Invincible producer and co-showrunner Simon Racioppa spoke about Amber's character development from Season 1 to Season 2, particularly following the backlash the character received.
When Invincible's Season 1 was released, fans criticized changes made to Amber from the source comics. Aside from a change to Amber's race from white to Black, the adaptation saw a shift in her personality.
Show Amber is more blunt and stiff than she is in the comics, with some even calling her selfish, manipulative, or toxic. While there is nothing inherently wrong with being those first two descriptors, and it is incredibly important to have flawed female characters, some fans found it off-putting in the larger context of Amber's race change.
The changes in tandem seemed to play into stereotypes of Black characters and Black women characters in particular. Hearing how important representation in the show was for the creators and how they strived to give Amber more depth in the show seemed to prove that the creators did not intend for her to play into these stereotypes.
But the backlash toward her character — as it pertained to the concerns about stereotyping specifically or the larger changes to her character more broadly — was strong.
Showrunner on Amber's Character Arc for Invincible Season 2
Invincible co-showrunner and producer Simon Racioppa spoke to The Direct before the debut of the show's Season 1 about the changes in Amber's personality from Season 1 to now.
Fans may notice that in her appearances throughout Season 2 of Invincible so far, Amber is more easygoing and relaxed than she was in Season 1. She maintained her passion for advocacy, moral lines, and stubbornness but added a spring to her step, exuding a calmer air than when fans saw her last.
Racioppa said that this did not come as a result of fan backlash from Amber's Season 1 character but that it was "just her character arc." He explained that last season, Amber was grappling with the knowledge that she was being lied to, an experience which "puts you on your back foot and makes you a little prickly:"
"It [Amber's shift to being more easygoing in Season 2] was just her character arc. I mean, in Season 1, she was dating Mark for the first time. Even if you don't know concretely that someone is lying to you, you kind of feel it in a relationship. Subconsciously, you're kind of aware of it, and it puts you on your back foot and makes you a little prickly."
He said the team's goal with Amber and Mark's relationship was to show that it "couldn't be perfect ... because he was lying to her:"
"What we were trying to communicate there is that the relationship couldn't be perfect or couldn't be great because he was lying to her. There was this whole hidden world that he was not telling her about. So how could you have a great relationship when someone ... is not showing you who they really are?"
Racioppa explained that by the end of the first season, "Mark puts all the cards on the table." As the show settles into Season 2, according to Racioppa, the two will be "on a very different footing going forward:"
"[By] the end of Season 1, she knows all that, it's out there. Mark puts all the cards on the table. She's aware of everything at that point onwards, so I think it puts them on a very different footing going forward. But yeah, that's just that's the way the story goes. And that's the way the character goes. [It] wasn't done that way for any any specific fan reason."
Continuous Character Arcs in Invincible Season 2
Amber is evidence of a larger trend in Invincible's Season 1 — character arcs that continue from season to season rather than resetting.
In adapting a comic universe to screen, it could be easy to fall into tropes of allowing seasons to be their own isolated arcs, with character development backtracking slightly to serve the new narrative.
Invincible, though, does not seem to be doing this. The creators knew roughly where in the comics Season 1, for instance, ended, and in creating Season 2 made sure to pick right back up from that point.
Amber's relative personality changes in the new season reflect this method. She grew and learned as a character in Season 1 alongside Mark. Both did right and wrong in their first go at a relationship. Now, with the weight of secrets off both of their shoulders, Amber can be more relaxed and easygoing.
The first two episodes of Invincible Season 2 as well as all of Season 1 are streaming on Amazon Prime Video.