Behind The Eclipse: "Heroes" Episode 9

The season is really heating up for the hit NBC television series "Heroes." More and more viewers are turning into the show each week, with it now regular water cooler discussion. The episode which airs tonight, "Homecoming," has been heavily promoted all season with the tag line, "Save the cheerleader. Save the world." So, we'll finally see if our heroes have saved the world by rescuing Claire Bennet from her attacked.

Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite, two members of the "Heroes" writing staff, have been answering questions for the past five weeks, letting us grill them about "Heroes." They're back this week with more details of what's happened thus far and what we can expect in the coming weeks.

This week's questions were written by Chris Ullrich, George Tramountanas, Jonah Weiland and you! If you have a question for the guys, drop Jonah Weiland a line and we'll consider it for future publication.

Now, on with the show.

Allright guys, we're going to start with some reader questions first. Todd Morris has a question about something he noticed on Claire Bennet's MySpace page. "If you look at the pics she has up, you'll see in the one with her pose she's wearing her uniform which clearly has a Trojan logo. Look at the other pic on the page - it's for the Wildcats. In the painting by Isaac with Claire and Zach arguing a banner is clearly seen in the background which reads 'Wildcats Pride.' All the publicity pics on the NBC website show Claire wearing her Trojan uniform. So, which is it? And is there anything to read into the changing name?"

Guys, it appears nothing gets past your viewers!

You're absolutely right. Nothing gets past our viewers (and we're thankful for it - someone needs to keep us honest.) In the case of the changing mascot, it's a lesson in the difference between a pilot and the series. For the pilot, Claire's school mascot was indeed the Trojan (and therefore all of the press photos that you've discussed were taken for said Pilot.) However, when we were scouting high school locations for the series, the mascot for the school we was, you guessed it - The Wildcats. Coincidently, the school had the same exact colors, just a different mascot. So, to make our lives easier (and the high school happy) we changed the mascot to the wildcats. That way we could keep all the signs the school already had in place.

No big conspiracies here, just insight into the production process. Go Wildcats!

Go Wildcats, indeed!

Jeffrey Dawkins wrote in with an interesting question, "Does Micah know about his parents secrets from reading the '9th Wonders' comics?" He also wanted to know, "Is Micah's power over electronics or is it just that he can communicate with anyone anywhere?"

Great theory. Maybe Isaac has been drawing all of these characters in "9th Wonders" from the get go? Just like Hiro? Hmmmmm? Is he? More will be revealed about Micah's ability in Episode 13. Stay tuned.

Charles Luckman wanted to know how the episodes are written. "I'd really like to know how you guys go about writing an episode. How does a writing team work on a script? Does one person write the script, then the writing team tears it apart after? Who gets assigned what?"

"Heroes" is a very unique show and a very unique writing staff. First of all, all of the writers are awesome. Jesse Alexander. Natalie Chaidez. Bryan Fuller. Michael Green. Jeph Loeb. Adam Armus. Kay Foster. Chuck Kim. It's an all-star line up.

All the writers "break" every episode. Breaking an episode is essentially figuring out the scenes of each story. We talk, argue and debate all of the details ad infinitum until we're all happy with the story (or at least, most of us are happy and the ones who aren't exactly happy can live with the stories we're telling.)

Then, unlike other shows (certainly ones we've worked on) all the writers write every episode. We'll each take a story line or split some scenes and generate a first draft. It's a well-oiled machine and we can usually turn around a complete script in a few days.

From there, we'll give notes on the draft and then the script will be turned over to who ever is handling that episode. At that point it's the individual writers job to input any notes and take the script through production and editing until it airs.

It's a tremendous process. It makes us invest ourselves in every script, not just the one that has our name on it. This process has really brought us together and, we think, made the show that much better.

Allright, now it's time for the grilling! In "Seven Minutes to Midnight," the Hero-Waitress, Charlie, indicated that she has started to remember everything she read and/or her intelligence increased just recently. However, Claire's father (horned-rim glasses guy) indicated that he encountered Claire's mom 14 years ago. At the same time, it seems you've hinted the eclipse has something to do with the appearance of heroes. Is the manifestation of powers in a person then influenced by environmental factors, genetic factors, or a bit of both?

Environmental factors influence genetic factors. Or is it genetic factors influence environment factors? I can never remember which comes first. At any rate, we can't spill the beans on some of this -- suffice it to say, you guys are asking the right questions.

Didn't HRG indicate that he knew Claire was special early on? Does that mean the eclipse event isn't necessarily the first time this world has seen people with extra normal powers?

Sometimes we feel like we're writing fortune cookies for answers here, but… that's a very good question and you'll have an answer this season.

Clea Duvall's character, FBI Agent Audrey Hanson, said she "pulled the Sylar case" three months ago. For clarification, was that the first time Sylar's actions made him noticed? Or was that just the time when Clea's character got the case?


Claire's father works at a paper factory/supply company (as a front to his real work). Theodore Sprague said he worked for a paper company, too. Is this a coincidence? Or is there a Dunder-Mifflin connection? (Man do we love "The Office" around the, ahem, office!).

Theodore Sprague actually said that he worked for a medical supply company, "He was selling dialysis machines in Kansas." So, no coincidence there.

Right you are. Our mistake.

But, unfortunately HRG doesn't work for Dunder-Mifflin, but if he did, wouldn't that be the best crossover ever?

Oh, it would be, but I think we all know Michael Scott would drive Mr. Bennet crazy and suddenly the Haitian would appear to take care of "things."

OK, back to the questions. Now, both Matt Parkman and Theodore Sprague "lost" two days when they were abducted, and they both had two "hash marks" on their neck. Is it a way of marking time? An indication of their power level? Or does it have to do with the kind of exams performed on them? Or are we not even close?

