BEHIND THE ECLIPSE: Season 2, Week 6

We present today's BEHIND THE ECLIPSE in the shadow of a looming strike. As you may know, the Writer's Guild of America has voted to strike following extended contract negotiations with the studios that have gone nowhere. What this means for the immediate future of "Heroes" and BTE is uncertain at the moment. We have four more episodes to enjoy before the show goes on hiatus, but if the strike is an extended one, it may be many months before "Heroes" returns. And as you'll see at the end of this week's BTE, we're currently unsure if Joe and Aron can continue to answer your questions each week while the strike is in effect. It's definitely not business as usual this week, but we press forward regardless and hope for a speedy resolution to the WGA strike.

For those of you new to BEHIND THE ECLIPSE, what we've done each and every Monday there's a new "Heroes" episode on NBC is check in with writers/producers Aron Coleite and Joe Pokaski with your questions and ours about the show. It's our way of giving you behind-the-scenes access to one of television's most popular programs. Want to get involved? It's easy, simply send your questions via Jonah Weiland with the subject line "Heroes Question" and we'll consider it for inclusion. Despite the strike, keep those questions coming and we'll hold on to them. Hopefully we'll be able to continue BEHIND THE ECLIPSE through the end of the year, but if we can't, we'll hold on to your questions for later use.

As for tonight at 9:00 PM, NBC will air the latest episode of "Heroes" titled "Out of Time." Here's the network description for the episode:

WHILE SEVERAL HEROES FACE OFF AGAINST THE "NIGHTMARE MAN," PETER LEARNS JUST HOW DEADLY THE VIRUS CAN BE -- When one of his forgotten abilities suddenly manifests, Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) and Caitlin (Katie Carr) get thrown into a crisis situation, and learn first-hand just how deadly the mysterious virus striking people with abilities can be. Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Matt (Greg Grunberg), Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), Niki (Ali Larter) and Bob (guest star Stephen Tobolowsky) band together to fend off the "nightmare man's" attack. When West (Nick D'Agosto) drops by the house, Claire (Hayden Panettiere) attempts to hide family photos that reveal the man who kidnapped him as a child is her father (Jack Coleman). Meanwhile, in feudal Japan, Hiro (Masi Oka) and Kensei's (David Anders) legendary journey takes a dramatic, final turn. Kristen Bell, Noah Gray-Cabey, Dana Davis, James Kyson Lee, Zachary Quinto and Dania Ramirez also star. Alan Blumenfeld, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Shalim Ortiz, Eriko Tamura and Adair Tishler guest star. Special "podbuster" will include footage from the "Heroes World Tour" event with the Conservation Fund in New York City.

Show Cast: Milo Ventimiglia, Ali Larter, Hayden Panettiere, Greg Grunberg, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Masi Oka, Adrian Pasdar, Noah Gray-Cabey, Jack Coleman, James Kyson Lee, Dana Davis, Dania Ramirez, Zachary Quinto, Kristen Bell, David Ander

Now onto the questions, which were asked by CBR's George Tramountanas, Dave Richards and Jonah Weiland, as well as you!

Image from "Out of Time"

That Guy Jason starts us off this week with a lengthy question about the classification of powers. "Finally, we're given a large chunk of info we can delve into! Maury Parkman's abilities began with mind-reading, correct? However, over time he was able to trap people in illusions, a key ability we've seen elsewhere, specifically in Candice. Now that we know that heroes can have more than one ability based on their evolution, and since you've let us know that people get the abilities they need when they need them, is it possible that all people with abilities can be divided into a few core groups, with all members of one core group having the potential to have all the abilities of that group? For instance, Maury, Matt, and Candice all share powers that exclusively deal with the mind's perception of things. Is it possible that given time and need, Candice could read thoughts, or that Matt could create illusions on Candice's level? What implications does this have for the other heroes?"

You're right on about Matt, Maury and Candice. They all have various forms of telepathy or mental manipulations - some people include telekinesis in this as well. So, in theory - yes they could all develop the same powers if they concentrated and worked at it. We've always said we're just seeing the beginning of these abilities - all of them can grow and change and get more and more powerful.

Greg R wants to know about a character he's read about online, but hasn't seen in action yet. "Who is Julien Ruiz? On Suresh's Activating Evolution site under Gene Pool, it mentions a Julien Ruiz in Venezuela who's an Empath like Petera. Does he have any connection to the Maya and Alejandro storyline?"

Interesting, although Maya and Alejandro come from the Dominican Republic. You will learn more about their origin in Episode 8.

Kath is one eagle-eyed viewer. "Is there any significance to the necklace that Nathan wears these days? I don't recall seeing that necklace back in season 1."

Sometimes, there are questions that even we don't know the answer to. We will have to look into this one...

Dawn Maker wrote in with three questions the likes of which we've not received before, so she gets take over the mic for a bit. "Why did Peter have a plane ticket in his box if he can fly? Also, Claude said that for Peter to have ultimate control over his powers he had to forget everyone that meant something to him. Peter seems to have greater control of his powers this season so did he willingly let his memory be erased in order to have better control of his powers? And finally, why is Peter the only hero that seems to get the girls? Mohinder, Hiro, and Ando have all tried but failed. Even those with wives (Nathan and Matt) seem to have trouble. Are girls just more drawn to Peter than the others?"

