Behind The Eclipse: "Heroes" Week 20

Last Monday, after what seemed like an eternity, "Heroes" returned to the airwaves with ".07%" which revealed answers to some of the biggest questions asked this season and also saw one of our favorite heroes fall. Tonight, in an episode titled "String Theory," we jump forward five years as Hiro and Ando visit the future and we get even more answers as to what may possibly transpire at season's end.

Now, we've got video previews of tonight's episode, but most importantly we've got "Heroes" writers/producers Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite back to answer your (and our) questions as we do each and every week in BEHIND THE ECLIPSE.

This week's questions were from George Tramountanas, Dave Richards, Jonah Weiland, Remy Minnick and you! To participate in these weekly conversations, simply send an e-mail to Jonah Weiland with the subject line "Heroes Question" and we'll consider it for inclusion. Keep in mind we only have three more episodes after tonight, which means only three more BEHIND THE ECLIPSE'S! If you want in on the action, the time is now.

Without any further delay, here are Joe and Aron.

Hey guys, welcome back as always. This past week we had another huge load of questions and we'll start out with one that saw a number of people ask the same question, but AdaM (yup, upper case M) was first, "OK. Seriously. Why didn't Suresh kill Sylar when he knocked him out?"

Suresh knew that the worst thing in the world would be if Sylar got a hold of Peter and his abilities. Suresg didn't know if Sylar was playing possum or how long he would be knocked out – he simply knew that he had to get Peter the hell away from Sylar. So he did what he had to do – he ran.

Ahh, OK, that makes some sense, plus, how do you kill a man with Sylar's abilities if you're just a mere mortal like Suresh. Plus, who knows what would happen if you were to kill him with normal means.

Another Adam, this time Adam Silkey, has some thoughts about Claude. "Is Claude just an invisible man? Or is he more? Claude gets shot by HRG and maybe even falls over the edge of a bridge, and he's still living? The only heroes that have displayed more than one power are the two 'empath'a-type characters of the show: Sylar and Peter (Maybe even the Haitian?) Claude strongly hinted that he knew of more than one empath. Claude also is the one who is teaching Peter how to use his abilities. Could Claude himself be an empath?" For that matter, will we ever see Claude again?

It's a wonderful theory, but it's not true. Claude can only turn invisible. However, being invisible makes Claude a true student of the human condition. Right now he believes that the base of human behavior is to be selfish and greedy. He might not want to appear to the world ever again, but he might be forced to come out of retirement. We'll see (or maybe we won't see…)

There's no doubt our readers like tracking down answers to the clues you guys have been providing and Andrew Schaad did some more research on the important of the number 9 (citing a Wikipedia as his source – can it be trusted?). "From Wikipedia: According to occult lore, the Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka c. 270 BCE. According to the legend, upon his conversion to Buddhism after a massacre during one of his wars, the Emperor founded the society of the Nine to preserve and develop knowledge that would be dangerous to humanity if it fell into the wrong hands. Some versions of the story include an additional motivation for the Emperor to conceal scientific knowledge: remnants of the Rama Empire, an Indian version of Atlantis, which according to Hindu scripture was destroyed by advanced weaponry 15000 years ago. Theories have also begun to surface claiming that Rama and Atlantis might have had war using nuclear technology, and destroyed each other." He went on to discuss nine books, which apparently each member of the society is responsible for guarding one of and each book deals with a different branch of potentially hazardous knowledge like psychological warfare, biotechnology, alchemy and much more. Has he found something?


Good work, Andrew. You have discovered one of our many influences in creating this series -- We knew you guys would find it. The question that we now have to pose to you is how this affects this series? Is it something that you've already seen? Is it something you're going to see? Keep working and looking.

Nicely done, Andrew! Take a bow. We're going to leave the #9 for much more serious matters. Average Joe has a question we all in the office want to know more about. "So, what's Mr. Muggles' power?"

He's actually a very old telepath who's astral form is stuck in the body of a dog. Wait. No. That's a terrible answer. Sometimes a dog is a just a dog.

