Hello again and welcome, "Heroes" fans, to this, the latest installment of BEHIND THE ECLIPSE!
For those tuning in for the first time, BEHIND THE ECLIPSE is Comic Book Resources' exclusive weekly question-and-answer session with "Heroes" writers/producers Joe Pokaski and Aron Coliete, wherein we take your questions about the NBC series and get the answers straight from the source.
We hope readers awoke from last week's spirit walk entitled "Villains" to find themselves in a better position than the one our favorite time traveling hero Hiro Nakamura did. Last week's episode shed some light on past events as the story weaved its way in and out of scenes from the premiere episode of the series, "Genesis." Viewers found out who Meredith's hotheaded brother was; Claire turned out to be closer to her family than she knew; Gabriel Gray decided to take his own life, only to be saved by Bob's own electrified little girl, Elle; Noah's unquestioning loyalty to the Company awoke the monster named Sylar; Linderman healed scars Angela didn't know she had, revealing to her the villain her husband truly was; Usutu lost his head; and Arthur Petrelli took a trip to Africa to deal with someone looking into his past.
Don't forget to catch tonight's all-new "Heroes" episode, "It's Coming," but for now, join us as we go BEHIND THE ECLIPSE with Joe Pokaski and Aron Coliete.
CBR: This week we're going to start with the "Heroes" webcomics, as we've received a lot of questions about them over the course of this season. How does the comics process work with respect to writers?
Joe Pokaski & Aron Coliete: We've got an awesome team of writers who have a loose rotation that is influenced by what is going on in the story on screen, and the writers pitch for the most relevant and exciting story. For example, as we came to reintroduce Elle in episode 7, Oliver Grigsby pitched the story of where she's been since episode 302 - spinning out a great two-part story with Claude. Chuck Kim, our Executive Story Editor, works with the team much like a newspaper editor to assign projects and oversee most aspects of production.
With the end of "Volume Three: Villains" coming soon and the build-up to the episode entitled "War," will there be a definitive "Heroes win" or "Villains win" ending to this story, or will it be more ambiguous?
There will be buildings blowing up - that's definitive, right? Like the end of our previous two volumes, we'll put some stories to rest, and maybe even some characters. But we wouldn't want a clear cut ending like "heroes win," that would be boring, wouldn't it?
Character-death is something we've been getting a lot of email about. You've had a lot of great characters appear and get killed off before we truly got to know them. With such a large main cast, adding more permanent members is probably unwieldy but were there any characters, like The German, Usutu and Stephen Canfield, that you wished you could have kept around longer? What is the scene in the Writers Room when someone wants to kill a character off, and does it ever turn into a debate?
This is always a tough one for us, whether or not to kill a character. It all generally reverts back into what we call "The Charlie Argument." While we often hear from fans, executives, or even actors how we shouldn't have killed her off, most of us believe that the reason she was such a successful character is because she didn't overstay her welcome. We miss her because she left us wanting more. The German and Stephen Canfield certainly fall into that category - as for Usutu, we haven't seen the last of him.
Some fans feel events in "Villains" contradicted previous continuity. A viewer by the name of Matt pointed out the following:
"The Sylar-Elle-HRG storyline from 'Villains,' the last scene of that particular arc, where HRG got into the Mohinder-driven cab and it went into the scene from 'Genesis.' According to the timeline you established in 'Six Months Ago,' Mohinder didn't show up until after his father was killed by Sylar, right before he went off on his cross-country collection campaign. At that point, Sylar, according to all indications, was already a mass-murderer and that's why Chandra stopped helping him. Yet the aforementioned scene seemingly takes place the same day Sylar kills Trevor Zeitlan, long after he should have been gone from NY or months before Mohinder arrived in town. And it was pretty clear his guilt was just over Brian Davis."
We can tell you that when we broke the story - that scene between Elle and H.R.G. - was supposed to be at a Sylar-esque crime scene months or weeks after the entire story took place - and they were talking about the monster they've unleashed. Sometimes, things happen from script through production and editorial where ideas become too clever and through-lines aren't tracked. Just so you know - it infuriated us as well.
Vardel pointed out an interesting theory they'd read online; that because it was a vision quest, the events Hiro saw may have merged and appeared out of order. Did someone get a Heroes no-prize?
Vardel, expect your no-prize in the mail. Marvel used to send a blank envelope. To be extra sneaky, we're going to make ours look exactly like your phone bill. Exactly. But to avoid confusion, we're going to take your real phone bill and destroy it.
Enough from us! We move on to our readers and begin with Doc, who asked:
"Will we find out which of the Heroes were born with powers and who's were artificially induced? They cannot all be artificial, as Adam was 400 years old."
Doc is right, they cannot all be artificial. In fact, it's pretty safe to say that most all of the older generation is "natural" as the formula - we will learn a little more about the formula's origins in the upcoming episodes.
Kyle Kopeing asked:
"In a previous BTE interview, it was stated we would see in 'Villains' why Sylar was able to keep his telepathy despite being infected with the Shanti virus. However, we didn't seem to get any explanation last night. The only conclusion I can deduce is that it's all in his head, and somehow related to the extreme amount of guilt he felt over Brian."
