A lot has changed since Roswell, New Mexico last aired.
There's been a global pandemic, a presidential election, a few billionaires spent like 10 minutes in space, and the United States government confirmed the existence of UFOs. Sure, they're calling them "unidentified aerial phenomena," but the gist remains the same: there are probably aliens out there.
"It just made me laugh so hard," Roswell star Jeanine Mason tells E! News of her reaction to the news. "My castmates and I were just laughing and being like, 'WB's PR budget is through the roof this year!' I'm just so impressed. Good work, team!"
In fact, the cast is hoping their devotion to aliens, in the form of their alien-centric TV show, might give them a leg up when the time comes.
"I mean, it's why we're all here. We love it," Mason says. "Anytime something pops up, we're all texting each other like, 'It's happening! It's happening! Maybe they'll come for us first!'"
Until the aliens come for us all, we've got a whole season of Roswell, New Mexico to watch, and a mystery to solve. At the end of season two, Max (Nathan Dean Parsons), Michael (Michael Vlamis) and Isobel (Lily Cowles) awakened a stowaway named Mr. Jones who looked an awful lot like a bearded version of Max.
Not only does that mean that Parsons is pulling double duty this season, but it also means that there's a mystery to solve. What is this guy's deal?
When the finale aired, then showrunner Carina Adly Mackenzie said that he might not necessarily be a villain, and that the story of Max's family history was going to be "complicated." Mackenzie has since left the show, and Mason says the story has changed.
"It's completely shifted in terms of what her intention was," she shares. "We just took it and made our own thing, which was fun."
Now, Mr. Jones is the key to all the answers the aliens—and Liz—have been searching for.
Season three picks up about a year after the end of season two, with everyone in Roswell getting used to their new alien friend and life without Liz. Liz is working at a lab in California, secretly trying to put her alien DNA knowledge to good use while finding a cure for her ailing friend Maria (Heather Hemmens).
While Max has been trying to move on (after Liz basically dumped him for burning down her lab), Liz has been getting to know her new coworker, Keith (Steven Krueger). While the fans may want her to get back to Roswell and Max ASAP, Mason says Liz is living it up in California.
"She hasn't really taken a second to realize that her life in LA is actually pretty great," Mason says. "She's got a smoking hot lab partner who's brilliant, and they really are a meeting of minds, the two of them. They're really fun off the top. I had a really great time cultivating a new kind of romance."
Where Max and Liz were not exactly on the same page, academics-wise, Liz and Keith "speak the same language." But of course, Liz isn't going to just shed years of history with Max that quickly, and she'll be back in Roswell before we know it.
"She willingly goes back because she's just got too much to sort out with this new Jones character, and she gets back in her heroic, 'Let's solve this, let's figure this out' mode," Mason says, though Liz doesn't even yet know about Max's doppelganger. "I think she's pulled to this because it is deeply her purpose, to be a protector of these aliens."
And no matter how much time they spend apart or how many other people they meet, Max and Liz are never just going to be rid of each other.
"We talk so much this season [about] this extended metaphor that [showrunner Chris Hollier] created for Liz and Max of them orbiting each other constantly, and that orbit pulling her back to him," Mason notes, though there are a lot of obstacles for this couple to figure out. "I think ultimately she left because she felt as if she's not being respected enough and included enough and being considered one of this alien trio enough."
But Mason says Liz realizes she's also to blame, for leaving and for not being a great partner, and Liz owns up to that this season, especially after a year away.
"At the end of season two, emotions were just so raw. With Liz and Max, it was like, I can't even look at you," she shares. "It felt good to imagine her having had sufficient time to process."
Liz has also had time to take on a whole new system of injustice with her new job, a massive corporation with a name like Generex. If you're having trouble imagining that a place like that on a show like this has only the world's best interests in mind, you're on the right track!
"That was a really fun thing for Chris and I to craft," Mason says. "He was really passionate about Liz and all of her abilities showing up fully for Generex, and the ways these talented scientists of color who are so deeply underrepresented hope that their work will be a part of servicing the community and the communities they come from and are just often used and abused."
Liz will be trying to contribute and change the world, but wrestling with the fact that the company she's working for isn't morally aligned with her own values.
"You would hope that you would never have to have your career, your progress stifled by companies that are also against you fundamentally, and it just felt like the right thing to honor this season," the actress explains. "She's a scientist, and this is something we can only imagine a lot of marginalized scientists of color and women all deal with."
Mason couldn't spill too many details about where the season is going, but she could say that it's all "bonkers," and the sci-fi of it all has been upped in the face of the pandemic.
"We were like, 'Let's just use their powers.' You don't have to use your powers within six feet!" Mason says. "So things are just flying and exploding and the stunts are insane."
Mason also dropped one early tease that she may or may not get in a little trouble for.
"Chris told me I'm not allowed to say this, but I'm gonna say it anyway: the last two scenes of this season are a game changer," she says. "I cannot wait for OG fans to see them."
Roswell, New Mexico airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.