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NYCC: WBTV Takeover: “Gotham,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Blindspot,” “Supergirl” and “Person of Interest”

by  in TV News Comment
NYCC: WBTV Takeover: “Gotham,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Blindspot,” “Supergirl” and “Person of Interest”

Warner Bros. TV wrapped up New York Comic Con 2015 on Sunday afternoon with its giant-sized “Warner Bros. Television Takeover” panel, spotlighting Fox’s “Gotham,” The CW’s upcoming “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” NBC’s “Blindspot” and CBS’ “Supergirl” (debuting later this month) and veteran series “Person of Interest.”

The panel started with a season four sizzle reel for “Arrow,” featuring some footage previously seen in earlier trailers, along with a short scene of dialogue between Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum). That followed with a “Flash” season two sizzle reel: “You want to be a hero?” The Flash asks Zoom towards the end. “Heroes die,” Zoom replied. The reel ends with a scene of Oliver and Barry Grant Gustin at Jitters, with Oliver teasing Barry about an espresso drink at the shop named after The Flash.

“Legends of Tomorrow” was the first show on the slate, with that session starting with the previously released promotional clip for the “Arrow”/”Flash” spinoff series. On stage: cast members Arthur Darvill (Rip Hunter), Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom), Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl) and showrunner Phil Klemmer

“He’s from the future, a future he’s not particularly happy with,” Darvill said of Rip Hunter’s reasons for gathering the team.

Asked what the reaction will be when the presumed dead Ray Palmer resurfaces in Star City, Routh answered, “Hopefully he’s welcomed back, if he decides to show himself again. Or maybe he’s in terrible peril — we’ll find out soon.”

No matter his status to the world at large, Ray Palmer will be more in sync with his Atom suit when “Legends of Tomorrow” starts. “When we find him in ‘Legends of Tomorrow,’ a lot of stuff has been worked out,” Routh said.

As far as Kendra Saunders goes, “She’s just trying to figure out who she is as a human, and then she finds out she’s a little more than that,” Renee said. Hawkman will help her remember who she is and what her powers are, she added. “It’s weird when you just meet someone and they tell you they’re your reincarnated lover from 4,000 years ago.”

Klemmer was asked to give three or four word descriptions of the characters not represented on the panel:

Captain Cold: “Cold, calculating, confident.”
Heat Wave: “Psycho, pathological, pyromaniacal and fiercely loyal.”
Dr. Martin Stein: “Arrogant, intelligent and curious about the universe.”
Jefferson “Jax” Jackson: “Skeptical, angry and not that excited about being part of this team.”
White Canary/Sara Lance: “Haunted, lethal and searching for some sort of connection.”

Routh said there will be a “friendly rivalry” between his character and Dr. Stein, the two scientists on the team.

Klemmer said viewers will learn that the immortal Vandal Savage has been at multiple turning points in history, which helps guide the team’s travels. The showrunner also stated that “bonkers” is a conservative way to describe “Legends of Tomorrow.” “I think it’s fully insane.”

Moving to fan Q&A, Klemmer told a young audience member dressed as Two-Face that using characters that aren’t as well known as more prominent DC superheroes helps give more latitude to reinterpret. “[As a] crazy collection of people that have never breathed the same air, forget having been on a time-traveling spaceship together, it feels very fresh.”

A fan asked when “someone from the Bat-universe” will appear on the Arrow-verse shows.” Klemmer: Is somebody from DC here that can answer that? It’s not like we’re seeing, ‘No, we will not have Batman on our show.'”

Will there be unexpected romantic relationships between the characters? “Weird things happen between people on a time-traveling space ship,” Klemmer answered. “That’s a yes.”

Next audience member asked Darvill, who played Rory during the Matt Smith “Doctor Who” era, about the inevitable comparisons between Rip Hunter and The Doctor. “They’re very different,” Darvill said. “I came into this knowing there would be those comparisons. There are similarities. I’m English and wear a long coat and travel through time. But apart from that, the similarities kind of end there. I’m really excited for you to see this weird, mysterious adventurer who can kick ass.”