Kyle, we assume you mean telekenisis, and not telepathy and if so, you nailed it. Brian was Sylar's first kill and his power is connected to emotional empathy. In fact, we'll be exploring that very sentiment tonight. In chains. With electricity.
"Elle was a bit of a demented sociopath in Vol. 2, but she seemed all sweet and caring and normal when she was working with Noah on monitoring Gabriel. Outside of what happened between her and Sylar what happened to cause such a big shift in personality?"
I think a lot of what you were witnessing was her road to becoming more of a sociopath. She helped turned poor Gabriel into a serial killer. Sent him down that dark, dark path. That's gotta mess with your mind. Right?
Carl Rood comes at you with not one, not two, but three questions this week:
1) "Considering that Peter's trip to the future setup the chain of events to going to (and being ejected from) Pinehearst, has he averted Claire's future employment with them? In other words, if Peter hadn't fallen through the window, Claire would have gone inside with Elle and would have gone to work for Arthur. Was her future averted or delayed?"
Yes. Averted or Delayed.
2) "If the formula that The Company developed gave Nathan, Niki, and Tracy their powers, what does Arthur need Mohinder for? That formula works, so how is Mohinder supposed to 'bring it further?' Does it only work on children? Does it only work on the offspring of people with powers? Nathan and Tracy haven't used their powers much, are there side effects that come with extended use of the powers?"
Oh, the topical questions abound. We'll learn a little more about this tonight. The formula, together, is only part of the solution, what they will need is a "Catalyst" of sorts, what we at NBC call "That third kind of heat" to make it work.
3)"Will Claire find out that her dad helped push Sylar towards becoming a serial killer? Will that push her away from Primatech and towards Pinehearst?"
You know, she probably won't find out any time soon. If there's a guy who's really good at keeping secrets, it's H.R.G. (the "R" is for "really good at keeping secrets"). Keep in mind, Sylar doesn't know that it was H.R.G. - only that Elle was involved. So that - should prove really interesting...
Reader IsaÃ¯es from Spain asked:
"Is Sylar's power the only one to come with side effects like the Hunger?"
No. I think most all of these powers have side effects, although the hunger may be the most overt. Peter almost overloaded when he tried to get a grip on his powers while training with Claude. Jessica emerged as a side-effect of Niki's super-strength and emotional weakness. Isaac believed he needed Heroin to see the future. And Mr. Muggles, well that's a tale for another time...
Sasha wants to know about extended families:
"Will we ever find out if Adam has any descendents out there?"
Yes. But not this season.
Anthony Roy wanted to know:
"After 'Villains,' we still haven't found out where Sylar got cryokinesis from. The Graphic Novel 'Dreams Until Death' confirmed that Sylar cannot acquire powers if the person is dead, even if the brain is intact. Given the emphasis on James Walker (written in Sylar's list), does that mean that Sylar stole cryokinesis from him and then froze his body (testing his new ability)?"
Yes. That is exactly what we always thought. Killed. Absorbed. Tested. In that order, all in that Craftsman.
Rob Salisbury asked:
"'Villains' was a great episode! I love the 'tell-all' episodes that answer a bunch of the questions viewers have. Why is Arthur so scared of anyone that can dream about him or see into the future? Is this the key to stopping him?"
Exactly. It's the only real wild card. The bet laid plans of mice an men, no matter how well conceived, are vulnerable to the dreams and visions of any mouse or man who can see the future.
"If Arthur dies, what happens to all the powers he has absorbed? Do they die with him, or are they returned to the original owners?"
They die with him, we think. He's not the arc of the covenant (although it would be pretty cool if he were). You really want Peter to get his powers back, dontcha? Well, it's not gonna be that easy.
"Why would an astrological phenomenon like an eclipse affect our heroes' powers? I always saw the eclipse as more symbolic."
First off, with a name like that, you think you'd be a little more spiritual. But there is the fun of the eclipse, is it symbolic, is it God, or is the moon's position to the earth and the sun affecting our physiology in the same way the moon causes the tides? In fact, two new characters, Sam and Frack have an argument exactly about that in episode 11, "The Eclipse, Part II." So stay tuned.
"Was Linderman being genuinely altruistic when he helped Angela, or was it just a power play?"
You never know with Linderman, do you? Even at his most altruistic he always has a method. And Angela was helping Linderman in his plot to destroy NYC... So....
Dan wants more dead people:
"With Maury dead, will we ever get to see Linderman again? I've really enjoyed having his character back, even if it's just an apparition of him (I also enjoyed the real Linderman's role in the flashback episode 'Villains')."
You never know with Linderman, do you?
"And is it possible that Arthur and Maury just faked Maury's death, like Matt faked his and Daphne's death to Knox? Since they couldn't get Daphne to make Matt come, maybe they thought they could get him to come if he thought his father had been killed."
You never know with Linderman, do you?
"I was already annoyed with HRG for making Sylar feel he's 'just a killer,' especially considering HRG's own moral ambiguity. But this last episode made it even worse. Considering HRG pretty much created a monster with Sylar, does he feel guilty over it? Is he projecting his own guilt over what he's done, trying to make himself feel better by putting down Sylar?"
