The cast and creators of The CW’s midseason sci-fi romance Star-Crossed met received an enthusiastic reception from a capacity crowd at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Following a pilot screening, executive producers Josh Appelbaum, Adele Lim and Meredith Averill were joined on stage by actors Grey Damon, Matt Lanter and Aimee Teegarden for a brief Q&A. TVLine’s Meg Masters moderated the discussion.
Star-Crossed begins with a spaceship crashing on Earth, where the U.S. military grabs the aliens, called Atrians, and segregates them into sectors with armed guards and curfews. One of the alien boys, Roman, briefly hides in a barn for a short time, with the help of a little girl named Emery, before he’s captured. Some 10 years later, the government decides to integrate a group of the teenage Atrians into a high school as a social experiment. Roman (Lanter) and Emery (Teegarden) are reunited, but bigotry from some of the other students and the adults in the town may keep them apart. Star-Crossed is a blend of Alien Nation and Romeo and Juliet by way of District 9.
“I think this may be an appropriate first question given the audience reaction to the will-they-or-won’t they kiss moment [between the alien male lead and the female human lead] in the pilot,” Masters began.
“You also thought the shirt was going to come off, didn’t you?” Lanter shouted to the screams of girls in the audience.
“Take it off now, Matt,” Damon said as the screaming died down.
“Are you three ready to be the next CW love triangle?” Masters continued.
“I don’t know,” Lanter replied. “How are you ready for something like that?”
Teegarden said she gets to pick between two handsome guys, so she’s happy.
“A good love triangle is very important to a show,” Lim offered, “and I think Roman and Greyson represent two very different but equally attractive choices for Emery and we look forward to exploring that.”
Averill said the events at the end of the pilot (with an alien getting killed by a human) really set the stage for “this epic clash between the two races.”
“We’ll always be experiencing that through our Romeo and Juliet—our Roman and Emery,” she said. “We’re gearing up for quite a battle.”
Appelbaum said one of the inspirations for Star-Crossed was the integration programs from the 1950s. “We absolutely, through the course of the series, want to highlight what it is to integrate these students into this school. We also want to be doing a lot of fun sci-fi stuff,” he said. “There’s that spaceship sitting there. We want to go inside that spaceship. What’s in that spaceship? Those kinds of things are important to us as well.”
Averill also said they will flash back to the ship, and viewers will learn why it crashed. “They claim that their planet was dying and they had to search for a new home,” she said. “Is that really the truth, was there really a fuel cell malfunction, or was it sabotage? I think all of that stuff will be fun to reveal.”
Lanter said Star-Crossed is very different from his previous show 90210. While they both have romantic teen-soap storylines, Star-Crossed deals with a lot more social commentary, and has the sci-fi angle. “It’s fun for me as a fan of sci-fi to be in that world, and I kind of welcomed the darker, sci-fi fun aspect as opposed to the soapy stuff,” he said.
Appelbaum said CW executives encouraged them to pursue the sci-fi elements. “Every time we talk to them, they’re like, ‘Push the sci-fi stuff, push the mythology,’” he said.
Grey said his character Greyson is the straight man of the show, but notes that he “definitely has some secrets — and a dark past … like Batman,” which generated laughter from the audience.
Teegarden said she was enjoying working on the series after her role on Friday Night Lights. “I love sci-fi,” she said. “That’s my jam.”
Appelbaum, who previously worked on such series as Life on Mars and Alias, said fans should expect Star-Crossed to be fast-paced.
“We move fast, in a good way,” he said. “There’s a lot of mysteries. A lot of things you want to know. We start giving answers quickly. Episodes 2, 3, 4 — the story moves at a very great pace. Mysteries are revealed, new ones start. It’s cool.”
Star-Crossed premieres at midseason on The CW.