If you haven’t been watching AMC’s Preacher, you’ve been missing out on one of the most entertaining, inventive and – dare I say it – edgiest shows on TV right now. Based on the DC/Vertigo comic series and adapted by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin, the comedy/action/fantasy/drama is about a Texan preacher with a supernatural power on the hunt for an absentee god, alongside his criminal girlfriend and vampire best friend. It’s a lot.
Before season three kicks off, let’s take a refresher on who all the major players are, and get a sneak peek at some new characters.
THE UNHOLY TRINITY
Played by Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia, Agent Carter)
“If God wants our help, we’ll help him. If he doesn’t, we’re gonna kick his ass.”
Jesse Custer is the main character, the titular preacher. While he is literally a preacher, Jesse isn’t your typical man of the cloth — for starters, he’s got a shady past as a criminal, and he’s also kind of an asshole.
When Preacher first starts, he’s running a tiny congregation in a small Texan town and mostly keeps to himself. Layers continue to get peeled back as the show goes on: there’s the fact that he spent most of his life as a conman with his girlfriend Tulip, before running back to his hometown to take over his dad’s church. Then there’s the new revelation that his mom’s side of the family are voodoo practitioners, something of which Jesse is surprisingly knowledgable.
Jesse can have a singular focus, which often doesn’t work out for him. He was fixated on helping save the town, then fixated on tracking down God and the Grail, and each time it led him to treat the people around him like garbage: he’s ignored Tulip’s distress, taken Cassidy for granted and literally sent Eugene to hell. Oh yeah — Jesse has a power where anything he says, people have to literally obey. It’s a whole thing, and probably not in the best hands.
It’a called Genesis (a name Cassidy does not care for), and is often referred to as ‘The Word of God.’ It’s not literally from God, though. Genesis is the byproduct of an angel-demon tryst, that escaped to Earth and killed every religious figure it tried to inhabit (including Tom Cruise) before finally finding Jesse.
Played by: Ruth Negga (Loving, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
“We came in here, played y’all for the idiots y’all are… Took your money, and drank your beer.”
Our first introduction to Tulip is her being an absolute badass, which we quickly learn is par for the course with her. She’s fighting a gangster in a car, recruiting kids to help her build a bazooka and then takes out several army men. Just a day in the life!
Tulip and Jesse were partners in crime, literally, for much of their relationship and she wants him back on her side of the law. In the first season, what we see of Tulip is mostly that she’s a confident, sexy, badass with maybe a hint of vulnerability? Thankfully season two opens her character up so much more, and takes Tulip from one-note to real human.
Tulip has secrets, even from Jesse, including that she was once briefly but happily married. She also has real fear, especially after the gang was attacked by the Saint of Killers. She suffers PTSD from that incident and finds different ways to cope: helping out their neighbour escaping a violent ex, for one, and paying money to get shot in the chest while wearing a bulletproof vest, for another. Tulip’s got layers!
Played by: Joe Gilgun (This Is England, Misfits)
“One time I took angel dust, and then I drank an eight-pack of Red Bull and went to a Bieber concert. Honestly, this is crazier than that.”
Proinsias is not a word I can spell nor pronounce, so thank god the people of Preacher have only used it once. Cassidy is a 119-year-old Irish vampire with a drug problem.
That about sums him up.
In a lot of ways, Cassidy is just along for the ride. He likes Jesse, really likes Tulip, and has a sense of adventure. At one point, he reveals immortality isn’t quite what you’d think: you get bored, and everyone you love dies. His fun, devil may care attitude and nonstop quips are hiding a lot of darkness.
Cassidy also keeps his cards close to his chest: he didn’t tell Jesse and Tulip he had a son until they’d literally been staying at his house for a few days. He doesn’t talk much about his past, or how he’s spent the last century, or even what he was up to before he arrived in Texas. The only secret Cassidy hasn’t been able to keep is his feelings for Tulip — thankfully Jesse’s so caught up in his own drama, he hasn’t notice.
Eugene ‘Arseface’ Root
Played by Ian Colletti (Baby Mama, Rake)
“Go to hell, Eugene!”