Charlie S asks, "In the latest episode '.07%,' HRG says to Parkman and Sprague in the restaurant, 'The cherry pie here is great!' in a very Agent Dale Cooper way. Are you guys fans of 'Twin Peaks' and was that a reference to it?"

Yes. Absolutely fans of "Twin Peaks" and David Lynch. "Mulholland Drive" is a big favorite (and was originally a television series.) But no, the truth is the cherry pie is really great at the Burnt Toast Diner.

Jason Fliess also noticed the diner was the same one that we saw Hiro and Ando visit earlier in the season. As nothing happens by accident on the show, Jason wants to know if the fact they were all at this diner of any significance?

It's just a diner that's in Midland Texas, just outside Odessa. So travelers coming in and out find themselves stopping there for a bite to eat. And for those who didn't know – the Burnt Toast Diner was named after Tim Kring's brother Buddy's restaurant "Burnt Toast" in Boulder, Colorado. It's a wonderful restaurant. If you're ever in Boulder, we highly recommend it.

You guys thinking what we're thinking? Road trip!

Grant solo asks, "Oh, mighty 'Heroes' scribes, my question is this, in episode 19 at one point, Sylar's voice goes all deep and robot-like at one point, and I remember this has happened before. It reminded me of Eden's power, the power of persuasion, where she could make anyone do what she said (kinda of like 'Preacher's' Voice of God). So, does Sylar have Eden's power? I thought she blew her own brains out to stop him getting her power. If Sylar doesn't have her power, what does it mean when his voice goes all deep?"

First of all, Grant, thanks for the "mighty." We appreciate that and it has made our egos inflate so that our heads barely fit through the doors.

Seconds of all, Sylar does not have Eden's power. She considered the possibility of his getting her power and showed a bit of heroism in her last moment and now her brains are on the wall of his old cell at Primatech. It's really hard to get all the blood and brain stains out.

Ohhh, ewwww….

When Sylar's voice goes all deep, it's simply the editors and sound mixers feeling that it makes the scene more dramatic and scary.

We had a number of questions about that, actually, so thanks for clearing that up. James Jeffrey goes back a ways with his question. "Mr. Bennet had a gun that was powerful enough to knock Sylar off his feet, but not kill him. Will we see more weapons specifically developed by Primatech?"

Mr. Bennet just has a normal gun and James Jeffrey, you have just forced us to give a little discussion on physics. A typical bullet fired from a gun travels at 400-500 meters per second. Sylar's had a number of bullets fired at him – most of which he telekinetically stopped. Matt. HRG. Suresh. Each has had a different effect. Matt knocked him down. HRG knocked him back (and if you read the Webcomic "Road Kill" you'd see that one or two actually penetrated him). Suresh's bullet stopped in mid-air. The more time Sylar has to concentrate the easier the bullet is to stop, but sometimes the impact can still propel him backwards as he's trying to prevent the bullet from piercing his skin. Have we bored enough people yet? Good.

And we're back! We kid, we kid. Jeff V had a funny observation about Claire's powers. "Are Claire's earrings clip-ons? Otherwise, I imagine it'd be a drag to have to re-pierce all the time, and it might've tipped her off sooner about her power." Hrmmmmm …

Hrmmmmm indeed.

Heh … OK, let's get some Hiro questions in here. Kai asks, "When future Hiro met regular Hiro and Ando, wouldn't future Hiro remember going in to the future as regular Hiro and meeting himself?"

Short answer: Nope. Long answer, is of course, far more complicated. Future Hiro came back to tell Peter to save the cheerleader, changing the past minimally, but perhaps somewhat. Peter called Hiro, setting Hiro (or Hiro Prime as we geekily refer to him) down a slightly different path.

What was different? That's to be debated. Was it meeting Isaac and seeing his Painting of the Dinosaur? Nathan getting Hiro in Linderman's gallery? Ando's rescuing his friend? Or perhaps there was something in the moment Hiro first teleported with the sword and Ando. Maybe some kind of force (fate, Hiro's subconscious will, the collective unconsciousness, God?) that took Hiro to the Future on the eve of the Five Year Anniversary of the explosion. Perhaps there is something in this time he needs…

Anyway, short answer, nope.

