Behind The Eclipse: "Heroes" Episode 6

Mon, October 30th, 2006 at 12:00am PST

TV/Film
Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

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Last week we began our weekly chat with two of the members of the "Heroes" writing staff, Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite. Each week that there's a new episode of the series, CBR News will ask the guys the tough questions to try and learn more about the many mysteries that we're faced with each week on "Heroes." Who's the guy with Claire's father that can apparently wipe people's minds? What's the deal with Future Hiro? How does Peter Petrelli's powers work? We ask all that, plus much more as we head into week six of "Heroes."

"Heroes" airs Monday nights at 9:00 on NBC. Visit the official site and check out the weekly comics (there's an important note about the comics at the end of this Q&A) at http://heroes.nbc.com/. This week's questions were assembled by Jonah Weiland and George Tramountanas.

Story continues below

Photos on this page are from the November 20th episode, "Homecoming."
Allright, let's get right into it guys, shall we?

When someone has a power on the show, how much thought do the writers give to the "science of superheroes?" For example, Nathan flies, but how fast can he fly? Does his skin feel friction or the cold of the higher altitudes? Is it difficult for him to see with all the air rushing into his eyes? How can he tell which direction he's going from that high up? Or are we overthinking everything and audiences should just buy go with the flow?

We'll answer this question in two parts:

1. You're overthinking.

And B. We think about the science - a lot. It's important that this makes sense in a real world and there are various theories (some bogus/some less than bogus) that apply to all of our characters.

Is Nathan's flight telekinetic in nature (Superboy)? Is he projecting a propellant forcefield (like Canonball)? Or are wings sprouting out from his back and moving faster than the human eye can see like a humming bird?

"Oh! Waffles! Woo hoo!"
-- Hiro from episode "Hiros"
In all cases our conclusion is that nature provides defense mechanisms for all creatures on land, in the air, under the ocean - the same is true for these abilities.

If the powers each person has is a matter of genetics as Mohinder's father believed, does that mean the children of Niki Sanders and Nathan Petrelli would have powers?

That's certainly one theory. But, when have you ever known the world to have a single theory about anything. Someone else must have another theory as to why these things are happening. Right?

The black "bad guy" (the partner of Claire's dad) is told to "hollow" the quarterback out in the episode "Hiros" Any clues as to what this means or how his powers work?

Well, let's talk about what we've seen. He's worked his "voodoo" on both Matt (Greg Grunberg) and Brody (the quarterback). Both have lost memories. So, we know he can do that. We also saw that he may be able to block Matt's mind reading as well.

Interesting. Do we have a name or at least a nickname for this character?

Around the office, we refer to him as The Haitian.

Allright, now we're getting somewhere! Claire's father went bad ass in "Hiros." "I should kill you." Gotta love that. But, once again, here we have a guy without a name. Will Mr. Bennet be getting a first name any time this season? Why the exclusion of a first name? And we've seen him referred to online as HRG - "Horn Rimmed Glasses." Where'd this come from?

H.R.G. came from Tim Kring in the pilot script and was the characters name. Now we're getting to know him as Claire's dad - and this duality makes him a pretty interesting guy. Soon enough we'll learn more about him. Maybe a name will come along with that. Maybe not.

While Claire's dad stole a bunch of information from Mohinder's father, we thought Mohinder indicated that only he found the "key" (on the USB flash drive) that would allow him to identify the people with powers. Since Claire's dad already kidnapped Matt Parkman and tried to kidnap Nathan Petrelli, he obviously has more info than Mohinder. Where is he getting his information?

Does he have more information than Mohinder? Or has Mohinder not yet unlocked all of his father's research? And just what is the connection between HRG and Mohinder's father?

"Up, up and away!"
-- Hiro from episode "Hiros"
You see how we're answering questions with questions. Smart huh?

Smart and sneaky. Don't think that'll stop us from asking more questions, though!

For instance, is Isaac's power truly dependent on the drugs he takes? Or is it the only way he knows how to access his powers? As we saw in "Hiros," Peter Petrelli was able to access Isaac's powers without the aid of any drugs - or is the way in which Peter accesses Isaac's power just different overall?

More on this in Episode 8. but if Peter can access the power without the drugs, then… draw your conclusions in here.

In the painting Peter drew, we saw a body that laid bleeding. We had a hard time telling who this was - is the audience supposed to know yet? Is it a cheerleader? Also, can you give any clues as to who the giant shadow looming over Claire is? Is it someone we've met yet?

Looks like Peter painted a cheerleader. Do you know any cheerleaders? And if so, how could Claire possible be in any danger? What could possibly kill this girl?

Again. Answers with Questions...

As to the shadow, I'll tell you who it isn't - it isn't Hiro. Damn. We've said too much already.

No, keep talking! Keep talking! While Isaac's paintings have all shown the future, are his paintings an absolute? Can the heroes change the outcome of something predestined?

"Two million dollars makes me a candidate in your pocket. Four million makes me a Congressman."
-- Nathan Petrelli from episode "Hiros"
Wouldn't be much hope for the world if his paintings are absolute, right?

