“Human Target” fans filled the huge 6BCF room on Friday evening at Comic-Con International in San Diego to pick the brains of the creators and stars of the FOX television show, and they did not leave disappointed. The presentation opened with a clip reel from the show featuring more explosions and macho action than television usually gets in an entire hour. Fans gasped at these now-familiar scenes on the screen and newbies (including those in the room waiting for the “Mythbusters” panel that followed) had the opportunity to be thrilled by a show that could easily fit on their Tivo. An advertisement at the end of the reel revealed the show will move to Friday nights at 8 on FOX when it returns for its second season, and that the DVD collection of the first season of “Human Target” will be available in September.
The show follows an ex-assassin turned bodyguard and security expert who protects his clients by making himself a part of their lives, essentially hiding in plain sight. The DC comic book upon which it was originally based had the character taking on the client's identity, but that source material has been largely disregarded in the show. Many of the shows viewers likely have no idea it was based on a comic book, which did not come up at the panel, but that did not seem to matter to the fans in attendance.
Executive producer Matthew Miller bounded onto the stage and wasted no time in introducing the show's three stars: Mark Valley, who plays Christopher Chance, the human target himself; Chi McBride, who plays Chance's partner, Winston; and Jackie Earle Haley, who received the most applause for perhaps not only playing the mysterious and always entertaining Guerrero on the show, but also for his movie roles including Rorschach from "Watchmen." The three men sat contentedly on the stage, comfortable with the accolades that come from appearing in a popular, well-regarded show.
The producer and actors gave lots of hints the upcoming season events. A big change to come will be adding new members to the boys' club. The new episodes will feature the show's first female cast member, a mysterious, rich, married woman who takes a liking to the team and buys their business outright. This gives them a boss to report to but also gives them access to her husband's money and toys. Another female will be added to the team, as yet uncast, a 22-year-old thief who Miller described as “despicable.” These new members will add new, exciting conflicts to the core of the show.
Some future plot threads were mentioned, including one where Chance has to protect a woman whose life he ruined seven years earlier when when he killed her husband while working as an assassin. It was mentioned that the clients the team takes on are always sympathetic, but there is a plan for an upcoming episode which features a deplorable client, an amnesiac who has no idea that everyone is out to kill him. The stories from the upcoming season will reflect on the characters' backgrounds, making the main story and subplots blend into each other to make an organic whole.
After teasing the new season, the panel was quickly opened to questions from fans in the audience. One fan asked if any of Valley's co-stars from his previous series “Boston Legal” might appear on the show. Valley said that would probably not happen, but McBride hijacked his answer and suggested getting William Shatner on the show, adding they "could pay him in sandwiches." McBride then had the room in stitches with an imitation of Shatner.
Haley's Guerrero proved to be the most popular character from the show and he fielded the most questions. Asked why we don't get to see more of him, Haley responded that the character is so interesting because he is mysterious, and to feature him more than he already is might ruin that mystery. However, the team always finds a reason to include him on missions every episode so it's not like he's not an intrinsic part of the show.
The next fan mentioned the actor's most famous role, saying that he loved Haley as Rorschach in the “Watchmen” film, then asked if there will be commentary on the DVD. Haley casually mentioned that Rorschach will do the commentary and, even though he was clearly joking, received the most rapturous response from the entire presentation.
A question was posed as to Chance's limitations; the character is often completely capable and seemingly unstoppable but he must have some kind of weakness that the show has yet to explore. Valley said that it is important to the character that he has people to believe in him even though the people on his team could leave him vulnerable. He also has fears about his conscience catching up to him, to pay for the horrible things he did as a paid killer years ago.
The next fan proved to be perhaps the most dedicated devotee of the show, dressing as Guerrero in jeans and a plaid shirt with glasses and a glued-on beard. More importantly, the fan was female. The cast was so impressed by the costume, and Haley by the act itself, that he invited the fan on stage to ask her question, and for the audience to get a better look at her. She was shy, but the actors supported her and Haley gave her a hug. Her question was, of course, regarding Guerrero and how he would react if another guy was “into him.” Haley shrugged and said, “He would leave it... a mystery.”
An excited fan next noted that Valley would make the perfect Captain America, to which the audience agreed, and asked if he was approached for the role. Valley said that it would have been great to do it, but he was not approached about the part.
One final tease mentioned that Baptiste, a character from the first season, would return, and the audience demonstrated the popularity of that character upon hearing this bit of news with applause. The panel teased that other characters from the first season might also return.