Joey Bada$$ Has a 'Newfound Confidence' on “Raising Kanan” After That Surprise Resurrection (Exclusive)

The fan-favorite character was "devastated" to be killed off in a December episode of the Starz series, but the season 3 finale brought him back to life

<p>STARZ</p> Joey Bada$$ as Unique in


Joey Bada$$ as Unique in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan'

Warning: this post contains spoilers from Friday’s episode of Power Book III: Raising Kanan. 

If there’s one thing Power fans know, it’s to expect the unexpected — and Friday’s season 3 finale of Power Book III: Raising Kanan delivered all the surprise punches and more.

After a shocking — and brutal — death at his brother Ronnie’s hands in episode 5 of the season, fans learned that, against all odds, Unique (Joey Bada$$) is alive. The camera panned to the drug kingpin looming over Ronnie’s dead body in the final minutes of the finale episode, as moments before, Kanan Stark (Mekai Curtis) had shot him. Steps away from Ronnie’s body was Howard (Omar Epps), Kanan’s father, who Raq (Patina Miller) shot, too.

Between the two shocking deaths in the episode’s final minutes and Unique’s resurrection, showrunner Sascha Penn kept fans guessing until the very last second — but Joey Bada$$ knew all along.

“I feel like it was a little too soon to leave, so I'm glad that I was able to somehow be worked back into the story,” he tells PEOPLE of his reappearance in the finale episode.

It was a surprise for the cast, too. “So the funny thing is — it was unbeknownst to them as well,” he shares, noting they were “definitely surprised and definitely very happy that I was back because nobody wanted to see me go. We're such a family over in the Kanan world.”

In light of his miraculous resurrection, the rapper and fan-favorite character, 28, spoke to PEOPLE about what went into this well-kept secret — and how fans’ reactions to his character’s death inspired him.

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PEOPLE: The last time we talked, you were dead on the show.  Magically, you’re now alive. How does it feel coming back from the dead?

Joey Bada$$: It feels good. I think a lot of people were disappointed to entertain the idea of Unique’s character being gone, so I'm definitely happy to give them back this character that they love so much.

Everyone was completely shocked — and not happy at all. How did you feel watching the fan reactions come in, knowing something they didn’t know?

It was quite entertaining, to say the least, to see all the reactions and the comments and everything. But what it told me is that this character is very pivotal to the Kanan world, to the Power universe, and that gave me a newfound confidence. I feel like it made everybody kind of just feel the impact of this character. Because they say that people don't appreciate you until you're gone — and not that I didn't feel like people appreciated Unique — but seeing the idea of him being gone and seeing how many people responded to that was definitely an eye opener.

<p>STARZ</p> Joey Bada$$ as Unique in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan'


Joey Bada$$ as Unique in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan'

How did you find out that Unique was not actually dead after all?

The truth of the matter is there was things in my schedule that was conflicting and we were trying to make it work, but I had to go on tour, in Australia and Europe [in winter 2022], and there's obviously no way to be in two places at once. So we were trying to make it work and in the end we couldn't. So I was just like, "Okay, well, I guess they're going to have to kill me off." So I just kind of signed up for that. And the day that I went in to get my head casted, because they had this brutal death set up for me, I just got this weird feeling that I need to find a way back on the show. It's just the wrong time to be leaving the show. So I called Sascha [Penn] and I'm like, "Yo, I know you're going to hate me, but what can we do? I don't want to leave." Like the genius that he is, he made it work with the story. He brought me back and I was very happy about that.

Related: Power Book III: Raising Kanan Creator Breaks Down Shocking Season 3 Finale — and That Epic Surprise (Exclusive)

In that final scene, when Unique is staring at Ronnie’s body, what is going through his mind? 

I think he's definitely a little bit mad that he didn't get to kill him. That he didn't get to avenge himself. But at the same time, I think his thoughts are a bit scattered. He's been away so long, and I think he just may have his own version of the story of what happened. Seeing Ronnie dead with Howard and knowing who killed them, I think he's putting pieces to a story together that he actually wasn't present for, and coming to, and drawing his own conclusions, which makes him want to just get at everybody.

How do you think fans are going to react to this resurrection?

I think they're going to be very happy that Unique is back. I think some people would be disappointed that it wasn't Unique that put the bullet in Ronnie's head. But I think they'll be cool with that, just for the fact that Unique is alive and Ronnie's dead.

Starz Raq (Patina Miller) and Kanan (Mekai Curtis) in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan'
Starz Raq (Patina Miller) and Kanan (Mekai Curtis) in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan'

Coming back to this character, is there anything you really want to see him do?

I definitely want to see him connect with Kanan because I think he's been so much of a pivotal character in the Kanan series thus far, but he hasn't actually really had any interactions with Kanan, Kanan has just kind of been observing him from afar. So I'm interested to see how those two characters can connect.

Season 4 is in progress as we speak. How is that going? 

We are in the process of shooting season 4, and whew, it sucks that we got to wait a year to see this s--- because... This season is, ooh, oh man, I'm going to just let y'all get [the finale] and then just shut up. But season 4 is incredible.

<p>Jamie McCarthy/Getty</p> The cast of 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan' at the season 3 premiere in NYC

Jamie McCarthy/Getty

The cast of 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan' at the season 3 premiere in NYC

How does Unique make his comeback?  Is he ready to fight, is he coming in kind of guns blazing? Obviously Ronnie's been taken out for him already, but he's still got a lot that he needs to address.  

Yeah, I think the interesting thing about Unique now is — the Unique that everybody knows is dead. This guy got his head banged and bone fragments left on the weapon of his execution. He's not the same. His head is different. I mean, it was the '90s, but you could imagine he had some form of like CTE.  He's not the same in his head. So I think what people can expect is a way more hyperactive, irritable, just rageful guy. It’s going to be an interesting spin on who this character [is, because Unique] has been, historically, somebody who's more calculated and smooth with his delivery and kind of conscious and things like that. But I think this Unique is different. This is Unique like you've never seen him before.

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Seasons 1-3 of Power Book III: Raising Kanan can be streamed in full on the Starz app.

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