Why Wreck season two is ‘a breath of fresh air’ for trans representation in horror

Miya Ocego as trans hero Rosie in Wreck season two.

Queer horror-slasher-comedy series Wreck is back for a second season, bringing with it trans heroes and trans villains – but absolutely no trans trauma.

“I think most people will be s**t-scared to cast the trans actor as a villain right now,” Ryan J Brown, the writer and creator behind Wreck, tells PinkNews.

He’s reflecting on what’s coming up in the new season, which arrived on BBC iPlayer this week and features, among an abundance of queer story arcs, two transgender characters, both played by trans stars.

There’s Miya Ocego, who season one fans will remember as the Cher-impersonating performer Rosie Preston (although the Cher costumes have been “left on the ship,” for season two, the star confirms). Plus, there’s Sam Buttery, who will play new character Jean, an iPad-toting, villainous sidekick. 

Season one’s finale left lead characters Jamie Walsh (Breeders star Oscar Kennedy) and Vivian Lim (Sex Education’s Thaddea Graham) washed up on shore following a narrow escape. In season two, they and Rosie are on a mission to expose corrupt company Velorum’s evil ways.

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The corporation’s next venture is a wellness retreat for millionaires, and the gang are ready to infiltrate and take it down.

Trans actor Miya Ocego plays Rosie in Wreck season two

Wreck season two does things other series don’t, and we’re not just talking about having a duck-mask-wearing psychopath. Despite there being two trans characters, neither will have their transness laid out as part of a big storyline.

“You get to see a lot more of Rosie in season two,” Ocego tells PinkNews. “We delve into each character and get to know a little bit more about them. Rosie’s trans element is touched on, but it’s not a massive song-and-dance.”

Rosie will have an altercation with queen bee Sophia (Alice Nokes), who “accidentally” uses a trans slur. When a newcomer questions the insult, Rosie briefly points out that she is trans. And that’s about it.

“It’s just addressed, and the person knows not to mess with Rosie again,” Ocego says. “Then we move on because there are bigger things to worry about, like life and death.”

The decision not to address Rosie being trans until season two was a conscious one.

Miya Ocego as trans Cher impersonator Rosie in Wreck season two.
Miya Ocego as trans Cher impersonator Rosie in Wreck. (BBC)

Brown explains: “We were always keen to acknowledge it in series two, but as soon as we acknowledged it, we let it go again. It’s [in] episode four, so nearly 10 episodes [into the series] and [some viewers will think], ‘Oh, they haven’t had to do a single storyline that’s related to her transness, how dare she be in the show and it not be all about that?’”

Trans actor Sam Buttery plays the villainous Jean

Similarly, for Sam Buttery’s character, the fact she is trans doesn’t make up part of her storyline in Wreck season two. She’s just a “co-dependent” villain with an iPad, not a trans co-dependent villain with an iPad.

“That understanding is enough to make me feel seen because I feel like, although it’s a huge part of me and my identity, on a day-to-day basis, it fades into the background really,” says Buttery, who has appeared on stage in the Boy George musical Taboo and took on the role of the Emcee in a Paris production of Cabaret.

“I like the fact that it wasn’t massively drawn attention to because it makes me feel safer, that I don’t have to perform trauma.”

Sam Buttery as Jean in Wreck season two.
Sam Buttery will be seen as the iPad-toting Jean. (BBC)

Ocego agrees, saying: “It’s such a breath of fresh air, because so often people cast diverse people mainly just to tick a box, but you can tell that there’s so much love in this world that Ryan’s created, and it’s so well-thought-out.

“To see him so invested in not just his show, but each of us as actors, it made us feel so validated, just being a part of the experience. That’s why I love Wreck so much.”

Wreck season two is streaming on BBC iPlayer now and will air on BBC Three from 10pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, starting tonight (26 March).

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