Speaking to Variety, the stars address the controversy caused by the introduction of Fike’s character: the rebellious, face-tattoed Elliot seen in a November teaser. Following the announcement of the new character, many fans expressed concern about his potential interference with the relationship between Rue and Jules (Zendaya and Schafer, respectively).
“There were a lot of conversations over the years about where the show was going to go and what it was going to evolve into,” Zendaya says, suggesting that she felt a similar apprehension to the audience. “I remember when Sam (Levinson, the creator of Euphoria) first kind of talked about the idea of this Elliot character, I wasn’t feeling it.”
Calling herself “someone who ships ‘Rules’ to the bitter end”, the actor continues: “I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, what are we doing here?’ But, in retrospect… it’s crucial that Elliot exists and that he be the person that is honestly the catalyst for a lot of things that just have to happen.”
Schafer explains that she was in “a similar boat” when it came to the introduction of Elliot, but adds: “As we saw more of what it brought into the story and the script, it became a more interesting and exciting prospect, and once Dom came on board, he made it a lot of fun.”
Fike himself is enthusiastically awaiting all the hate he gets for getting mixed up with ‘Rules’, it seems. “I can’t wait to see where people go with that and for all the hate messages I’ll get on my Instagram… and going into hiding” the musician-turned-actor says. “I can’t wait.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the cast discuss the pressures of following up the highly successful first season of Euphoria, which bagged Zendaya a record-breaking Emmy back in 2020. Zendaya and Schafer also describe the more experimental approach they took in their respective Euphoriaspecials, which aired between season one and two.
Read the full Variety interview here, and revisit the Euphoria season two trailer below. The first episode will premiere via HBO on January 9.