That concluded the “Legends of Tomorrow” portion of the program, with a screening of the “Supergirl” pilot next. A “Supergirl” Q&A will follow; we’ll be back with more updates in about 45 minutes.

We’re back! On the “Supergirl” panel: Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen), executive producer Ali Adler and the show’s Maxwell Lord, Peter Facinelli.

Adler on taking on the show: “What’s amazing for us is we were able to sort of weave our own canvas, taking the best parts of the historical comic book character. Characters like Alex Danvers are whole cloth — we created her for this.”

Will Supergirl and James’ have romantic or platonic relationship? “You can’t really just go and hit on Superman’s cousin after he asked you look at to her, because there’s a bro code — and he’d destroy you,” Brooks answered. “I’d say keep watching.”

Facinelli said his Maxwell Lord isn’t a villain, but has a unique perspective. “He’s fully human, but he’s very smart.”

Adler talked the inspirations for “Supergirl.” “We’re so inspired by things like ‘Buffy’ and ‘Alias.’ Those are strong, badass women. [Supergirl] is just superpowerful, and it’s incidental, almost, that she’s female — you won’t forget it, but you’ll take away that she’s badass.”

Adler revealed one of the DC Comics villains coming to the series: Toyman. “There’s definitely going to be a connection between the villain Toyman and one of our heroes, played by Jeremy Jordan.”

The EP also disclosed that the “Supergirl” writers’ room is 50 percent female: “As it should be.” She said that brings “balance and truth to the show.” “This is a spectacular show,” Adler continued. “Every department is really pushing itself to be super, and we’re really trying to bring you a feature film every week.”

Brooks on playing Jimmy — well, “James” — Olsen: “He is the audience as it pertains to Superman,” Brooks said. “All of this could be that person with truth and justice in their heart, who have that friend. Looking at me, you don’t see Jimmy Olsen. I had a lot of trouble making sure I was true to myself, and also to the canon that already exists.”

“We saw many actors for this role, but we only saw one James Olsen,” Adler added.

“It’s like reading a comic book,” Facinelli said of getting the scripts for the series. “It’s so much fun, and I’m really appreciative being a part of it.”

In terms of structure of the series, Adler said that while there’s an overarching enemy, “Every episode will bring an immediate nemesis to thwart. We definitely have a goal for the season.”

Brooks praised series lead Melissa Benoist. “Melissa is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of talent,” he told the crowd. “She’s going to have chemistry with a cardboard box.”

Brooks asked Adler if Olsen will ever get superpowers on the show, as has happened to Jimmy Olsen over the decades in the comics. “I think we’re trying to evolve these characters in many ways,” Adler said. “As yet planned, I believe you remain a mortal. But we’ve seen your abs at San Diego Comic-Con, so we do know you’re a man of steel.”

Asked about Kara’s career aspirations, Adler stated, “I think we’re always shifting and growing. She loves where she is, she’s definitely inspired. She’s this radiant burst of life you seen on the screen — in real life she is as well.”

“I think she’s inspiring no matter what her gender is,” Adler told a fan. “We like to look at each episode with, ‘What would she be like without her superpowers?’ and boil down her essence. Aspirational and inspirational.”

A fan asked the nearly obligatory question: Any chance for a crossover with “Arrow” or “Flash”? “We would never want to separate ourselves from those shows,” Adler said. “We love those shows and are inspired by them every day. We don’t know what’s going to happen down the line — I guess in success, anything is possible.”

A similar question asked how “Supergirl” may fit in to other DC-based live-action worlds. “I just think we’re trying to do a cool show,” Adler said. “I don’t think we’re trying to speak to the movie landscape. There are amazing things happening in the world of DC, but we just want this inspiring voice to affect all these amazing people.”

With that, the “Superman” portion wrapped, moving to a look at “Blindspot,” starting with a sizzle reel hyping its currently unfolding debut season.

