After Friday night’s spoiler-free PaleyFest panel for “The Walking Dead,” Saturday night’s (March 2) panel for “Revolution” was practically the opposite.
Eric Kripke, J.J. Abrams and the cast were fairly forthcoming about what fans can expect both when “Revolution” returns to NBC on March 25 and beyond.
That, of course, means that if you want to go in with a completely clean slate, you really don’t want to read the information after the break.
So click through for 20 things we learned from the ‘Revolution’ PaleyFest Panel.
20) Nobody on the “Revolution” writing staff cared about the Super Bowl. Remember that whole blackout thing during the Super Bowl and all of the “hilarious” jokes on your Twitter feed about “Revolution”? Well, it turns out that the shows writers weren’t even watching the game. They were working on breaking story and one of the assistants read about it on social media. “We all had a moment like, ‘Ah. I wish we were airing the next night,'” says Eric Kripke.
19) They’re overjoyed that they’ve been gone since November. You may miss “Revolution” and NBC may miss the show’s ratings, but Kripke and company are giddy. Well, they’re not really “giddy,” but they’re very good at putting a happy face on the break. “I’m very grateful for it, becuase I think creatively it really paid off and I believe very strongly that the second half of the season is better than the first,” Kripke says. They said the same thing at TCA Press Tour in January, so it’s gotta be true.
18) Eric Kripke thinks he knows what the show did well in its first chunk of episodes. “I thought we did a pretty great job introducing the characters and these wonderful actors,” Kripke says. “Character really has to come first in a show like this and it’s more important than the genre and it’s more important than the big concept, because stories come and go, but if you can make the characters stick, then I think you have a chance as some longevity and I think we did that well. We got to know them. We got to understand them. They got dimensionalized, they all sorta came to life, which is in a large part due to the incredible job that all of these incredibly handsome people on the stage have done.”
17) Eric Kripke thinks he knows what the show did less-well in its first chunk of episodes. “I don’t think we moved the story fast enough. I think we were treading water once or twice too often,” he admits. “I felt like it was just time to open it up. I started feeling as a viewer towards the last couple like a certain impatience of like, ‘I’m ready for this story to go.'”
16) We’re going to learn why the lights went out. Soon. Very soon. “It’s almost avant garde it’s so crazy,” Kripke says. “We reveal why the power went out and we do it early. I don’t know a genre show that’s given up their big mystery that soon, but I think that’s sorta the television landscape now and it’s my own personal taste. We don’t get precious with the answers. We deliver it and we ask a bunch more questions and I think the mystery still continues, but it just keeps evolving and shifting.” He seemed to indicate that the answer would be coming in Episode 13. The March 25 episode is the season’s eleventh, so mark your calendar as appropriate.
15) Jon Favreau was responsible for making them give the power answer. Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) is with the main group and the writers agreed that Rachel would know the answer, so it because a question of how to keep giving her reasons not to tell everybody what she knows. Favreau apparently came into the writers’ room and asked “Is there any reason she wouldn’t say it?” And nobody had a good answer. If you remember all of the circumstances on “Lost” in which complicated mysteries could have been solved if people would just ask the right questions, this is almost… revolutionary.
14) Those aren’t the only answers fans will get. “Every question that has been asked in the first 10, we answer it before the end of the season,” Kripke promises. Among the answers we will get: Why did Rachel slap Miles? Where’s Grace right now? What was the big event that turned Mikes and Monroe against each other? Plus…
13) Aaron (Zak Orth) is reunited with the wife he abandoned. Nobody mentioned this initially when they were mentioning the big upcoming moments between characters, but an audience member asked about it and Kripke was more than happy to answer. “He sees her again and they’re able to work out their issues and they do have a face-to-face,” he promises. “She’s in present day and you catch up with what she’s been doing for the past decade or so and then you deal with Aaron. And Zac murders it. He’s so good and he’s so emotional.”He makes it so real, everything he does, so huge props to Zac.. He left her because he thought he was protecting her, but he was a coward to do it and since then he’s found his strength and so now he sees her again and so what does that mean for them?”
12) Monroe and Nora may have a scene together and that may be notable. Everybody was being very free on the panel talking about collaborations and all of that stuff, but when David Lyons said he just worked with Daniella Alonso, everybody cut him off. So make of that information what you will. Or not.
