At Comic-Con international in San Diego last Friday, the creators and cast of the television show “FlashForward” sat down to share a sneak peak of the series and discuss its storyline and production. The panel opened with creators David S. Goyer, Brannon Braga, and Marc Guggenheim. “Entertainment Weekly’s” Jeff Jensen moderated the panel.
The panel previewed the first two acts of the television show’s premier episode, which depicts what happens when everyone on the planet sees a glimpse of their future six months from now. At the forefront of the story is FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) and his partner Dominic Witter (John Cho), who seek to apprehend a group of suspected terrorist that may have something to do with the worldwide precognition. As the episode progressed, Mark’s family and friends attempt to recover from the precognitive event, and bits of their future actions were teased at the audience.
At that point, members of cast were introduced to the crowd, including Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Courtney B. Vance, and Christine Woods.
Jensen asked Goyer about the Kangaroo that was shown wandering through downtown LA, and the writer answered, “The kangaroo will be back, it’s a thing.” Jensen then asked Goyer about the genesis of the show, and Goyer explained that his wife, producer Jessica Goyer, had read the “FlashForward” novel by Robert J. Sawyer, and had also contacted Brannon Braga about it. Goyer also mentioned that the storyline catches up to the vision by the end of the first season, which a multi-part finale. The first part will air on April 29, the date of the actual precognition.
Jensen then asked Brannon Braga and Marc Guggenheim why they were interested in doing the series, and Braga responded, “There are billions of stories to tell, the event happens to everyone, with a potential to go around the world.” Guggenheim replied that he liked the fact that every person on earth is a character in the story, and every flash-forward is different. He also noted that the first three episodes take place in three different countries.
When Jensen asked actor Joseph Fiennes whether he felt “FlashForward” was a mystery or a “human drama,” Fiennes said that his character Mark’s investigation may reveal clues, but the stories of the characters are all human dramas. Goyer noted that the investigatory bulletin boards in Mark’s flash would provide clues to the mystery.
At this point, Jensen asked about the possible similarities to ABC’s “Lost,” and Goyer explained that although he’s a huge “Lost” fan, and a friend of “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof, the shows were not similar. Goyer also noted he has whole seasons of “FlashForward” mapped, and if necessary, will need as little as three seasons to complete the primary storyline.
Jensen then asked Joseph Fiennes why he decided to try television, and Fiennes explained that he enjoyed Goyer’s brilliant script, and that the structure of television episodes and the production process excited him. Fiennes followed up his answer with an anecdote detailing the first time he shot a gun for the series.
Jensen asked John Cho about his summer, a reference to the recent release of the new “Star Trek” film. Cho replied that he traveled all over the world to promote the movie, and finally met the cast members he didn’t film with.
When asked about the difficulties of acting under the pretense of precognition (Goyer does not clue the actors in on what their precognitive flashes actually mean), Courtney B. Vance joked that his flashes involve residual paychecks.
Changing the topic again, Jensen asked Goyer what’s going on with the next Batman film. Goyer, who contributed to the stories of “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” answered that he was “bat-musing.”
Jensen then asked Guggenheim about the Green Lantern film he is writing, and Guggenheim said only that Martin Campbell would direct the film in Australia.
The panel opened up to questions from the audience, and a fan asked if there were any characters that did not have precognitive flashes. Goyer coyly said to watch the next clip. Another fan asked if Goyer was only on board for the pilot, and he responded that he was on contract for the entire first season.
Another fan asked if novelist Robert J. Sawyer was involved with the series’ production, and Goyer replied that Sawyer was the unofficial science advisor, and that he was writing an episode for the first season of the show. Goyer also mentioned the official online resource for the show, http://redpandaresources.com/.
The panel closed with a collection of upcoming scenes, introduced by Sonia Walger in a “Wonder Woman” outfit. The highlight of the footage was Dominic Monaghan as Simon, a mysterious character that Goyer referred to as a “game changer.” Monaghan was then introduced to the audience, and after a quick hello, the panel was brought to a close.
“FlashForward” will premier on ABC September 24, 2009.