On the “Blindspot” panel: creator Martin Gero and cast members Ashley Johnson (Patterson), Audrey Esparza (Tasha Zapata), Rob Brown (Edgar Reade), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Bethany Mayfair) and Sullivan Stapleton (Kurt Weller).

Moderator Laura Prudom (news editor at Variety) asked if the structure of the show will be changed at all now that it’s been picked up for a full season — looks like not so much. “It was super-arrogant of us, but we designed the story for a 22-episode season,” Gero said.

Brown on his character’s evolving reaction to Taylor Shaw/Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander): “Going forward, that has to be a point where Jane has to prove herself, and Reade isn’t so skeptical.”

Looking at the season as as whole, Gero said, “How both Kurt and Jane try to reconcile the Taylor Shaw of it all is the emotional arc of the season. She doesn’t really identify with Taylor — she was only Taylor Shaw for five years. Kurt has been searching for her, and desperately wants her to be that person, and that’s something that’s hard for her to process.”

Gero on the show’s episode titles: “The show is about puzzles and games — I think titles for shows are always so difficult. We’ve encoded a hidden message in the first 10 episodes of the show that you can unlock, and have some spoilers if you want them. We didn’t tell anyone — we didn’t tell the network, we didn’t tell the studio. As soon as the third episode aired, someone figured it out. For episode 11-122, we’ll have to find out a new way to encode messages.”

A fan asked how it felt making a show with feminist themes. “To me, it’s not a show about equality of the sexes, it’s about the real world, where there is equality of the sexes,” Gero said. He said while testing the series, men were asked what they liked most about the show: “Action.” Women were also asked: “Action.”

Another fan question: Will Jaimie Alexander’s character be referred to as Taylor going forward? “We’re going to keep calling her Jane for now,” Gero answered.

A fan asked about the experience of working with a large cast. “It’s very easy to pretend to like people you love,” Esparza answered.

Stapleton (Australian) and Jean-Baptiste (English) were asked about getting roles in America. Jean-Baptiste said it wasn’t too difficult for her, partially because there are so many productions in the US. “In the states, they really embrace talent, and are inclusive. It didn’t feel like this territory that you couldn’t get into.”

The last fan question asked Johnson if she prefers doing voice acting or live-action work. Johnson said she didn’t necessarily have a preference, and approached both in a similar way. “I feel like I’ve just been very fortunate to work on some really, really fun projects. I just love them both so much.”

Next up: “Person of Interest.” Following the pattern, a short promotional video from the upcoming season was shown. On the panel: Executive producers Greg Plageman and Chris Fisher, producer Margot Lulick and cast members Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Kevin Chapman, Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker.

“We’re picking up right where we left off,” Plageman said, with The Machine needing to be reconstituted.

“The thing about The Machine right now is, we’re not sure if it has a heartbeat,” Plageman said. “We pick up in real time. There are also some flashbacks with Harold Finch. There’s going to be a lot of tumult, there’s going to be a lot of change, there’s going to be a lot of heartbreak this season, but there won’t be any filler.”

“I don’t think we’re going to let you guys down with the premiere episode,” Fisher told the crowd.

Lulick on the challenges of the show, and the new season: “It’s an amazing place to work, this city. I think the challenges [this season] are similar, but I think we’ve gotten really good at working in this amazing place. We have a shorthand as a team, and as a production, that weaves and dodges through the five boroughs of New York City.”

Emerson said that Finch has attempted to keep his relationship with The Machine a “non-personal” one, though elements of that still bleed through. “When something that can talk to you seems to be dying, and you’ve spent the bulk of your life with it, there’s going to be a kick to that.”

Chapman said that Fusco is “going a little rogue” in the new season. “He’s going to be treading in some very dangerous waters. It’s going to be really a lot of fun.”

Speaking of the relationship between Shaw and Root, Shahi mentioned her past role on “The L Word,” and said she enjoys getting the opportunity to represent the LGBT community on screen. “I think it’s incredibly appointment for them to have role models, for them to have someone on TV they can empathize with, find strength in.”

