At Comic-Con International on Saturday, fans converged on the cavernous Hall H for this year's edition of the "Heroes" panel. In attendance were moderator and producer Jeph Loeb, creator Tim Kring, artist Tim Sale and cast members Jack Coleman, Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter, James Kyson Lee, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere, Adrian Pasdar, Zachary Quinto, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Dania Ramiriez, Cristine Rose and Milo Ventimiglia.
Fans began lining up for the panel two or more hours prior to the opening of the Hall H doors and were enthusiastic in greeting the "Heroes" crew. Some fans, in fact, carried signs proclaiming "Milo, we camped out all night for you!"
Loeb began by thanking the fans for their enthusiastic response to the show going back to the first year in making the show a success by talking about the show and letting people know "this is the show we want you to watch." He promised that what was about to come would make fans want to talk about it and that it was "Off. The. Hook."
Kring arrives with a metallic briefcase strapped to his wrist. Of the case, Kring said "It's a big giant thank you from us to all of you. We've been off the air for nine months and we returning September 22. In my slightly clammy hands, is the premiere episode of Volume 3: Villains. Written by yours truly, directed by Allan Arkush. You're sworn to secrecy, unless you like what you see, then it's the opposite, we want you to talk about it and tell everybody that the show is terrific and that it's back and better than ever.
Without revealing too much from the season premiere, which doesn't air for two months, many questions are answered and all the fan favorite characters are seen in the course of the episode.
Titled "The Second Coming," It opens with the caption "Four Years From Now," and features a showdown with the familiar, scarred future version of Peter Petrelli as he finds himself on the wrong end of a gun held by a version of cheerleader Claire, clad in tight black leather, wearing a healthy amount of black eye shadow and with her darker hair pulled tightly back.
The sequence immediately following reveals who shot Nathan Petrelli at the end of the previous season's finale definitively, and the answer was met with surprise and approval by the excited crowd.
Following the screening, Loeb, Kring, Sale and the cast returned and launched directly into a question and answer session.
The first question came form a young lady named Vanessa who explained that she has been seeing impaired for most of her life, having the squint constantly and never having really gotten a good look at the actor. She made a simple request, "I really just want to see you."
Ventimiglia replied simply, "Okay," and rushed down off the stage to the smiling young fan.
The next question came to the whole cast and that was to describe the upcoming season in one word or compound word. The cast complied as follows.
Ventimiglia: "Melt your head."
Oka's response was in Japanese, but elicited uproarious laughter from the packed hall.
Pasdar: "Greg in a thong."
Ramamurthy: "Deeply dark."
Rose: In my day, we'd say 'far out and groovy, baby.'"
Sale: "I'm just grateful."
Kring closed the round by answering with a word that had a special resonance in the episode screened, "Adrenaline."
With time running out, mostly taken up by a late start and the screening of the season premiere, Loeb instituted "lightning round" rules for questions.
The first lightning question was concerning the title of the season, and whether it had originally been something else, perhaps changed by the interruption of the second season by the writer's strike. "It was always called 'Villains,'" replied Loeb.
The next con-goer to the mic said that he had camped out overnight with a friend to secure entry, but had never seen an episode of the show until the day's screening. While met with howls of derision from the crowd, Loeb seized upon the opportunity and called for the crowd to "covert him."
The following question was "If you could switch powers with anyone, who would it be?" The questioner disallowed taking Peter Petrelli's power to absorb other powers. With that caveat, Ventimiglia, who portrays Peter, said he'd take Sylar's power, which is also the acquisition of powers.
Coleman responded that he'd take "anybody's power," as his character is powerless.
Panetierre said she wanted "Nikki's power in the first season," referring to her super strength and fighting prowess. "I'm tired of being beaten up."
"Sylar, you're awesome. You're the greatest hero in the series," was yelled enthusiastically by a young boy, who was next to the microphone.
Kring closed by thanking for the fans return to the show after so many months off the air. "We felt it was so important to show this episode to you guys today to let you know we're back in a really big way.
Now discuss this story in CBR's TV/Film forum.