Peter's plane ticket will be answered in Episode 8. Peter doesn't seem to have greater control of his power - it's been sporadic at best - but he does appear to be more powerful than he was last season. Maybe that has something to do with Claude's training - maybe it has something to do with Peter's own control. In either case, Peter's getting the girls because he's so damn attractive. Maybe that's a secret power. Handsomeness.

I think there's some women in your audience who would say that's true! Pauul from the UK (yup, two U's) writes, "Noah Bennet seems to believe the eight paintings which he has an interest in are the last of Isaac's pictures to portray events which have yet to come to pass. Is he right? Or could there be other pictures out there - maybe in a sketch book somewhere? Artists are known to doodle quite a bit."

Artists do doodle. There might be other sketchbooks - or maybe even the early works of Issac Mendez that have yet to be seen. HRG is interested in these pictures because they lead to his own death.

Emily wants to know if one of the heroes was trying to take over her computer. "I was looking at the videos of the history of Takezo Kensei and when I finished watching them something popped up on my computer that said something like,'O need to show you more... follow me. click here.' I didn't click on it because there's so many pop ups these days. Should I have clicked on it?" Did she miss an opportunity to find the answer to all the mysteries of the "Heroes" universe in one fell swoop?

It may have been Hana Gitelman - reaching out to curious fans - trying to give them new information. I'd trust her -- unless she tries to sell you Viagra.

Lauren M from NYC writes, "Is there any chance Claire will ever have a relationship with her grandmother? I know she tried to blow up the world and all, but I suspect she was protecting Claire from something? Will Claire, and us for that matter, ever see/hear the whole story behind what Mr. and Mrs. Petrelli did for Claire? And now from what we know about Kaito and Angela, is there any significance to the fact that he was the one who gave Claire to HRG? The Petrelli's need a 'Company Man-esque' type episode."

Claire's relationship with Angela is only just beginning. There's a lot in store for these two this season. And the secret family history of the Petrelli's will become known.

The Suburban Hobbit is back and guess what? He is actually a she! Take it away, Hobbit lady! "Last season Thompson said that the Haitian, as a child, drew a picture of himself pulling memories out of other people's heads 'like little grub-worms.' (Sure would like to see Tim Sale do that one!) This might seem like a silly question, but: once the Haitian has pulled them out, where does he put them? I mean, I figure it's not 'in a foot-locker at the end of his bed,' but do they stay in his own mind? Are they accessible to him just like his own memories? Do they dissipate altogether, and go to the Great Grub-wormhole in the sky?"

He eats them. Seriously. Eats them.

Paul E. Sylar from Virginia knows you can't tell him how Sylar gets his powers, but still asks, "Last year it was stated in an interview that the second season will reveal finally how Sylar takes abilities from people, is that still on track to happen? Any clues on when it might be revealed?"

It will hopefully be revealed by the end of the year. At this point a lot is out of our control. Zach Quinto's schedule and the strike are playing havoc with our season.

Alex Rangy has a question about a painting. "The sixth painting of the series of eight showed Hiro crossing swords with Kensei. But, hasn't it been said that Isaac could only paint the future? So, based on that, can we assume we'll meet Kensei along with Hiro in present time?" Well, we know you can't assume anything about "Heroes," but that is an interesting observation. Guys?

One way of thinking about it is that Isaac was painting Hiro's future - even though it took place in the past. Did we just blow your mind?

Oh, no, I foresee the always confusing time travel conversations returning to blow our minds! Todd wants to know if H.R.G.'s tag line should be "more than meets the eye." Take it away, Todd! "I've been watching Bennett for a while, wondering if he has an unmentioned power. The guy sure does seem to know languages, especially of the more complex kind. Japanese and Ukranian are nothing to laugh at. Is it possible that Bennett has a power involving linguistics?"

Nope. He's just smart and well educated. That's no power. That's sheer determination, friends.

Arbe asks about the mysterious killer in Season 2. "Looking at an enhancement of the Killer of the Twelve we see that the person is a white male, youngish looking, with no facial hair. Was this the actual Killer or was a stand-in used?"

Actual killer. You'll see it again in Episode 9. Coming soon.

Daniel Park has two great questions this week. Welcome, Daniel! "Joe, Aron, I'm loving the new season. About the great cliffhanger ending in the sixth episode, was the trip to a desolate New York an intended parallel to Hiro's trip(s) last season, particularly his Times Square one? Also, last season was all about trying to change the future. Would you say that this season revolves around the idea of the consequences of changing that future?"

It was absolutely a reference to Hiro's original trip to New York - and yes - there are always repercussions to changing the future. Maybe Linderman and Angela were right - maybe the bomb should have gone off. After all - .07 percent is a better loss than 93 percent. Right?

Riddler Rob of Long Island, NY asks, "Do you think any staff of the 'Heroes' production team (anyone from writers to producers, etc) will make cameo appearance on the show? I think it'd be cool to see a couple of you guys show a power - just try not to get killed by Sylar."