Bad things happen to good people. Eugene is a friend of Jesse’s at the beginning of the show, a teenager with a facial deformity who doesn’t really have anyone else in his life. Eugene’s story is a little tragic: his deformity comes from a failed suicide attempt, when he put a shotgun in his mouth put somehow survived. Eugene attempted suicide after a friend of his that he had a crush on attempted to do the same in front of him, and the memory still haunts him.
How do we know it haunts him? It’s what he relives in hell! Jesse’s power took his “go to hell” literally and cursed Eugene to an eternity (maybe?) in hell. Eugene relives his worst memory with occasional alterations (one time she doesn’t kill herself, but instead hooks up with Jesse in front of him) and tries to survive the cliques of hell, which are like a prison courtyard. Eugene eventually befriends Hitler, of all people, because this show is weird.
Played by Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones, Peaky Blinders)
“Why should we do anything you say, plum cake?”
“Because I’m Adolf fucking Hitler!”
Do I need to explain who Adolf Hitler is? The actual Hitler is in hell, to the surprise of no one, where’s he’s gotten kind of soft. He keeps to himself, tries to stick up for Eugene and relives the worst day of his life — a day some guy didn’t like his paintings. No regrets for the millions of innocent people you killed? That’s not the worst day of your life?
Season two ends with Eugene and Hitler escaping hell and making their way back to earth, and Hitler escapes. So he’s just walking around out there! I imagine Hitler will reappear at some point in the future. It’s not like he can just live a quiet life.
“The one I was told about, the guys were wearing white suits. They drive white vans. Maybe some sort of religious organization? White suits.”
“I don’t know about that, Padre. It sounds pretty fake to me.”
What kind of comic book series doesn’t have a shady government organization to tangle with? Forget Hydra and the Evil League of Evil, Preacher tangles with a group called The Grail.
The Grail (like, as in the holy grail) have all the money and resources in the world, or so it seems.
The purpose of a group like this? To protect the most important secrets: They are fully aware that God and heaven exist, and also that God is currently missing. They also know about the next messiah, a direct descendant from Jesus Christ. That descendant is, unfortunately, a complete idiot and will be of no use to the world when people find out God is missing.
The Grail is led be Herr Starr, and with Hoover and Featherstone as his subordinates.
Play by Pip Torrens (The Crown, The Iron Lady)
“I want everyone to know that what is about to transpire, I take no pleasure in it.”
While the show has made substantial changes from the comics, many fans were still eager anticipating the appearance of Herr Starr, arguably the series most iconic villain.
Herr Starr is a former German operative now the current leader of The Grail, after murdering his way up the ladder. He is ruthless, a sexual sadist and hellbent on world domination.
Of his two lackeys, Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery) fares better than Hoover (Malcolm Barret). Hoover is naive, unsure of himself and soft-spoken, while Featherstone is ambitious and willing to come off as ruthless as Herr Starr himself.
The Saint of Killers
Played by Graham McTavish (The Hobbit, Outlander)
“I’m here to kill a man.”
Another iconic comic book villain has made his way to the series, being a main antagonist across two seasons already. Will he reappear in the third?
The Saint of Killers is a former Civil War soldier turned bounty hunter in the American West. Despite being a ruthless killer most of his life, he settled down with a woman and had a child. At one point they both got sick and he left to find medicine but got caught up by a gang of outlaws. By the time he made it back with the medicine, his wife and daughter had died. So he did what he did best: murder!
He went back into town and killed the gang of outlaws, plus an innocent bystander, before he himself was taken out. He was sent to Hell, but is brought back to Earth after angels hire him to kill Jesse and recapture Genesis. If The Saint of Killers succeeds, he’d get his soul back and could be with his wife and daughter in heaven.
The Saint is basically like the Terminator — he’s indestructible, catches up to the heroes constantly and is impervious to Genesis.
In season three, we’re going to the bayou to meet Jesse’s voodoo-practising family! His grandmother, Grand’ma (Betty Buckley) is the matriarch and a powerful spiritualist who loves and dotes on Jesse. She will be joined by her caretaker TC (Colin Cunningham), strongman Jody (Jeremy Childs) and co-worker Christina (Liz McGeever).
Preacher season three starts Monday, 25 June on Amazon.