Motherland: Fort Salem TV Series Overview


Introduction

Motherland: Fort Salem, (Fort Salem, UK title) is an American supernatural drama television series created by Eliot Laurence that premiered on Freeform on 18 March 2020 and is about a trio of witches is trained to become powerful weapons for the US military.

In August 2021, the series was renewed for a third and final season.

Outline

Motherland: Fort Salem follows Raelle Collar, Abigail Bellweather and Tally Craven, three witches who are conscripted into the US Army.

They train in combat magic and use their vocal cords to enact “seeds” or “seed sounds”, layering vocal sounds to create powerful spells.

The series takes place in a women-dominated world in which the US ended persecution of witches 300 years ago during the Salem witch trials after an agreement known as the Salem Accord.

The world finds itself at odds with a terrorist organisation known as the Spree, a witch resistance group fighting against the conscription of witches.

Cast

  • Main:
    • Taylor Hickson as Raelle Collar, a witch from a minor witch family line who enlists at Fort Salem, but who shows a surprising potential for work.
      • Her mother was killed in combat while her father is revealed to be a civilian, something deeply frowned upon.
    • Amalia Holm as Scylla, a second-year cadet at Fort Salem whom Raelle falls for, but who is evasive about her past.
      • It is later revealed her surname is Ramshorn.
      • Her parents were killed for being dodgers, an illegal act of avoiding military conscription.
      • Unbeknownst to everyone, she is part of the terrorist organisation known as the Spree.
    • Demetria McKinney as Anacostia Quartermaine, a tough drill sergeant at Fort Salem.
    • Jessica Sutton as Tally Craven, a witch who enthusiastically enlists at Fort Salem despite her mother’s opposition due to all of Tally’s aunts being previously killed in action.
    • Ashley Nicole Williams as Abigail Bellweather, a proud enlistee at Fort Salem from the storied Bellweather witch family line.
    • Lyne Renée as Sarah Alder (season 2; recurring season 1), the commanding general of the United States’ witch armed forces and the leader of Fort Salem.
      • She is hundreds of years old, having negotiated the Salem Accords 300 years ago, but appears to be a middle-aged woman in the present day.
  • Recurring:
    • Catherine Lough Haggquist as Petra Bellweather, an ambitious, proud, by-the-book general in the US armed forces as chief intelligence officer and Abigail’s mother.
    • Diana Pavlovska as Willa Collar, Raelle’s mother who was reportedly killed in combat before Raelle enlisted.
    • Annie Jacob as Glory Moffett, a meek enlistee at Fort Salem and a friend of Tally’s.
    • Sarah Yarkin as Libba Swythe (season 1), a pugnacious enlistee at Fort Salem whose family has a long-standing feud with the Bellweathers.
    • Kai Bradbury as Gerit Buttonwood, a young man who visits Fort Salem and soon catches Tally’s attention.
    • Emilie Leclerc as Izadora, a scientist, Necro teacher, and officer at Fort Salem.
    • Tony Giroux as Adil, a member of the nomadic tribe of witches known as the Tarim, who brings his sister Khalida to Fort Salem for treatment when she becomes mortally ill from an infection.
    • Kylee Brown as Khalida, a member of the nomadic Tarim tribe and Adil’s younger sister who is brought to Fort Salem for treatment of an unknown infection that threatens her life.
    • Victor Webster as Blanton Silver (season 2), the vice president of the United States of America.
    • Arlen Aguayo-Stewart as Nicte Batan (season 2).
    • Mellany Barrosas as Penelope Silver (season 2), Blanton’s daughter who recently found she is a witch.
    • Ess Hödlmoser as M (season 2), a non-binary coven leader at War College.
    • Praneet Akilla as Gregorio (season 2).
  • Guest:
    • Sheryl Lee Ralph as President Kelly Wade, the civilian head of the US Government, and thus General Alder’s superior, she and Alder clash over tactics and military operations.
    • Nick E. Tarabay as Witchfather, the male head of the witch armed forces.
    • Bernadette Beck as Charvel Bellweather, Abigail’s cousin who is about to get married.
    • Naiah Cummins as Bridey, a tough soldier that Petra Bellweather assigns as Abigail’s bodyguard after a bloody attack on the Bellweathers.

Production

Development

Development on the series began in August 2016 under the working title Motherland and on 05 June 2018, a pilot had been ordered. On 05 March 2019, it was announced that Freeform had given the production a straight-to-series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. The series was created by Eliot Laurence, who was also expected to executive produce alongside Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Maria Maggenti, and Steven Adelson. The pilot was also directed by Adelson. Production companies involved with the series were slated to include Freeform Studios and Gary Sanchez Productions. On 14 May 2019, an official trailer for the series was released. The series premiered on 18 March 2020. On 19 May 2020, Freeform renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on 22 June 2021.

David J. Peterson along with Jessie Sams created the language known as Méníshè, which is spoken on the show by the Tarim, and is described as an “ancient witch language”. Laurence and his team knew of Peterson from his previous work on Game of Thrones and hired him to create the language for the show.

