Comic-Con International in San Diego is a terrific place to see television stars. Unfortunately, however, the TV panels often take place at the same time, forcing fans to choose which actors they most want to see. Luckily, TV Guide brought together the hottest stars from some of the most popular, and most anticipated, series – from The Walking Dead to Arrow to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — in one panel, called simply “Fan Favorites.”
Moderated by TV Guide President/Editor-in-Chief Debra Birnbaum, the panel featured Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood), Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow), Giancarlo Esposito (Revolution), Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf), Blair Underwood (Ironside), Henry Ian Cusick (The Hundred), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Clark Gregg (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Joseph Morgan (The Originals). The group was rounded out by writer-producer Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals), who promised to offer insight from the other side of the camera.
Birnbaum kicked off the conversation with questions to each of the actors about their shows and characters. She began by asking Morgan about the fate of Klaus and Caroline on The Vampire Diaries now that he is moving to its spinoff The Originals.
“Well, we’ve been all but promised crossovers between the shows,” he replied. “There’s always been a metaphorical ocean between the characters, and now they’re just a little further apart. … There’s always hope.”
As a writer and producer on both CW series, Plec added, “There’s a reason why Klaus told her, ‘Tyler’s your first love; I intend to be your last.’”
Gregg was up next, and because he was mortally wounded the last time fans saw his Avengers character, he had some explaining to do regarding his appearance on the upcoming ABC drama co-created by Joss Whedon. “I was dead on the Helicarrier,” he said, “and then I got this call saying, ‘It’s comics – you might not be 100 percent dead.’
“At the same time, I thought that was kind of an important part of The Avengers, so I wanted to know how [Agent Coulson] could be walking around in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot and not have it undermine anything in The Avengers. And when I heard the kind of complexity of Joss’ take and the fact that we learn something in the pilot that really opens up another whole series of questions, I was instantly on board.”
Hoechlin’s turn followed, and he dropped hints about upcoming events on MTV’s Teen Wolf. “This season is about tying up loose ends,” he said. “In the next few episodes, there’s a lot of revelations. Lots of questions about Derek’s past will be answered, including why he is the way he is.”
Van Straten , who plays Pam on True Blood, said she can’t wait for viewers to see what occurs in upcoming episodes of the HBO drama. The moderator asked if any of the characters would experience a happy ending soon. “It’s True Blood,” the actress replied. “If there’s happiness, it’s brief.”
For those seeking news on one of TV’s biggest hits from last season, NBC’s Revolution, Esposito offered the following: “We ended our last season in a very precarious position in the tower with very strange people coming out of the woodwork that were unrecognizable. When we begin our new season on Sept. 25, it gets worse.”
Rickards, who plays fan-favorite Felicity Smoak on The CW’s Arrow, revealed she was surprised – but very pleased – when her character became a series regular. When asked about romantic possibilities between Felicity and Oliver Queen (played by Stephen Amell), she admitted Felicity probably has a bit of a crush on him. However, Rickards added that he needs her because she’s his “lie detector.”
Underwood wrapped up this line of questioning by discussing his new series, which he stressed isn’t a remake of the classic Raymond Burr crime drama, but rather more of a reinvention. His character will be different in that “he’s kind of a badass,” Underwood stated. When the show starts, it’s been two years since he was shot in the back, but we’ll see quite a bit of his history in the upcoming season through flashbacks.
The moderator asked the panelists to name a television show (other than their own) that they would want to work on.
Morgan: The Walking Dead
Gregg: Girls or Bob’s Burgers
Gurira: Breaking Bad
Hoechlin: Game of Thrones
Van Straten: Deadwood
Esposito: Arrow or Game of Thrones
Cusick: Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad
Underwood: The Walking Dead
While she wouldn’t want to act on any show, Plec said she’d love the opportunity to write for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “I would sit in the writers’ room for free to absorb the wisdom of Joss,” she said.
In a similar vein, the panelists were later asked which character from their current series they would like to play, aside from their own. Some on the stage seemed to struggle with an answer, but Gregg appeared confident in his response.
“There are moments in life when I feel it would be exhilarating to be green, you know, take care of some business for a few minutes,” he said. Coulson smash, indeed.