The cast was asked about Shaw’s return. “She’s a formidable warrior, but she’s a little unmanageable,” Emerson said. “Mr. Finch likes people who takes more direction than that, so he’s going to have to keep an eye on her for sure.”

Moving to fan Q&A, Shahi and Acker were asked about their relationship in season five. “Just let your mind run rampant,” Shahi said. “I’m teasing it appropriately and not telling you anything at the same time.” “Root will be very happy,” Acker added. “I’ll put it to you this way,” Shahi continued. “Amy and I both have bruises, and it’s not from any of the fight scenes.”

A fan, despite convention rules, asked Caviezel for a hug, and the actor told her to come up to the stage, where she enthusiastically hugged him. “The whole damn thing has been hijacked,” Emerson cracked, before Caviezel dragged Emerson into a selfie with the fan.

Another audience member asked if the show had affected the cast or producer’s view of technology at all. Plageman said they’re constantly swapping stories about technology and surveillance. “Often times we’ll write it, and two months later something will come out saying, ‘Yeah, it’s real.'” Caviezel said that he likes how the show delves into both the positives and negatives of technology.

With the “Person of Interest” programming done, “Gotham” is left as the final presentation. A sizzle reel for the current second season was shown, centered on the arrival of Michael Chiklis as new Gotham City Police Department boss Captain Nathaniel Barnes; telling the force they should be ashamed of themselves and firing multiple crooked cops.

On the panel: executive producer John Stephens and cast members Ben McKenzie (James Gordon), Chiklis, Cory Michael Smith (Edward Nygma), Erin Richards (Barbara Kean), Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot), Jessica Lucas (Tabitha Galavan) and James Frain (Theo Galavan).

“We wanted to tell the story of how supervillains to be in Gotham,” Stephens said of the show’s second season.

On Gordon’s arc this season, McKenzie said, “He’s learned the lay of the land, and now he’s going to be put it into action. And what he’s learned is sometimes you have to play a little fast and loose with the rules.”

Chiklis said his character will be there to “pull Gordon out of the muck” of the “ends justify the means” approach to law enforcement.

Asked about the number of deaths so far this season, Stephens said, “At its core, we want the show to feel dangerous,” emphasizing the importance of surprises. “When you’re dealing with an origin story, the audience feels like they know where it’s going to go.”

“From the beginning, she has signs,” Richards said of her character’s unhinged and villainous path. “I think the turn of her killing her parents was genius.”

Cobblepot’s evolution will also continue as season two unfolds. “He was never the man in charge,” Taylor said. “His entire skill set was about getting to that point. He now is going to be challenged — to stay there, it’s going to be extremely difficult for him. It’s never easy for Cobblepot.”

Taylor broke some news at the panel: Paul Reubens will guest on the show as his character’s father. “He played Penguin’s dad in ‘Batman Returns,’ so it’s an amazing thing,” Taylor said, before exclaiming: “Pee-Wee Herman is playing my dad!”

Smith describes “bad Nygma” as his id, in opposition to his ego.

Frain on his character: “I intend to take on every main character in this story, and it’s going to get very dark indeed.”

Doesn’t sound like the good guys will go down without a fight, though: “Barnes is pretty badass in his own right,” Chiklis said. “This is going to be a war.”

First fan questioned asked what direction Gordon was heading. “He’s on a slope downward, morally speaking,” McKenzie said. “With each script we understand where our characters are going, and how it’s twisting and turning more. Gordon is not going anywhere good, but it’s going to be a fun journey.”

Next question concerned the possibility of a renewed Barbara/Jim relationship. “Could they find themselves in a non-adversarial relationship in the future? Possibly,” McKenzie answered.

“Yes, we will be bumping heads,” Chiklis told a fan when asked about the Gordon/Barnes relationship.

Wrapping the panel, Stephens told a fan that “if you watch the episodes closely as we go forward,” more clues about the Joker mythology and his role in the show going forward. As far as Jerome goes, Stephens said viewers “probably have not seen the last of that fellow.”

Catch up on all of CBR’s coverage from New York Comic Con 2015!

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