Casting

Alongside the initial series announcement, it was reported that Taylor Hickson, Jessica Sutton, Amalia Holm, and Demetria McKinney had been cast in series regular roles. Kelcey Mawema, one of the leads in the original pilot, was recast. On 28 March 2019, it was announced that Ashley Nicole Williams had replaced Kelcey Mawema. On 09 August 2019 it was announced that Bernadette Beck would be guest starring in the series. On 24 September 2019 it was announced that Kai Bradbury would be joining the cast in a recurring role. On 28 January 2020, Sarah Yarkin was cast in a recurring capacity. On 19 May 2020, Lyne Renée was promoted as a series regular for the second season. On 27 May 2021, Victor Webster, Mellany Barros, Praneet Akilla, Ess Hödlmoser and Arlen Aguayo were cast in recurring roles for the second season.

Filming

Filming for the pilot took place in July 2018. Principal photography for the first season began on 22 April 2019, and ended on 23 August 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Filming took place in the Cloverdale area of Surrey, British Columbia, from 09 to 10 May 2019. Filming for the second season began on 09 October 2020 and concluded on 01 April 2021.

Release

International

Internationally, the show airs on Fox8 in Australia, streams on Showmax in South Africa, and is exclusive to BBC Three and BBC iPlayer in the United Kingdom under the title Fort Salem.

As of 20 November 2020, it has been released by Amazon Prime in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Motherland: Fort Salem Series

  • Series 03 (?2022):
    • Episode 01:
    • Episode 02:
    • Episode 03:
    • Episode 04:
    • Episode 05:
    • Episode 06:
    • Episode 07:
    • Episode 08:
    • Episode 09:
    • Episode 10:

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Steven A. Adelson … (4 episodes, 2020).
    • Shannon Kohli … (3 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Amanda Tapping … (3 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Haifaa Al-Mansour … (1 episode, 2020).
    • M.J. Bassett … (1 episode, 2020).
    • David Grossman … (1 episode, 2020).
    • Rebecca Johnson … (1 episode, 2020).
    • David Frazee … (1 episode, 2021).
    • Jem Garrard … (1 episode, 2021).
    • Nimisha Mukerji … (1 episode, 2021).
  • Producer(s):
    • Eliot Laurence … executive producer / executive producer (20 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Stef Armstrong … associate producer (15 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Tracey Jeffrey … co-executive producer (15 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Maeve Cullinane … co-producer (14 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Joe De Oliveira … co-producer / producer (14 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Will Ferrell … executive producer (14 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Adam McKay … executive producer (14 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Kevin J. Messick … executive producer (14 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Brian Studler … producer / co-executive producer (13 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Steven A. Adelson … executive producer (10 episodes, 2020).
    • Joy Kecken … co-executive producer (9 episodes, 2020).
    • Christopher Oscar Pena … co-producer (9 episodes, 2020).
    • Maria Maggenti … executive producer (6 episodes, 2020).
    • Heather Thomason … producer (6 episodes, 2020).
    • Amanda Tapping … executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Erin Maher … executive producer (4 episodes, 2021).
    • Bryan Q. Miller … executive producer (4 episodes, 2021).
    • Kay Reindl … executive producer (4 episodes, 2021).
  • Writer(s):
    • Eliot Laurence … (created by) (15 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Eliot Laurence … (written by) (15 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Eliot Laurence … (teleplay by) (15 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Nicole Avenia … (story editor) (5 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Nicole Avenia … (written by) (5 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Eli Edelson … (story editor) (5 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Eli Edelson … (written by) (5 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Nikki McCauley … (story editor) (5 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Nikki McCauley … (written by) (5 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • KD Davila … (executive story editor) (4 episodes, 2021).
    • Brian Studler … (written by) (2 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Joy Kecken … (written by) (2 episodes, 2020).
    • Maria Maggenti … (story by) (2 episodes, 2020).
    • Maria Maggenti … (written by) (2 episodes, 2020).
    • Christopher Oscar Pena … (written by) (1 episode, 2020).
    • Erin Maher … (written by) (1 episode, 2021).
    • Bryan Q. Miller … (written by) (1 episode, 2021).
    • Kay Reindl … (written by) (1 episode, 2021).
  • Music:
    • Brandon Roberts … (19 episodes, 2020-2021).
  • Cinematography:
    • Jon Joffin … (6 episodes, 2020).
    • Michael Wale … (4 episodes, 2020).
    • Craig Powell … (4 episodes, 2021).
    • Stephen Jackson … (3 episodes, 2021).
  • Editor(s):
    • Matthew Gilna … (6 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Gena Bleier … (3 episodes, 2020-2021).
    • Jered Zalman … (3 episodes, 2020).
    • Robert Komatsu … (2 episodes, 2021).
    • David Abramson … (1 episode, 2020).
    • Christopher S. Capp … (1 episode, 2020).
    • Avi Youabian … (1 episode, 2020).
  • Production:
    • Freeform Studios.
    • Gary Sanchez Productions.
  • Distributor(s):
    • ABC Spark (2020) (Canada) (TV).
    • Disney+ (2021) (Australia) (video) (VOD) (Star).
    • Disney+ (2021) (Canada) (video) (VOD) (Star).
    • Disney+ (2021) (Singapore) (video) (VOD).
    • Freeform (2019) (USA) (TV).
    • Hulu (2021) (USA) (TV).
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 18 March 2020 to 20 May 2020.
    • Series 02: 22 June 2021 to 24 August 2021.
    • Series 03: ?2022.
  • Running Time: 41-51 minutes.
  • Rating: TV-14.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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