Welcome, "Heroes" fans, to week eight of BEHIND THE ECLIPSE, Comic Book Resources' exclusive question-and-answer session with "Heroes'" own writers/producers Joe Pokaski and Aron Coliete, where we get the answers to the most important questions - those asked by you!
Battle lines were drawn and the heroes and villains took sides in last weeks episode, "It's Coming,' written by series creator Tim Kring. Ando taught Hiro how to use his powers and found direction in the latest issue of "9th Wonders." Tracy chose her allegiance as she promised Arthur Petrelli that she would bring Nathan over to his side when the time is right. Sylar discovered he doesn't need to kill to be able to use another's abilities, during an electrifying encounter with Elle. Knox and Flint chased Claire and Peter into the sewers, only to find out Peter doesn't need his powers to use Knox's fire against him. Matt tried to break Angela free of Arthur's control, only to be saved by Daphne's love for him. And Arthur's own love for Angela released her.
As we prepare for the eclipse to start in tonight's episode, "The Eclipse, Part 1" we now go BEHIND THE ECLIPSE with Joe Pokaski and Aron Coliete.
CBR: You mentioned last week that you had "The Charlie Argument" when it comes to killing off characters. Do you have a similar test for doing something drastic to a character, like depowering Peter or reverting Hiro to a ten-year-old?
Joe Pokaski & Aron Coliete: Yes. We call that litmus test the 150-hour test. We debate these character changes for 150 hours and if we still like the idea after 150 hours, that means that we think the story has legs and we can do something with it. If the idea dies or gets shot down - it was never meant to survive. Lots and lots of ideas die.
In "The Eclipse, Part I" we get two guest stars in the form of Seth Green and Breckin Meyer of "Robot Chicken" fame. Are you guys fans of "Robot Chicken" and what was the genesis of Green and Meyer's involvement with "Heroes?"
First of all, we're huge fans of "Robot Chicken." Did you guys check out the second "Robot Chicken: Star Wars" special? It's friggin genius. Seth Green and our good friend Jeph Loeb are good friends. Loeb's been looking for a chance to get Seth Green on the show and this role seemed perfect for him. It was a real great fit. And Seth and Breckin were both a joy to have on the set and they crushed these roles. So much fun.
As it's already stated that webisode character Echo will be appearing in "Heroes," can fans look forward to seeing Santiago stop by in the near future as well?
No plans yet for Santiago. But you never know.
As comics fans we always wonder "Who would win in a fight, Hulk vs Thor?" or "Who's smarter, Bruce Banner, Tony Stark or Reed Richards?" So, keeping that grandest of grand comics fan traditions alive, we feel it's our duty to ask -- in a race who is faster, Daphne or Santiago?
Daphne. Hands down. Santiago's powers are about seeing the various possibilities, speed is just a by product of that power. Whereas, Daphne is just fast. Super duper fast. That being said, he might be able to put something in her path to trip her up. And... with this upcoming eclipse - you never know what's going to happen across the board.
John Doe starts off the fan questions this week:
"Does the back-story of The Company, particularly the tone of Hamilton and Bennett, set the tone for the coming 'Fugitive' arc? 'You're either an agent or you're not.'"
H.R.G. is going to have a very interesting (and pretty crucial) role to play in "Fugitives." It's not about being an agent anymore. Everything is turned on its head. Everything.
Our longtime friend Karen Miller makes a case for Peter:
"Not all of us are eager to see Peter regain his powers -- I for one am loving depowered Peter. We're getting character development and avoiding plot holes! I know you guys will want to keep this under wraps, but can you at least tell us if Peter's still without powers in the episodes you're writing now?"
You know we can't tell you that. But we can tell you that Peter's not getting his powers back tonight or even next week. He's got to learn if he can be a hero without the abilities that he's relied on for so long. Glad you're liking the story, Karen.
"I think Tracy is a very good character because I love how she is good sometimes, but then she can be really bad, too, so you're never sure what side she's on. Are planning on introducing Barbara at all this season, as she is a triplet along with Niki and Tracy? Do the writers have any plans to include her possibly in the end of Volume Three or the Volume Four storyline? Also do you have any idea of what sort of ability she might have?"
No plans for Barbara yet. But she is out there somewhere in the world.
Brian Lewis wanted to know:
"We know that Angela is Sylar's mother, but what about Matt's mother? Will we ever find out anything about her?"
We will learn about Matt's mother. But not this season.
Popkorn615 made an interested observation:
"The theme of 'It's Coming' was crystal clear: emotion,, empathy, love -- as evidenced by many scenes in the episode. Sylar and Elle, Matt and Daphne, Arthur freeing Angela, etc. Back in Season 1, Charles Deveaux said, 'All that matters is love.' Will love play a role in the ending of 'Villains?'"
