"We feel kind of bad when we come here because we just start the season when we're down here, so we don't really have the arc for the year," "Chuck" actress Sarah Lancaster told reporters following the Comic-Con International panel in which it was revealed that "Terminator 2" co-star Linda Hamilton will join the show as Chuck's mom.
The announcement has ramifications for Lancaster's character Ellie as well; she's Chuck's sister. "I don't know if it's happy to have mom back or mom is evil and scary," she said.
Producer and co-creator Josh Schwartz expounded on the character's place in the season storyline. "For Ellie, she has mom issues as well -- just as deep and just as interesting [as Chuck's]," he said. "She can obsess over mom, too. In some ways, we have a parallel quest. Especially if she's having a child; trying to figure out who her parents are."
"If you look at this season for kind of a theme, in some ways, it's about who your parents were and how they effect who you are today," Schwartz added. "I think Ellie is definitely thinking about that."
According to Lancaster, the baby also will offer some added emotional weight for Chuck. "The baby sets the stakes higher," she said. "He feels like he has to make everything safe and that sort of pushes him along his search for his mom."
She said she's unsure how her character and Captain Awesome, played by Ryan McPartlin, will adapt to their offspring. "I hoping that Ellie is horrible at it and Awesome is awesome at child-rearing and I just can't stand him for it," she suggested.
"Don't worry, babe, I'll get you through it," McPartlin interjected.
He calls Hamilton's casting "surreal." "We don't know if we'll come back from year to year, so we're just so worried about getting back on the air, that when we finally do get back on the air, to hear Linda Hamilton is going to be part of the cast, [it's great]," he said. "For me, growing up, if someone said you are going to be on a show with Scott Bakula, Chevy Chase ..."
"Sarah Lancaster," the actress interrupted.
"Of course, and you're married to Sara Lancaster. ... It's just a dream come true," he continued. "Believe, kids. It's just surreal."
Zachary Levi said he was amazed to learn who will play Chuck's mother. "It's always great when you can have a guest star that's not just incredible and cool and gorgeous and talented, but also fits in the world of nerddom," he said. "Our fans deserve it; they deserve to have those little nuggets and Easter eggs."
Hamilton was a casting choice Schwartz and co-creator Chris Fedak long considered, but only recently finalized. "She'd actually heard from the message boards and conventions that she goes to that they all wanted her to be Chuck's mom," Schwartz recalled "So, when we met with her, she was like, 'So, I'm Chuck's mom? This is what I hear.' And Chris and I were like, 'If you want to be, that would be cool.' We're just excited that Chuck's parents are Sam from 'Quantum Leap' and Sarah Conner."
"Much like Scott Bakula, she brings her own mythology to the show, which is really neat," Fedak added. "We just love the idea that she would be somebody that, in theory, Morgan and Chuck would've watched growing up; either in 'Terminator' or, for Morgan, 'Beauty & the Beast'."
Morgan, played by Joshua Gomez, will be spending more time helping Chuck in his search -- although, Levi explained, "'Helping' is a strong word. He'll be along for the ride; aiding and abetting."
Gomez is looking forward to shooting more scenes with his co-star. "It's going to be a lot of fun. Zack and I get to do a lot more scenes now and have a lot more fun," he said. The actor then offered in a sarcastic tone, "From what I here, he's over the moon about having me around more."
"I'm totally excited," countered Levi. "From day one, when we got our jobs, and we found out we get to play best friends and then we really became the best of friends. We're huge gamers and we love this world. The first season, we had a lot of great stuff to do together, but then the lies, the lies," he recalled, referring to Chuck's life in the espionage game. "Now that the lies have been squashed and we get to be the dynamic duo again ... there's a lot less video game playing, but we get to go on this quest for mom together and it's awesome."
Also returning this year is the Buy More store, despite the Burbank location being blown up in the season three finale. "We're bringing it back," Fedak revealed. "However, this year it's owned and operated by the Central Intelligence Agency and they're very good at operating the store. So they've now stocked the store with their excellent spies, using it as this cover because of the success of Operation Bartowski.
A new Buy More character named Greta will appear throughout the season in the form of a number guest stars, including Isaiah Mustafa, the "Old Spice Guy." Asked why they offered him a part, Fedak responded, "Have you ever seen the guy? We went after him."
"He doesn't go to people, people go to him," Schwartz added. "He's on a horse!"
Fedak quipped, "I like that the Old Spice Guy is going to be the biggest piece of news we have coming out of Comic-Con. That guy is a superstar."
"Chuck" returns for its fourth season on Sept. 20.