, none of it will be the same as Season 2," executive producer and co-creator Alexander Woo joked. "New cast, new story, new subject mater, new writers, but I think it shares some of the same DNA."

Bringing a genre lens to a difficult historical topic, Woo explained, "I think it's as important for a viewer to feel how … emotionally traumatic that experience is, and I think we use the genre strategically and respectfully to really bring out the emotional experience, so you're not sitting at home like, 'Oh, that happened 75 years ago, thank God immigrants don't have anything to worry about today.'"

For George Takei, playing Nobuhiro Yamato in the upcoming season, the historical aspect struck home, as he spent years as a child in internment camps — a story which actually inspired the showrunners to go in that direction for its sophomore season.

"It's an important story that has chilling resonance, but so many Americans are aghast when they hear about my childhood imprisonment," he told reporters of shining a light on the atrocity, adding that Americans need to own their past without distancing themselves from the 75-year gap from the present.

It was also an incredibly personal subject for Derek Mio, who plays Chester Nakayama, as his grandfather was imprisoned in the internment camps. Filming a scene in which his character has to bid goodbye to his family, he recalled, was "probably the most emotional experience I've ever had acting."

It's not just a resonant topic for Japanese-Americans, as Cristina Rodlo, who plays Chester's girlfriend Luz Ojeda, found a direct parallel being Latina to the experience of immigrants in the U.S. now.

"It's amazing how we are repeating history, and I think one of the most important things about this show is many people don't know this is happening," she said, adding, "The only way to avoid repeating history is to know history."

Indeed, Woo explained that the show will hit hard "anyone's whose life has been touched by the sacrifice of an immigrant," all while adding a supernatural element to the rich tradition of Japanese folklore and horror.

The Terror: Infamy premieres Monday, Aug. 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

Photo credit: Maxine Helfman/AMC