11) Charlie is going to get to be funny. Maybe. A little. Asked about favorite moments, nearly every actor said that their favorite moments are still to come, because that’s what you say at things like this. Tracy Spiridakos’ response: “I love right now where I get to see a totally different side of Charlie, which you guys will get to see. She even has a little humorous sides of her. She’s evolved into a woman.” Wait. Humorous? Charlie? Seriously? But it won’t all be humor and womanliness. Charlie’s also going to have “a lot of anger and resentment” towards her mother. Expect plenty of answers there as well.
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10) Leslie Hope is coming and she’s a “badass.” We’re going to be exploring other republics, including Georgia, which is governed by President Foster, played by Leslie Hope. She has “her own management style.” Kripke compared the ability to delve into other kingdoms to “Game of Thrones.” We’re fine with that.
9) Eric Kripke is really, really, really stoked the show got to use Led Zeppelin. “Sometimes you have moments where you’re like, ‘I have the coolest f***ing job in the world,'” Kripke says, recalling the efforts to coordinate song usage with Led Zeppelin’s “people.” He particular recalls a particular conversation. “They called me and they’re like, ‘Good news. Robert and Jimmy saw the episode. They’re in.’ And I was like, ‘Are you telling me Led Zeppelin watched my show?'” Kripke, who insists that the songs complemented the episode well, says “I’m so obsessed with that band, to an unhealthy degree.”
8) Nobody has been hospitalized. Yes, “Revolution” features a lot of stunts and action scenes and so far, the cast has been surprisingly injury-free. “No one’s been to the hospital. Everyone’s been safe,” Giancarlo Esposito said, as all of the producers started frantically knocking on wood and narrating ways in which these quotes will be played back ironically if something bad happens this week.
7) J.J. Abrams has the genre special sauce, unless he doesn’t. The moderator giddily complimented Abrams on having the “genre special sauce” for doing things right. “Have you seen ‘Undercovers’?” Abrams asked. [He quickly backtracked and swore, “I love all the people involved in that show.”] “You never know what really what the answer is to anything except ‘What makes you feel?’ The only thing that I think comes close to a litmus test for me in terms of what might work is if it actually makes me feel something,” Abrams says.
6) J.J. Abrams has a chocolate river, unless he doesn’t. Jon Favreau was wooed to direct the pilot through his desire to work with J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot. As he put it: “To be able to play in that Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory that they have over there in Santa Monica was great from just being a guy who gets to go to the parties there to a guy who actually gets to drink the chocolate milk out of the river…” I can’t be sure that he is being literal, but you can’t be sure that he’s not.
5) The webisodes aren’t unimportant. Part of how “Revolution” has attempted to keep fans engaged during this long, long, long break is with webisodes featuring Giancarlo Esposito and David Lyons. The first of the webisodes just premiered and don’t go thinking this is just filler. Kripke says that anything that happens in the webisodes is part of the show’s core mythology and that they’re character-developing. Esposito insisted the webisodes are some of his favorite moments yet. So… watch. If you care.
4) They have J.J. Abrams-affiliated dream casting for a President. “We want Jennifer Garner to be President Affleck,” Kripke said. He was joking. I’m not sure why he was joking. Why wouldn’t Jennifer Garner be open to reuniting with her “Alias” chum if it were a limited arc with a juicy character angle? I get that she’s obviously limiting her acting choices while she raises a family and concentrates on a few films and whatnot. But I still don’t see why for a three-episode arc or something she would be such pie-in-the-sky casting that they’d joke about it, rather than just going out and getting her.
3) Tracy Spirodakos falls down a lot. Asked about pranks or funny things on-set, Spiradakos and Alonso hinted that they have a developing prank, but nobody volunteered anything else hilarious. “I tend to trip a lot. That’s probably the biggest amusing that we have on-set,” Spiradakos admitted. She added, “Walking. The ground just hates me.”
2) Props to April Webster. Casting directors never get to be on the stage during Comic-Con or PaleyFest panels, but I always enjoy when they get recognition from the people on the stage, so kudos to Billy Burke for spotting April Webster in the crowd and saluting her. “I want to recognize her and thank her for bringing us all together,” Burke notes. “It’s a little stupid how much we all dig each other. We’re having the greatest time making this show…It’s a very physically and tough show to make, and we work very long hours, but most of us, all of us, wouldn’t have it any other way, I think. We’re really loving it.”
1) In the event of a pending disaster, invite Tracy Spiridakos for fun, Daniella Alonso for practicality. As Hurricane Sandy was heading toward their North Carolina set, Alonso went out to the store at two in the morning and loaded up with batteries and flashlights and food and water and the person at checkout said that Spiridakos had just been in, but had purchased only one thing: A bottle of wine. We all have different survival mechanisms, eh?