NEW YORK – It may not be a traditional fit for Comic-Con, but that didn't stop people from turning up for a panel on the FX series “The Americans” this afternoon. The panel wasn't in one of the main halls, but it was a sizable room, mostly full, and there was a definite buzz.
Why wouldn't there be, HitFix's own Alan Sepinwall described the most recent season of the show, which aired this past winter as having taken a “major creative leap – the kind that can elevate a show from a strong example of its era to one that transcends eras.”
To set the scene, the panel was a discussion and Q&A, led by Andy Greenwald. Present for were creator Joseph Weisberg; executive producer Joel Fields; and stars Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich, and Annet Mahendru.
While it was, perhaps, intended to focus heavily on the upcoming third season, much of the 45 minute affair (including an eight-and-a-half minute series of clips to remind us how great season two was), focused on the show in general. As a series where so much is a surprise and which centers itself on secrets-state and otherwise-much of what will take place in season three is hush-hush.
If you were looking for specifics, you were going to walk away disappointed from the panel. No secrets whatsoever were divulged about what the future is going to hold, specifically, for any of the characters – either those present or not present. That being said, there may be some minor spoilers below.
They go into production on that third season this Monday, and will again be filming in New York. However, Weisberg and Fields said that they had been coming up with ideas and discussing the third season since the second was finishing up production. They did force themselves to take a break for a few weeks, but the ideas have been percolating for a long time.
One of the big points that they struck on early in the panel was the fact that the upcoming season will focus more on the parenting struggles our two spies. Those struggles have certainly been seen in the past, but may be more-front-and-center than any marriage strife Elizabeth (Russell) and Phillip (Rhys) have for other reasons.
We also know, as Mahendru was present for the panel, that Nina has survived her predicament. At least, she has survived long enough to be alive for the third season premiere.
During the Q&A portion, a question was asked about what the characters reactions would be to the end of the Cold War. Mahendru felt as though Nina's would be happy… mostly because that would mean she lived that long.
The producers also did say that we will get to see the return of a number of cover identities from Elizabeth and Phillip. In fact, Clark became a bigger part of the show because they really liked the way the hair and makeup for the character looked.
Naturally, no specifics about which other covers would be returning were forthcoming.
A couple of other interesting sidenotes:
*** When asked about acting about acting (playing one of the cover identities), Rhys explained that Phillip's general thought process was, “I don't have to be a great actor, I just have to convince the person in front of me.”
*** Season three will take place in 1983 and you can expect the war in Afghanistan to be a big part of it.
*** Stan's life, which has been going downhill pretty much since the pilot, isn't really going to get better this year.
*** The use of old technologies on the show is less research than it is memory.
*** Not having cell phones has made a lot of the stories work as you can't just call someone to warn them.
*** “Everything has hidden meanings on the show,” was Fields' half-joking response when asked about music used during montages. He also said that they don't work out the music as far out as they do other pieces.
*** The cast and producers were all wearing great “Commie Con” t-shirts.