True.

We hope we can change them or else someone better start evacuating New York.

More truth. Now, "Hiros" introduced us briefly to Niki's ex-boyfriend and it appears he'll be our next super villain. What can you tell us about him? Anything of his back story or his relationship with Niki? How about some clues as to what his powers are?

We can tell you that DL (Niki's husband) is a bad ass. He's suspected of robbing a sports book for 2 million dollars and killing his entire crew. But, since this is "Heroes," nothing is always what it seems - good guys - bad guys - it's all about what you do with your life.

DL's escaped custody a couple of times, so what does that tell you about his abilities? Also - check out the newest webcomic heroes.nbc.com - it's all about DL.

We got to see a bit more of future Hiro in "Hiros." Do we know how far in the future Hiro is coming from? We're guessing quite far considering his look has changed and he's now quite expert in English. Of course, if you can jump around in time, time may mean nothing to you. Oh, how we hate time paradoxes!

We hate time paradoxes too. And yes, we do know how far.

Last week we ran a poll asking which of the heroes viewers liked most. Hiro was far and away the leader since voting began. As of this writing, Hiro holds the #1 position with 68% of the vote. The #2 vote getter, Peter Petrelli, trails with just over 9% of the vote. Clearly Hiro's popularity is huge. Did the writing staff have any idea before the show launched that he'd be such a popular character?

We had no idea, but we're delighted. Hiro is such a wonderful character and Masi is a wonderful actor.

He absolutely is. Since his popularity seems to be solid, does that affect you all as writers when telling his story? Does that necessarily mean he gets more story? Has his popularity changed anything in regards to his story direction?

No. We're trying to tell good stories for all of our characters. They will all get their highlights during the course of the season.

"Hollow him out. Take everything."
-- Claire's Father from episode "Hiros"
Now, Hiro is a character who not only brings a great power to the group dynamic, but also a great sense of wonder as a character. He embraces his powers and sees them as a positive, while most of the others see it more as a burden. While we know little about future Hiro thus far, on the surface he's quite different. Does moving towards this dramatic shift in character cause the writing staff some headaches based on the fact he's so popular right now?

Not at all. Future Hiro is a ways down the road (not that you won't see him again - he'll pop up when you least suspect it.) But that doesn't mean Hiro and Peter and Mohinder and all of our characters won't go through major trials and life altering moments during the first season. And on the other side, who's to say some of our other characters won't see some levity as well?

Matt Parkman's mind reading powers have incredible potential, but we also saw how it could curse him. Or was his fainting in the store at the end of the last episode possibly brought on by something or someone in the store?

Let's go with curse for now. The only weirdo in the convenience store was that crackhead who was going to rob the place and his ability was being a weirdo.

Not a very useful ability, we should add! Matt used his powers to very good effect on, ummm, the couch with his wife! Can we say he's not only a mind reader, but also, as the comic book guy on "The Simpsons" might say, "Best. Lover. Ever." ?

Okay, ewwwwww.

Yeah, we're creeping ourselves out now, too.

Got a reader question for you. Tom Galloway wrote and asked, "You've got Hiro as a sufficient fanboy that he carries a replica Merry Marvel Marching Society membership card around with him. So what would such a person who can teleport do on learning of his powers? Why, teleport to Stan Lee's house/public appearance by Stan and ask for advice on how to handle his powers. Yep, that's right, will we ever see a Stan Lee guest appearance on the show where he has to deal with Hiro popping up and pestering him?" So, is a Stan Lee cameo a possibility?

Good question. How fun would that be? We saw Stan Lee pulling into the lot the other day and flipped out. Unfortunately, Hiro has very little control over his teleportation abilities - so he could probably not get to Stan Lee's house. And if he did, he would probably be arrested for trespassing.

In last week's interview, you mentioned the show is more "Buffy" and less "Lost." Could you expand on this? What did you mean exactly?

"Buffy" remains a good analogy for the season to season structure of the show, that in season two there will be a different drive. But from episode to episode, we're more "Battlestar Galactica" and less "Buffy."

Our form of serialized storytelling allows us to tell self contained arcs, jump ahead in time (weeks/months/years) and provide multiple jumping off points for the audience. As opposed to, let's say, being stranded on an island.

The online comic seems to be gaining some traction. Do we have any numbers on readership?

"My name is Peter Petrelli. I have a message for you."
-- Peter Petrelli from episode "Hiros"
We were told by the powers that be that there have been very promising traffic numbers for the "Heroes" website, and that half of which are for the webcomic. We're hoping as people see that it enhances. That being said, if we can get one kid in Michigan to read it and utter "Cool…" we've done our job.

Also with the online comics, when are they written? Are they planned out while an episode is being written, or after?

They are planned concurrently. We decide the best story to tell as it correlates with the episode. However, we just learned that the webcomics will be weekly, even when the show is off the air. So, check it out as we expand our pantheon and introduce new characters online.

Allright, guys, good to know. We'll watch the episode "Better Halves" tonight on NBC and check back in with you both next week. Thanks, Joe and Aron.

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