You are close.

The government tried to take Sprague into custody, yet it didn't appear that the people who picked him up were working with Claire's father. Claire's father has said the agency he works for doesn't have any initials. And, once again, he said he encountered Claire's mom 14 years ago, so the agency he works for has been around for quite some time. Is the agency he works for part of the government? If not, who funds them? What is their purpose? Will we know this by the end of Season One?

You will know more by the end of the season.

We discovered that Mohinder had a sister in this recent episode. He was two years old when she died (and she was five). He also somehow "sees" his father die at the hands of Sylar (and makes special note of Sylar's watch), and encounters a young boy. This young boy was a subject of his father's (so it appears). Does the kid play into Mohinder's father's reason for going to New York?

Two words. Episode 9.

I think you've discovered through these Q&As that patience isn't one of our traits!

Allright, continuing on with Mohinder, is he developing powers that allow him to see the past in his dreams, or were his dreams being invaded by the boy trying to tell him something?

Two more words. Episode 9. Oh, wait, those were the first words. Wait till tonight. All will be revealed.

If it was Mohinder's power (the nature of which is a tad confusing), then we have a question: in the previous episode, Peter Petrelli also visited someone in his dreams. Had Peter "siphoned" some of Mohinder's power? How long can Peter hold onto a person's power? Does his power only work on "super-humans"? Or could he siphon the ability to rap badly if he were near K-Fed?

Two words. Episode 11.

Gothca. OK, also in "Seven Minutes to Midnight," Mohinder's father's computer is crunching some kind of computation. This looked a lot like the code we saw on the jumpdrive in New York; however, the code on the jumpdrive was complete. We're assuming these two codes aren't supposed to be identical, are they? Mohinder still has that jumpdrive, right? We're guessing this code holds some major answers for viewers.

It does.

The assistant to Claire's father, Eden, she seems to have a power, too. Could you tell us a bit about what it is and what role she'll be playing in future episodes?

Eden is going to play a pivotal role in the next three episodes.

Did Eden really go through the same thing as Issac or was she just lying?

Why would she lie? Just because she was lying to Mohinder, that makes her a liar? Oh, well, I guess that logic follows. But, more about Eden will be revealed soon.

It looked like Hiro was just about to get himself a girlfriend, but then you all went and had her killed! Will any of the heroes see some romance on the horizon?

Yes. Including Hiro.

Another question about Hiro and Charlie - when Hiro went back in time and ended up in the picture, he didn't look too happy. Is he stuck there or something? Or, did the girl end up not being as great as he thought?

Wouldn't that suck? You go back in time to save a girl's life only to find out that she's really annoying and is K-Fed's biggest fan? Eeek!

Hiro being in the picture brings up some possible time paradox issues. The photo Hiro did go back in time in his quest to save Charlie. But, if he were successful, wouldn't time and events have changed at the diner while Ando was there? Or even if he weren't successful, wouldn't events at the diner be different anyway? Is Hiro worried about creating any time paradoxes? He should be, don't you think? Or maybe he learns the hard way?

It's definitely the hard way.

With the November 27th episode titled "Six Months Ago," could that be how far back Hiro jumped?

It could be.

We want to know a bit more about Matt Parkman's mind reading powers. Last episode it seemed like he couldn't control his powers, yet in "Seven Minutes to Midnight" it appeared he had some ability to control them. Has something changed for Matt?

Learning to use these abilities is like learning to ride a bike. The more you do it, the better you'll get. For Matt, it's like learning to ride a bike without training wheels that goes into the human subconscious.

Speaking of death, will this show be killing any main characters, as they have on "Lost" for example. Or, are all the heroes pretty much safe?

You people can't wait for the blood to start flowing… Fine. Release the blood!

OK, that sounds ominous! Hrmmm …

On a stylistic note, who is primarily responsible for the interesting look of the show? Is it the producers, the DP, the directors or . . . ?

All of the above. We have an amazingly talented DP, John Aronson. The best set designer in the world, Ruth Ammon. Visionary directors and producers, Dennis Hammer, Alan Arkush and Greg Beeman. And an amazing crew that bust their ass daily. It's all of these factors coming together that make the show. Everyone.

Where are you guys, the writing staff, currently in crafting the series? Are you still working on this first half of the season, or are you into the second half yet?

We're finishing up what we call the second pod. We're airing episodes in three sections. The first pod, Episodes 1 through 11 are one story. Episodes 12 through 18 tell another section of the story. Finally Episodes 19 through 23 will be a roller coaster wrapping up the first season.

Gotcha. So now that we know where the writing staff is, where's the production staff at this point? How far ahead is the production staff in comparison to the air schedule?

We're filming Episode 12 and 13 now. We're getting a little bit of lead time back. Let me tell you, it's very hard to run 11 episodes in a row.

As Tim Kring was a co-writer on "Teen Wolf 2," is there any chance one of the heroes will have lycanthropic tendencies?

Uhhhm, do you want to pitch that to Tim, because… yeah, that's a real good idea. We'll, uhhhh, let Loeb pitch it.

Allright, time for the weekly tease. What can we expect from tonight's episode, "Homecoming?" Here's what TV Guide had to say: Claire's high-school homecoming turns into a frightening event; Nathan and Simone team up to locate the painting Peter needs; Hiro attempts to undo a wrong by traveling back in time; a boy draws Mohinder back to his father's research; and Micah gets to know his dad better, while Niki sets a goal for herself.

Best. Episode. Yet.

As always, thanks guys. We'll check in with both of you next week.


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