Wow, all those time travel discussions we had early on in the season pale in comparison now. Brain hurts! Mike's following up on one of the answers you two gave last week. "You guys said, '[we] already met the youngest hero a while back. Before season's end, we will revisit her in a big way.' Are you referring to Molly Walker, the girl found under the stairs by Parkman? If so, when will we see her play a role?"

Soon. Very soon.

See, folks, any appearance, as minor as they may seem, could come back in a big way later on in the season.

Moving on, Mike Geller asks, "Why has Nathan not asked Linderman to heal his wife as part of the deal? Or will he?"

Hrmmmmm indeed.

Oh, man. That would certainly be an interesting deal with the devil. Peter Dawson enjoyed the guest stars thus far seen on the series and wants more. "Are any more infamous actors and/or sci-fi icons (like George Takei, Malcolm McDowell, Stan Lee and Richard Roundtree) going to seen in cameo roles before the season is through?"

In two weeks you'll see the remarkable Ellen Greene ("Little Shop of Horrors") in a very memorable role. And a lot of your favorites will be making more appearances before the season is over.

We hear someone's father may be making a return. Hang in there, folks!

Allright, now it's our turn. Let's start at the beginning of ".07%" -- we're curious why it was Linderman doing the narration. Was it just time to "mix things us," or does this indicate a turn in the series?

Mixing things up.

Fair enough. Now, in ".07%" we got a taste of Linderman's power. Can you tell us more about those powers? Is he someone who controls plants/aspects of nature? Or is it more of a healing power (as suggested by his description)? When will we see him use his powers more?

Healing. For more on Linderman. Read the great graphic novel, "War Buddies," available now at www.nbc.com/heroes. You will see him use his powers before this season is over.

Will do. Now, while it's been shown that there is a definite genetic link to who gets powers, do the genetics play a part in which powers people get? For example, Linderman's "healing" powers (if that's what they are) are similar to Claire's powers. He heals others, while she can heal herself. That's intriguing…

Isn't it? We thought it was intriguing, too. Glad to see that you're all intrigued.

Now it's time for us to say, "Hrmmmmm…"

Everyone in the office and a number of readers had the same question – the doomsday scenario Linderman described seems to share some similarities with the groundbreaking graphic novel "Watchmen" and the characters of Ozymandias. How much of an influence, if at all, did this graphic novel play on the final outcome of "Heroes?"

Comics have a huge influence on us. "Watchmen." "Days of Future Past." "Y The Last Man." "Dark Knight Returns." "Long Halloween." These are all books that all of the writers hold very dear. So to say that these books did not have an influence on us and our writing would be disingenuous, but to say that Alan Moore invented and owns the doomsday scenario is also untrue.

We were also influenced by the 9/11 documentary "Loose Change" and Mario Puzo's lesser known novel "The Fourth K." All writers are influenced by previous work. It's what inspires us to tell great stories.

We're putting our own spin on our story to make it uniquely "Heroes."

And of course we'll have to wait until season's end to really know what scenario will play out.

Linderman said he used to belong to a group of people who had powers. Would it be much of a stretch to assume the Petrelli parents were part of this group? And when do we get to see Mrs. Petrelli use her powers?

You will be learning more on this connection this season and into next. We wouldn't dream of leaving you hanging. And who said Mrs. Petrelli has a power? Did she say that? Or does she just know about the powers?

And speaking of Mrs. Petrelli, how come we haven't seen Peter absorb her powers? Or have we, but we don't know it yet?

See above.

True, true. We're making assumptions here. She seemed to indicate in ".07%" that she had powers, but of course did not specify. Sneaky.

Now, also along this genetics line, shouldn't Nathan's other kids (Claire's half-siblings) have powers? Or is that only guaranteed if both parents are powered?

In genetics, nothing is guaranteed. A random mix of traits. Gregor Mendel and all that. Do we have to have a biology lesson, too? Wasn't the boring physics lesson enough?

In many ways, BEHIND THE ECLIPSE is becoming "Heroes" U.

Now, Isaac said he's shown the others how to kill Sylar and stop the bomb. Would it be safe to assume he means the comic book? If so, will we be getting a look at that comic?

In five years. (What're you doing tonight?)

