Alpha, the multiple-personality villain on Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, believes he's a god, and he wants to raise Echo to his exalted level, Alan Tudyk explained on a conference call with reporters. Minor spoilers ahead.
The way Tudyk explains it, Alpha "has ascended, in his mind, to a godlike place." Alpha used to be a Doll, just like Echo or any of the other programmable people in the Dollhouse. But he had a "composite event," and now he has the skills and personalities of 43 different people. Now that Alpha has captured Echo (in last Friday's episode "Briar Rose") he wants to fulfill the last stage of his plan, which is making Echo like him — fractured and crazy, but also supercharged — before they go off on their world-domination spree. (And I, for one, would watch an entire season of Alpha and Echo trying to rule the world. Although I'm not sure if Tudyk meant "world domination" literally or metaphorically.)
"I love how 'Briar Rose' ends," says Tudyk. With the "Sleeping Beauty" theme, you knew someone was going to kiss Echo at the end, so "I'm glad it ends with Alpha kissing her."
So I asked Tudyk if Alpha isn't, in some sense, right about being godlike. Or at least, the next step in human evolution. And he said that Alpha has the ability to be godlike, in one sense, but all of his amazing abilities come with a lot of baggage:
When you're downloading a bunch of people, you're downloading perspective and experience. Somebody can go through one experience and have one conclusion about it, and another person can go through that experience and have a different conclusion. Somebody can become enlightened, and somebody else can become a villian. I think he takes the wrong lessons from his downloaded experiences. He is certainly evolved, but i don't know. The swine flu is evolution, isn't it? In a way, it's an evolution of flu.
I also asked if Alpha really believes the stuff Stephen Kepler was saying, about how there would be no more humans in 200 years' time, and the Dollhouse was the future. Or was that just his Kepler persona being wacky? Tudyk says he thinks Alpha really does believe that stuff, and in the world of the Dollhouse — or even our world — it makes a lot of sense. "The world will laugh and laugh and shake its bones," Tudyk quoted Alpha. But Alpha also believes that even if the human race is gone in 200 years, he'll still be there. "Alpha is a god. He is forever now. He has the ability to live forever" — because he can download himself into another body.
Tudyk says he had a fantastic time playing the Kepler persona, with all the slapstick action and awkward buddy-comedy stuff with Tahmoh Penikett — even though Kepler claimed he hated buddy-cop movies. And in Friday's episode, he's only playing Alpha, and it's "rich" to get to play a villain like that. You'll see the toll that trying to contain 43 personalities takes on Alpha, and you'll start to see some of his different personalities come out. "We all have internal monologues, different voices that chime in each day. He has a little more difficulty. It takes some effort to maintain order." Alpha will say something, then contradict himself, then say something slightly different but sort of the same.
And he says the fact that Kepler's mannerisms are so similar to Topher's was not an accident, "in a world where personalities can be uploladed and downloaded and you can be a composite personality." We'll see some flashbacks to Alpha's time as a Doll, and we'll see him interacting with Topher during those flashbacks.
Is one of Alpha's personalities Steve the Pirate? You'll just have to tune in and find out, says Tudyk.
Alpha may or may not make it through Friday's episode, says Tudyk — although he already hinted, in another interview, that Alpha would have a role in season two.
If any other Whedonverse actor had played Alpha, Tudyk thinks it should have been Simon Helberg, who was Moist in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Everybody would have believed in the Stephen Kepler persona, and you'd never have seen the Alpha reveal coming.
Tudyk can't really talk about V, the remake of the classic 1980s alien invasion show in which he has a role — other than to say it's awesome, and Zoic (which worked on Firefly) is doing the effects. He was a fan of the original 1980s show, and he says the new version lives up to his memories.