Veteran comic book scribe and "Heroes" writer Jeph Loeb hosted the "Heroes" Q&A at Wizard World Los Angeles this weekend, with panelists Jesse Alexander (and young son Simon), Michael Green, Adam Armus, Kay Foster, Joe Pokaski, Aron Coleite, Bryan Fuller, Chuck Kim, Tim Sale and series creator Tim Kring, with CBR in attendance for the event.
The panel was a Q&A start to finish, and the first question was whether or not the heroes are born with their powers. Fuller discussed that the show would continue to explore the "nature vs. nurture" argument on the issue. But he did go so far as to say that episode 17 suggested that it was a "bio-organic process, not a matter of flipping a switch." Loeb was quick to add that some characters view their powers as a "gift from God."
In the first of many "Lost" comparisons, one fan asked if the writers had an ending in mind for the show. Alexander asserted that "Heroes" is "not the kind of show that demands a final ending." "Lost" has a more "limited premise," whereas "we could be telling these stories forever."
"We should be so lucky to have the success that 'Lost' has had," Loeb was quick to add. And Kring said "Heroes" has definitely benefited from watching "Lost" and "24" pioneer this type of storytelling.
One fan asked about the ubiquitous Kanji symbol that appears all over the show. Coleite reiterated that it literally means "God sending great ability." Green explained that the symbol is known within the writers' room as "the helix." Kring suggested that it might just be the art department.
Another attendee asked if Peter Petrelli could absorb all of the powers that Sylar currently possesses, and Pokaski responded with a resounding yes.
Another question was what special features fans could expect to see on the season 1 DVD set. Alexander said that there would be original scenes written and produced exclusively for the DVDs "that reveal what happens to the characters after the season finale." The plan is to release Season 1 on both High Definition and regular DVD format. Kring also said that the set would include the original, uncut 72-minute pilot, which he's calling the "Kring cut."
In response to a question about color themes on the show, Armus said, "As far as I know, the colors are differentiated by regions of the world that we're visiting." Kring confirmed this. With so many different stories in so many disparate places, Kring wanted to ease the audience in by grounding each in a "different vibe" though how the film is treated in post-production. Thus, Texas has more of a yellow tint, New York is more blue, and L.A. is more saturated.
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One fan asked about the nature of Nikki Sanders' power. Loeb suggested that it could be viewed from any number of perspectives, including the psychological and the spiritual. And he posed an intriguing question: If Isaac didn't really need the heroin to access his powers, does Nikki have access to her alter ego Jessica's super strength? Kring likened the dichotomy between the two sides of her personality to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Kring told one fan that "Heroes" was a relatively easy sell to NBC. "The network at the time was in fourth place," Kring said. "And they were looking for a large, ensemble , serialized show. ['Heroes'] fit the bill."
Loeb joked, "We like to call it, 'Save the cheerleader, save the network.'"
When asked whether or not Hiro needs his sword to access his powers, Coleite asked, "Did everyone get the handout on Jung at the door?"
But Kring said, in short, "The truth is, [Hiro] doesn't need the sword." Moreso than anyone else, Hiro looks at his as a "classic hero's journey," and those traditionally had "sacred objects that gave them their strength."
Foster threw out the tidbit that now that Hiro has the sword, he may eventually have to use it.
The panel seemed at first reluctant to address the controversy surrounding the sexuality of Claire's friend Zach, portrayed by actor Thomas Dekker. But Fuller did eventually say, that Dekker's management "didn't want him to be playing a gay character" for career reasons. The panel then did acknowledge that they'd originally conceived of the Zach character as gay, and that the ambiguity is a result of an "unfortunate miscommunication."
When one fan asked about villains, Kring said, "One of the basic ideas of the show is that these people are just like all of us." People who are predisposed to be good will "walk through a wall to save a life," whereas someone else with the same power might use it to rob a bank.
The panel's only female, Foster, reassured one female fan that there are more super-powered women in "Heroes'" future.
Alexander spoke a bit about the 360 experience, which is a viral marketing campaign through the show's website. He said that all the stories on the site "connect with the show," and provide participants with "real spoilers." He went on to say that this is basically a dry run for an even bigger experience in the works for next year.
The possibility of Hiro making a return trip to the past to try yet again to save Charlie's life seems grim, as Kring said, "We needed to set a hard and fast rule early on that it would not be so easy for Hiro to jump back in time and change things." But Pokaksi announced that a novel called "Saving Charlie" was in the works, which will chronicle Hiro's many and varied attempts to save the titular character's life.
One fan asked Sale about the process of going from script to canvas, and Loeb told the audience, "[Sale] can see the future."
Sale, for his part, frequently gets script pages, but opts not to read them because he'd prefer not to see spoilers. "My artwork is done on paper in black and white," Sale said. "They're colored by Dave Stewart and blown the fuck up."
Kim said Sale's work was consistently "better than what we imagined."
Loeb went on to announce that in the not too distant future, Sale's original paintings from the show would be auctioned off on NBC.com, with proceeds going to actor Greg Grunberg's charity of choice, the Epilepsy Foundation.
The panel said they have big plans for San Diego Comic Con this year. Loeb said this was their way of saying thank you for the people who came out to the Con last year to watch the unedited Kring cut of the "Heroes" pilot before it was aired. News about a print collection of the online "Heroes" comics can also be expected in San Diego.
Coleite said there were no plans for characters to don spandex and fight crime by night. Kring said that if it ever did happen, it would be received like a costumed superhero would be received in the real world.
Of Hiro's father's involvement with Primatech Paper, Fuller revealed, "He cuts down the trees." Kring promised we would be seeing more of the character this season.
Kring said that each season of the show was going to be more or less standalone, so that new viewers could jump on at any time.
One fan asked Jeph Loeb if the "Teen Wolf" scribe could find a way to work a similar character into "Heroes." Loeb was quick to point out that Kring had penned "Teen Wolf 2," which the latter described as his "shining hour."
One fan wondered if with all the power switching, powers would ever be traded amongst heroes as commodities. The term "powers store," was thrown around. And when asked if guest star Stan Lee would return, Foster said he would "run the powers store."