INTERVIEWER: Let's get right into it. World War III, people have been saying you're due any minute for 70 years, expectations are high again now, but we've been let down before. Are we ever going to see what you can do?
WW3: First, it's great to be here, thanks. Let me just be clear, World War III is going to happen. But it's going to happen the right way, and on my terms. You think expectations are high now? Expectations have always been high, starting from right after World War II. And I never wanted what other people thought to dictate what I became. There's only going to be one World War III, so I really want to get it right.
INTERVIEWER: What does that development process look like? What elements of the total destruction of humanity do you focus on most?
WW3: Timing is the biggest one for me, especially now. In the '50s and '60s, it was always on people's minds, they were ready. They had fallout shelters, they did duck-and-cover drills. It's not that way anymore, so creating the opportunity for a really great apocalypse is my main focus.
INTERVIEWER: Some people think 1962 was that opportunity.
WW3: I stand by my decision in '62.
INTERVIEWER: Can you go into that a little more?
WW3: I’m not sure I can add anything that hasn't been said before. I didn’t want to get backed into a decision as big as World War III like that. In 1962, the main focus was Europe and it seemed like overkill to destroy the world over Cuba. Like, that’s so left-field! Is there a different interpretation in hindsight? Sure, but a lot of people pushing that narrative weren't there.
INTERVIEWER: Current events is such a big driver of expectations for you in general. It seems like the Trump administration has tried to tee you up more than once. What are your thoughts on that?
WW3: It's a little mixed. On the one hand, they are doing tremendous work with North Korea to usher in the end times. They’ve managed to revitalize a dynamic that a lot of people thought was dead in terms of how the world could end. But like I said before, I don't want to feel like I just stumbled into the apocalypse. I really believe you have to lay a deep groundwork to appreciate the payoff that I'm going for, and the Trump team has its pros and cons, but one of the big cons is that I’m not sure they’ve got a real plan for how to bring about doomsday, and this is too important to me to just ad lib or, you know—
WW3: Yeah, exactly! It’s like the difference between improv and a really tight script. And nothing against improv—it’s definitely an art form I love! But, like, you want themes and drama as you contemplate that you might be the last generation of humanity. And we’re working with some great trends these days, like the decay of democracy and international institutions and political divisions and all that insanity, and that gets me excited because we can say something about how annihilation isn’t just about the inhumanity of war, but how much society chooses that path for itself.
INTERVIEWER: Shifting focus a little, climate change is getting a lot of attention now, particularly with the fires in Australia. Do you see him as a competitor?
WW3: Climate change is getting a lot of heat right now. Pun intended! But no, we're not direct competitors. We've talked some, and even had discussions about maybe working together, but we're just on different levels. Maybe he can help get me started with a little economic strife, and I'm going to try to give him a boost from the massive global thermonuclear radiation. So far, though, we don't see a direct collaboration happening.
INTERVIEWER: Does that mean nuclear winter is off the table then?
WW3: I'm not saying that. We don't want to get in each other's way, but World War III is a big, complicated process, so some toes are going to get stepped on. There are so many different outcomes that I think about. Yeah, it's going to be big, but I want a legacy. It's not enough for people to just talk about it, I really want to give them something to think about. The ones that are left, anyway.
INTERVIEWER: Dystopian fiction is pretty popular right now, as far as that goes.
WW3: Did you see Handmaid's Tale? So good! But so dark. I could only watch one episode at a time or I'd get too depressed.
INTERVIEWER: Would you be happy with that outcome?
WW3: I consider myself a feminist, so that vision of society really disturbs me. In general, though? I don't know. I'm aiming for something bigger, something more Mad Max: Fury Road.
INTERVIEWER: Speaking of sequels, do you feel a responsibility to set up for World IV the way World War II set the playing field for you?
WW3: I have such great respect for One and Two. They're like my siblings! I wouldn't be here today without the work they did, especially World War II with the A-bomb. Totally a bad-bitch move, I love it! There was always this core idea that we'd be a trilogy, that World War III would be the end of civilization, period. So talking about a number four seems premature to me. There's not a clear concept of what that would even be. Just another world war rehash? That's a mistake tarnishing a lot of franchises these days. There are going to be so many new options in the barren wasteland after I'm done. They could do a total reboot of the concept of war itself. How cool would that be? So I'm focusing on my own armageddon and respecting the body of work that's been handed down to me. If a World War IV makes sense, it'll have my blessing, but I just want the tiny remnant of humanity left after me to really think about where they could go with that.
INTERVIEWER: You can’t ask for more than that. Thanks for being with us today.
WW3: My pleasure, thanks.