Love will play a major role throughout the series and in all sorts of relationships - not just romantic - but between brothers and parents and children. It's the type of story we like telling best.
Chris from down undah wrote in with:
"In 'It's Coming' we saw Sylar absorb an ability the same way Peter did, 'empathically.' Does this mean that Arthur, Sylar and Peter all in fact have the same ability, just access it differently? And would this mean that Sylar could learn to remove abilities like Arthur does?"
Hmmmm. It certainly would seem to follow that logic... wouldn't it?
St. Sword wrote in with two questions:
1) "What was Trevor's ability, exactly? Could he shatter objects, the only thing we ever saw him do with his power, or did he essentially fire telekinetic bullets?"
That's a really good question, St. Sword. A really good one. And our only answer makes us a bit sad. Every once in a while, we hand in an episode with reminders such as "make sure it's a power that Sylar clearly has when we first meet him" but in the heat and excitement of production, it becomes making glasses explode by pointing your finger. We can't be everywhere at all times, sadly. So the power as we know, is "pointing your finger and making glasses explode." At least we understand why Sylar hasn't used it much.
2) "Usutu seemed to be a much more effective precog than Isaac, and Isaac was able to predict his own death. Did Usutu allow himself to die as part of a plan to defeat Arthur?"
I think it would be better plan if he were alive. But, those precogs can't seem to avoid their own deaths. It's a terrible power. The question that you really need to be asking is why Usutu keeps on appearing to Matt. Is it part of Usutu's power or Matt's?
Louis Magallanes asked:
"I just read this week's new 'Heroes' online graphic novel. It involves Noah and Merideth partnering up to take down 'metal man' again. At the end of the issue, Merideth and Noah's partnership pretty much ends. Why start the partnership in the show, and end it in the graphic novel? I was actually looking forward to seeing Merideth as an agent, and possibly taking down her brother over trying to kidnap Claire or something. What does this mean for Merideth on the show? Will we still see her again?"
You will see her again - but H.R.G. is going to have his hands filled once he discovers that Claire is the catalyst that Arthur is looking for. Protecting Claire is going to be more important than hunting down people with metallic arms (which we think is the name of the apartment complex in "Futurama").
(It's The Robot Arms!)
Our next question comes from a fan with one of the greatest names we've seen thus far -- Isaies Taboas Ingla:
"Is the Haitian the Catalyst for the formula?. He can switch off any ability around, so it would be reasonable to think he also switch them on."
It would. Very reasonable, indeed. But Claire is on to something when she says that she is the catalyst. We'll learn how that happened in episode 12 "our Father". The Haitian is going to have a very different part to play in the finale of Villains. More tonight on that.
Astro wanted to know:
"In 'It's Coming,' was Sylar using his ability to 'understand how things work' through empathy? How is this different than Peter's ability?"
It's not. Interesting. No?
Jason Williams wants more comics - on the show, that is:
"First of all, thank you for referencing Isaac and his series. When I saw them pull out that comic, I nearly I nearly jumped for joy. Apparently Isaac has seen very far ahead into the future with his '9th Wonders' comics, hasn't he? How is that comic still in publication when he is dead? And how much longer will it stay in print? I, myself, hope that we will be receiving the painter's predictions for a long time."
You'll be seeing more of Isaac's '9th Wonder" comic books over the next two episodes. Comic writers and artists finish their work months and months ahead of publishing (or at least that's the idea - sometimes we run a little late - sorry.) So, what we're seeing is the posthumous works of Isaac Mendez. Our friend Seth Green is going to discuss that next week in Episode 11, "The Eclipse - Part II."
"It seemed like Arthur was going to do something quite nasty to Hiro, but got distracted by the picture on the rocks. Was it Arthur's intent to turn Hiro into a 10-year-old? If so, why do that instead of killing him or removing his powers?"
It was not Arthur's intent to turn Hiro into a 10-year-old. Arthur was in the process of using the Haitian's ability to mind-wipe all the things Hiro learned from his spirit walk in the "Villains" episode. But yes, he got distracted by that eclipse. Who knows what else he might have done Hiro and Ando didn't get out when they did.
Nonredhead's gone all Scoody Doo on you guys and doing some sleuthing:
"I 'm really loving the hints you are putting out there toward the genetics of powers. It seems that through two factors, nature and nurture, a certain core power is passed down and then how it manifests is based on environment and personality. With Nathan it would seem as a Synthetic, he only has personality and environment making him manifest as his marker wasn't passed down genetically. So, Matt has his father's power, but it's also likely he could have manifested just one of those kind of powers like Candice, Eden or the Haitian. How am I doing?"
