Netflix 'Code 8: Part II': Team behind Stephen Amell, Robbie Amell film didn't want to 'betray' fans

"It was always a fan-driven film, so we do keep them in mind throughout this," writer Chris Paré said

While the Code 8 films, starring cousins Stephen Amell and Robbie Amell, are filled with fascinating sci-fi and action elements, for the sequel, Code 8: Part II writer Chris Paré, and writer-director Jeff Chan, were particularly inspired by real-world elements that could be explored and amplified in the continued building of this universe.

Where to watch Code 8: Part II: Netflix
Code 8: Part II release date: Feb. 28
Director: Jeff Chan
Writers: Chris Paré, Jeff Chan, Sherren Lee, Jesse Lavercombe
Cast: Robbie Amell, Stephen Amell, Alex Mallari Jr., Sirena Gulamgaus, Sammy Azero

"I think for us, we were seeing robotic dogs in the real world and automated police technology in the real world, and that had been an idea we had been exploring since the short, but it was now becoming more and more real," Chan told Yahoo Canada. "We kind of took this idea and really laid into the story."

"We want to draw from the real world in ways that can kind of contextualize and make it feel relatable. ... Code 8 is really about people versus institutional power and authority, and in our universe people have powers and the institutions have a bit of science fiction technology to help them enforce that."

"Our goal is really to raise questions around these topics, and just give the audience something to kind of think about and take away after they see the film," Paré added.

"So we are reflecting what we're seeing, but we're sort of, without making any solid judgment on anything one way, it's sort of about just getting people to think about it. If we go in these directions, do these things happen? And have people start to question those things."

Robbie Amell as Connor in Code 8 Part II (Netflix)
Robbie Amell as Connor in Code 8 Part II (Netflix)

What is 'Code 8: Part II' about?

Code 8: Part II begins five years after the original film, with Connor (Robbie Amell) coming out of prison, stepping into a job as a janitor. In fact, while much of the film was filmed around Toronto and Hamilton, Ont., the Code 8: Part II team headed to Kingston to film the opening moments at the Kingston Penitentiary, on the last day of shooting, with 45 minutes to figure out the shots.

"It's the opening of the film and we just were like, it's got to be great, it has to have some gravitas to it," Paré said. "We're always trying to build out the world of this universe and what would the prison system be like. This wasn't the movie to fully tell that story, but you're going to get a glimpse of it."

Connor intends to stay away from former criminal partner Garrett (Stephen Amell), but when he meets 14-year-old Pavani "Pav" (Transplant star Sirena Gulamgaus), who needs to stay away from Sergeant "King" Kingston (Alex Mallari Jr.), Connor finds himself having to link up with Garrett again, to flee from the corrupt police force.

(L to R) Robbie Amell as Connor, Stephen Amell as Garrett in Code 8 Part II (Netflix)
(L to R) Robbie Amell as Connor, Stephen Amell as Garrett in Code 8 Part II (Netflix)

'Code 8' team's responsibility to the fans

Code 8 remains a fan-led project. The first movie famously started as a short film and after getting about US$2.5 million in crowdfunding, it became a hit on Netflix in several countries.

Moving into a second film, the cast and crew still very much are keeping the fans top of mind.

"It was always a fan-driven film, so we do keep them in mind throughout this," Paré said. "We didn't want to do anything that we felt like would disappoint them in any way or betray their expectations."

"Some of that, I think, does come down to what they expect from the genre. ... The other part of that is just Robbie and Stephen, obviously the fans are big fans of them, and making sure that we're giving them stuff in the movie to do that their fans are just going to love to see, that is both kind of fresh and new, but also sort of familiar in a way that they're excited about."

"We weren't looking directly at fan comments or anything like that, specifically, for ideas, but it's more so Rob and Stephen's fan base, which is a huge part of the genesis of this film," Chan added. "We just really want to deliver something that people all around the world could tap into for a couple hours, and really get something from it."

(L to R) Robbie Amell as Connor, Sirena Gulamgaus as Pavani in Code 8 Part II (Netflix)
(L to R) Robbie Amell as Connor, Sirena Gulamgaus as Pavani in Code 8 Part II (Netflix)

Chan added that particular consideration was given to allowing fans to watch high-energy, action-packed sci-fi elements, while still crafting a story that's character-driven.

"I think for us, the big thing is wowing people visually with the powers and the sci-fi, and visual effects is great, but more than that, we wanted people to really feel something when you watch our film and to be really invested in the characters and the story," he explained. "I think a lot of the times that's where we start. ... How do we get people to feel?"

"We want it to be an action thriller and for us that really meant building in a lot of tension, and that really starts on the page with Chris, who's leading the writing process on these films. ... We're not just going to have action because there's an opportunity for action, we're going to do it a time where the stakes are the highest. ... One of one of the tests we're constantly asking ourselves in the writing room, and on set and in the editing room, is, from this character's perspective, are they the hero of their own story? And we really want every character in our universe to feel like they are the hero of their own story. So there's not just people who are evil for evil's sake, they really do believe they're doing the right thing."