I'm sure that's exactly what he's doing. If he tells himself Sylar is a monster no matter how you cut it, then he can't be blamed for cutting it the wrong way.
"I may be reading too much in this, but HRG said something very interesting concerning Sylar's powers. He said, 'The ability to transfer abilities from one vessel to another is very rare.' HRG didn't just say that Sylar could transfer, or take, abilities for himself. He clearly said transfer them from one vessel to another, which implies that Sylar can transfer powers to other people. I figure either the Company knows more about Sylar's power than we have been told or they know so little about it that HRG was misinformed. So my question is, am I right? Can Sylar in fact transfer powers to other people?"
No, but he's going to do something tonight a little different. So basically..."what are you doing tonight?"
"Are we ever going to learn where Arthur Petrelli's powers came from? In the 'War Buddies' graphic novels, it was pretty clear he was powerless - it felt very much like the 'one of us, one of them' idea started with he and Linderman teaming up during and after the war. Were Arthur's powers derived artificially as well? And what was he doing during 'Genesis' and 'Generations?'"
We'll very much learn all about that in Michael Green's episode "1977," which will shoot right after the writer's strike. What? Really? Oh. Then. Crap.
Patrick Judge (aka flyboynathan - or so he says!) asked:
"I know the Volume 2 graphic novel hasn't even come out yet, but are there plans for releasing a third graphic novel collection some time soon? Also, when is the release date for the Volume 2 hardcover graphic novel collection? Amazon says November 25th while the DC page says November 18th."
We think it's the 25th. But we will double check (that's two literary answers we own you).
Cyrus wanted to know:
"Was Elle's character written to be a foil for Claire's? And are we going to find out about Elle's mother?"
When we started flushing out the character of Elle, Tim Kring got that look in his eyes when he explored the idea of Elle being "a cautionary tale for Claire." If H.R.G. did not shelter Claire from the company, she could have ended up just like Elle.
As for Elles' mom, it's a story still to be told, for sure. We're not sure when.
"Could Linderman's power heal stolen abilities (in addition to healing memories)?"
No. But memories, yes, like you said. Keep an eye out for exactly that sort of action in episode 12 "Our Father."
Laurel is fascinated by the Petrellis:
"I loved Cristine and Malcolm together and I know we'd all like to see how the bomb plan developed with the two of them and then Isaac's paintings. We know the plan was in place for a while, but it looks like before Isaac they didn't factor in Nathan as the President, did they? And Angela saw Peter as one day becoming a great man - does that mean as I suspected she didn't know Peter was the bomb until it was too late?"
Courtney wanted to know:
"While watching 'Heroes' this week with my friends we had a question: Why didn't Arthur just force Nathan to back off of prosecuting Linderman? Instead he used that power to force Angela into accepting his attempts to kill Nathan...any particular reason for him feeling that killing Nathan was the better way to solve this dilemma?"
Yes. It was actually in a line that was cut. By killing Nathan - they'd send a very clear message to everyone in the DA's office not to pursue the Linderman case. This has been very effective in real life mob and gang cases. Arthur is very shrewd and he wanted Linderman to be feared. As the old saying goes -- you don't get fear through telepathy.
Kyle Johnson asked:
"There are multiple people from the List that have never shown up (i.e. Pam Green, Amid Halebi, Curtis Hovsepian, Michelle Valcek). Do you have plans for them to either appear on the show or in the graphic novels? Linda Tavara was on the List, and her graphic novel stories were phenomenal."
Absolutely. The Graphic novels are a place where we tend to knock a few of those off every month or two. But if you want to see Amid, check out the Tim Kring version of the pilot on the Season 1 DVD. He was Ted Sprague before Ted Sprague was.
Our Brit friend Matt Dawkins asked:
"The puppeteer motions that Eric Doyle was making with his hands have really caught on at my place of work; specifically the 'shut your mouth' motion. A bunch of us are wondering whether we're going to see this particularly creepy villain again any time soon. He's definitely popular in the UK."
Lift. We kind of fell in love with Doyle as well. Bobby. So you'll see him in episode 13 -- "War," written by Jeph Loeb. Stonehenge. And he'll most definitely have at least one appearance in the next volume: "Fugitives." Spike, from Buffy.
Samuel M. Wright had some interesting thoughts:
"Animal testing is a standard procedure in biological science. Did Suresh do any experiments with trying to detect or awaken powers in animals, and if so, what were the results? I can definitely see a mutated animal being potentially very dangerous. The fruit fly is a standard test subject in genetic research, but I don't think we would want an escaped swarm of them flying through the San Gabriel Valley orchards electrocuting farm workers. Or, even worse, imagine a lab rat that can use power theft? Ooh! Vorpal bunnies! Eeek!"
Yes. Because working with regular animals is always an efficient thing to do when shooting television.
Dan Kempner finishes off this week with the question everyone wants to know the answer to:
"What is Mr. Muggles' show-business name?"
His real name, which I think you are looking for is "Lestat."
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, "It's Coming," 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 20.