Watching "Heroes!"

Also, Isaac tells Sylar that he will be stopped and that "You can't fight the future." Isaac also says he has to play his part. Is Isaac implying that he has to die and give Sylar his powers to set Sylar down a path that will eventually lead to the others stopping him?

That's a good interpretation. Also, did you see how many paintings Isaac painted of his own death? They were all over the place. Isaac couldn't paint past his own death, but hopefully he left enough clues for Hiro and the others to help stop Sylar.

Both Isaac and Hiro seem to have come to the realization that certain future events can't be changed. What leads them to believe that they can change the destruction of Manhattan?

It's a little thing called, Hope. You're a glass-half-empty type aren't you.

Generally we're all glass-half-full types around here, but with "Heroes," we fear for our TV friends.

Also, while we're talking about paintings, tell us a bit about the painting Sylar did. We hear another excellent comics artist was brought in for this episode.

Yes. The amazing Alex Maleev ("Daredevil," "New Avengers") has come on board to be the "ghost painter" for Sylar. We love his work. It's like twisted Van Gogh meets Chagall on acid. It's cool to have two of the comic industries top artists working on the show, both of whom have such a different styles.

When Sylar painted the scene with Nathan in the Oval Office, it came back as a twisted version of the one we saw earlier in the episode. Was this just to show how twisted Sylar was or are we seeing a new, more twisted future due to the events that have now unfolded?

You will have an answer to that question tonight.

Does Isaac's death necessarily mean the end of Tim Sale's involvement with the show?

Not at all. Peter absorbed Isaac's ability and he seems to draw a lot like Mr. Sale.

OK, that's excellent to hear.

Now, The roles Linderman and Mrs. Petrelli play are interesting – they both want Nathan involved in politics, clearly, but does that necessarily mean they're working together? Seems like they're on opposing sides.

Lines will be drawn in the sand before the season is over and you'll know exactly who is standing on which side.

In the panels that we see of Isaac's final comic, we see Hiro fighting someone with a sword, and another person getting an injection in the back of their head. I take it we'll see these things before the season ends?

We'll know in about five years (What're you doing tonight?) Seriously, watching "Heroes!" Are there any plans to explore just how much the governments of the world know about people with powers? Does Primatech paper have any official ties to the U.S. government? There are no official government ties.

Peter has stated that the way he "accesses" the abilities he has is by remembering the person and how they made him feel. If, per chance, he was to forget who that person was (or forget that they had that ability) would Peter lose access to that power?

That's an interesting theory.

You just figured out the very beginning of season two. It was a shot of Peter flying invisible, while painting the future and reading the minds of people on a nearby airplane. Damn you. Now we'll need to start over.

Nathan said that Claire could come back in a week, which would be after the election. Presuming that makes the election 5-6 days away and the day after was when the bomb exploded and Hiro found Isaac's corpse, the corpse Hiro found seemed in pretty good condition for being there that long. Did the future change and did Isaac die earlier then Hiro had originally seen or are we suffering from nitpickers disease?

There's a little nitpickers disease, but because of Hiro's involvement there are small details that have been changed throughout the series. (Similar to what we droned on about earlier with both Hiros) Isaac's loft is different than when Hiro went there the first time (Remember all the Helix paintings?). Hiro's life changed when he jumped back to the Subway, then Isaac's life changed when he met Hiro in Odessa.

Allright. Any final words before we sign off?

Yes, before we leave, everyone should give a big shout out to the youngest member of the "Heroes" family. Joe Pokaski and his wife Jessica had a healthy and happy baby boy, Charlie Joseph Pokaski. Charlie made it just in time to watch Joe's episode tonight!

Congratulations, Joe and Jessica, and welcome Charlie! That's excellent news. Now, everyone go watch "String Theory" tonight, written by Joe himself!

Those of you who are interested in participating in our weekly Q&A with Joe and Aron can do so by simply sending an e-mail to Jonah Weiland with the subject line "Heroes Question." We'll consider it for inclusion in our next edition of BEHIND THE HEROES. Questions should be submitted by Thursday at Noon.


Want to talk "Heroes" with other fans? Join the discussion right here on the CBR Forums!

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