You're doing pretty well. It also seems like Matt's power is evolving in ways that his father never did. Like seeing Usutu. What's that about?
"So, this being said (if I'm right), my question is are you showing us that the core power marker is passed down on the male side? As so far we have Matt/ Maury Peter/Sylar/Arthur. Is it just a consequence that none of them have a power similar to Angela's? Or is it just more the luck of the draw? Am I making any sense? And is there any chance all of this will be clarified on the show?"
It's certainly an interesting theory. But to be one hundred percent honest, the most important factor in powers is character. Who they are often drives what they can do.
Carl Rood asked:
"Is Claire the only person with the catalyst? After all, the formula was used on Nathan, Tracy, and Niki years before Claire's birth. Since it has to be stored in someone's blood, doesn't that imply that someone else has or had the catalyst?"
Yes. Yes it does. Who was that person? The answer is in Episode 12 - titled "Our Father," written by the indomitable team of Adam Armus and Kay Foster.
"Will the abilities Sylar acquires through empathy behave differently than the ones he gains through his comprehension ability? It seems like Sylar and Peter are mirroring each other in this volume: first, Peter gains Sylar's ability, and now Sylar has gained Peters. Is there some kind of dichotomy you are trying to make with this?"
Absolutely. Our hero and our villain aren't that different.
"Will we ever get to actually see the stories you guys had intended for Season 2, like the '1977' episode you guys keep mentioning?"
Not this season. But, there is a chance that we will see it after the "Fugitives" arc. In the Meantime, please direct all letters to Michael Green, c/o "Kings."
SeÃ±or Frijole: asked:
"Per the preview for 'The Eclipse Part 1,' the company has been around for 40-something years. In that time, there have been a number of eclipses. If the eclipse is a kind of on/off switch, did the other eclipses have the same or similar effect? If so, what did The Company do in the meantime? If not, what's so special about the last two eclipses?"
The eclipse, as we understand it, always does something of note to our heroes, but the wild card is what that something is. And we know you won't believe it, but there was a talk to have an eclipse in the 1977 episode.
One 'Rosian asked:
"Who painted the murals of the Earth where it looks like they split in two in the alleyway, and which 'Heroes' character painted the one at the dock where Mo gave himself the injection? Or did Usutu do some traveling before we first see him in Africa?"
Very, very good question. Is there someone else out there painting the future? Is it someone we've already met? Did Isaac paint it before his death? The answers are coming.
Volts wanted to know:
"In chapter 2 of the "Heroes" iStory, we learned that the man with red glowing eyes is a new character named Ricardo Silva with the ability of primal rage. Who played him in the video in chapter 1? Also, which writers and artists are working on te iStory?"
We're not sure on the actor, or the artists, but Emmy Award-winning Joe Tolerico has been shparding the iStory, if we are correct, along with some input from our own Harrison Wilcox, who invented "the Kill Squad."
Matt is asking about names:
"Is Sylar still Sylar? Should we start calling him Gabriel or is it like when we found out HRG was Noah and still call him HRG anyway?"
Gabriel was a humble watchmaker. Sylar is the serial killer. Maybe this new version of Sylar should have an entirely different name. Or maybe not. Maybe Sylar and Gabriel are still lurking somewhere in his personality....
Before we get to our final question, we want to bring back something we did all last season, but haven't done once this season - an preview of tonight's episode. What should we know about "The Eclipse, Part 1" prior to its airing tonight?
It's awesome. It's written by Joe Pokaski and Aron Eli Coleite. Those guys rock. It's our first "two-part" episode (although arguably it's parts 44 and 45 of our ongoing continuing story) and directed by "Heroes'" own Greg Beeman. Our heroes are going to have to go through challenges that they've never, ever had to face.
And finally, Thomas Curran closes us out with a question about our favorite little furry hero:
"Now that the eclipse is coming and many of the heroes will lose their powers, is it time for Mr. Muggles to make his move toward world domination?"
Have you ever seen Arthur in a scene with Mr. Muggles? Just saying. Why don't we see those two together?
Thanks as always to Aron Coleite and Joe Pokaski for taking the time to participate in BEHIND THE ECLIPSE. For those of you who want to take part in our next Q&A following tonight's episode, "The Eclipse, Part 1," email your burning queries to firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance at seeing your question answered right here in next weeks BEHIND THE ECLIPSE. Please make sure to get in all your questions in by 6:00 PM Pacific time on Thursday, November 27.