We're very shy - and hideously ugly. Oh, well.

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions this week and especially those we weren't able to use - we try to use as many as we can and if you don't get in one week, try another. Simply send your questions to Jonah Weiland with the subject line "Heroes Question" and we'll consider it for inclusion.Now it's our turn. We're going to start off with some more serious questions. You guys do a lot of filming in the Southern California area. In fact, I believe the high school you film Claire's scenes at is in Santa Clarita. Last week we had some very serious fires in that region - did the SoCal fires affect the production of "Heroes" at all? Are you aware of anyone in the production staff affected by the fires?

Luckily, our "Heroes" family has averted disaster. But the devastation from the fires was tremendous and affected everyone in Southern California in one way or another. If any of you want to be a real hero, click here.

Also, on a more serious note, at the end of the last episode it said, "In Memory of Tim Susco." Could you tell us a little more about who Tim was?

Tim was one of our Location Managers. Those ridiculously beautiful exteriors we see very week? Cool places like future homeland security and Costa Verde High school? He worked his butt off to make the show unlike anything you'd ever seen on television. He sadly passed suddenly during the filming of Episode 6. Our hearts go out to his friends and family.

And you have our deepest sympathies as well. RIP, Tim.

Before we close this week's BTE out, let's talk about the show a bit more. Last week you guys said, "Remind us one day to tell you the original pitch for the character of Nathan." Consider this your nudge - tell us about the original pitch for Nathan?

Not yet. We'll give full disclosure when you least expect it.

Also following up from last week, Rich Drees asked, "My friends and I are wuxia film fans and we dug that Monica was learning some moves from what looked like a classic Shaw Brothers film, though for the life of us we couldn't identify which one. Can you divulge which film it was?"

We need to research this - if there's no strike we'll have an answer soon.

Now, with Peter's trip to the quarantined New York of the future, we're starting to think saving New York from the plague is the ultimate plot thread of this season. Is that the case, or is there something more going on?

There's always something more going on - but all of the threads will start coming together here this week.

We know Mr. Bennet has done "bad" things, but it was interesting (and shocking) to see him kill in cold blood. When he says he wants to take down the company, is his ultimate goal to kill them all?

He wants Claire to be safe. And as long as there is a Company - he can never be certain that Claire will be safe. More on this in tonight's episode.

Ivan said he "trained" Mr. Bennet and Claude. Strange question here, but will we get to meet the person who trained Ivan? Or was Ivan one of the original agents of Primatech?

Ivan isn't one of the 12, but he is of the old guard. Kinda like H.R.G. is to our current batch of heroes.

From Hiro's experiences with the girl in Texas, Charlie, we thought he learned he couldn't actually change things that were meant to be. So could his "kiss that fractured time" truly harm the timestream?

Kensei was supposed to save Japan. It looks like Kensei has joined White Beard's army. That seems like a time fracture to us.

Ahhh, right, that makes sense. It's all in the way you look at it.The evacuation notice seen in the last episode is dated June 14, 2008. Could Isaac's painting of a burning/exploding New York from the first season still come to pass then? And as my prior question (regarding Hiro) mentioned, we've learned that the future can't truly be changed. So then are our Heroes going to be locked into a Moebius loop of sorts where they are continually trying to prevent that explosion? Just a thought...

I think all the events we are seeing are a different future - although is the future destined to end in catastrophe? Seems pretty bleak.

One of the first programming casualties of the writer's strike seems to be the cancellation of "Heroes: Origins." We assume there's always a chance for it to come back, but can you give us an idea what the status is? If the strike were to be settled quickly, does "Origins" still have a chance, or does everything change with a strike? What if the strike were to last weeks, like the one 20+ years ago?

The strike is very serious for all of the writers and creators of the show. It's made us adjust some stories for Heroes and has now led to the cancellation of "Origins." This is a watershed moment for the entire entertainment industry and the writers are falling on the front lines. Please read more about it at www.wga.org and www.unitedhollywood.com. None of us want to strike. We all want to finish this season strong and make amazing episodes of Heroes for all of you. We're hoping we still can.

On a similar note, there are still some remaining "Heroes" episodes yet to be aired and a number of our readers wrote in to ask if you'd still be able to participate in BEHIND THE ECLIPSE. Is that allowed after today?

We're going to check in with the WGA and see if this is allowed in the Strike Rules. To be honest, we're not sure that it is. We'd love to answer more questions about "Heroes" in the coming weeks. These are great episodes coming down the pipe - some of our best ever, we think. So if we can't talk, we're happy that they're speaking for us.

But if we can - we'd also like to keep you updated on the show, the status of negotiations and of our return. If not - just know how much we miss doing so.

Alright, then we'll check in with you for an update next week. Good luck and, as always, thanks guys.

It's our pleasure. Thank you for all of your questions and support.

While we may not know exactly what will happen with BTE next week, we encourage you to still send in your questions and if we can continue running BTE during the strike, we shall. To ask a question of Joe & Aron, e-mail Jonah Weiland with the subject line "Heroes Question" and we'll consider it for inclusion.


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