CCI - Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

After a short nine episode season last year, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" is back, complete with some new co-stars presented for the first time last Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, as was some news for the plot of the upcoming season.

First up in the presentation was a video series on Season Two, noteworthy for a focus on The Turk technology, additional travelers from the future, and the audience's first look at new cast member Shirley Manson's character, Catherine Weaver, the CEO of Cyberdyne.

Manson, who is best known as the lead singer of the band Garbage, said her first reaction on hearing the casting news was "I said I can't get myself off the toilet because I was [crapping] my pants. It's been a long time since I did anything that made me scared, and this sort of made me scared. I feel like I've got a new band, and they are younger and better looking!"

As for how the other actors are adjusting to their roles, Executive Producer Josh Friedman asked Summer Glau how she goes about playing a robot. "A lot of this role is very walking with a purpose... you can't just go off of instinct. I had to strip a lot of things away, and we went to Terminator camp and learned how to move more like a Terminator, and I've taken that further and further."

Garret Dillahunt quickly responded, "I didn't get that class!" Instead, he turns to how he feels about his car for guidance on playing a machine. "I feel my car has a personality, I feel like my '85 Camry has a personality, it never lets me down. But you know, little glitches. My character has been through a lot, you know time travel and some damage. I feel like I have some room for some little quirks that I have."

Sarah Conner doesn't play a machine, but instead an overworked mother and tough fugitive from justice. So what would her character do if she had a day off? "I think Sarah would use one of her many aliases, and maybe buy some valium, and track down Agent Elison, and maybe have... you know.... a good time!" joked Lena Headley.

Richard T. Jones, who plays Agent Ellison, laughed at that. Keeping the tone light, Friedman looked to him and said "You made the decision to play your character black."

Jones, with a big grin, said, "Yeah, I made the decision to play it black. I first thought about playing it white. I called up my friend Robert Downey, Jr. to ask him about it... and made that decision!"

On a roll, Friedman turned to Brian Austin Green and said, "Dude, when did you get so hot?" Green gave him a cool stare and said "Well you and I had that instant connection. We don't usually talk about that in front of so many people!" laughed Green.

Turning to more serious topics, Friedman asked Thomas Dekker about the transformation of his character from Season One to Seaon Two. "I had some slight frustration with the fact that he [John Connor] was kind of weak, and hiding behind his hair. I wanted to kind of bring out everything that's going to lead to this savior of the world. It was good to set up his intelligence and maturity first. There are actual reasons, very, very clear reasons, and I just think he's very angry but not in immature kid way... he's not very nice [now]."

Speaking of how this season will portray Sarah, producer James Middleton said, "So we just expanded the universe, and I think one of the cool thing that's happening this season is they just sort of bump up and rub shoulders with the real world. It just puts a mirror up to the life she [Sarah] sacrificed during the Schwarzenegger era."

Friedman then dropped a bombshell, on the cast and audience alike, saying, "Cool things that are going to happen in Sarah Chronicles Season 2," and then whispered, "Can I talk about this?" After a pause, he said "I've been wanting to say something like this for a long time. One of the people sitting before you, and it's not James, is going to die this season."

This immediately got a lot of responses from the cast over each other, said in a mostly light tone. "I just bought a house!" "I promise to show up on time!" "I'll learn my lines!" "Wait, I just got here!"

Friedman nodded at that, saying "They don't know who."

An audience member asked, "Is agent Ellison going to find out about the Terminators and then get killed off?" to which Friedman responded "One never knows." Later, Jones, talking about the role of religion in his life and how happy he is to be working with a staff that accepts that about him, said, "It's the job of a lifetime for me, so you better not kill me!"

Staying on the darker aspects of next season, Friedman explained "The reason for the series in a lot of way is to get to know Sarah Conner and Jon Conner in a way that you couldn't in the movies. We will see this season that this band is starting to crumble. We're going to see a lot more what that stress does to a woman and a mom. The family is starting to fall apart while Skynet is starting to come together."

As for any conflicts between the series and future Terminator movies, Friedman said, "You know, we talked about it and I feel like it's not a big deal. The audience is mature enough to understand it's two different interpretations of the same story. We wanted to create a new mythology for Sarah - we created an entirely different time line, but do this with a device that's in the mythology."

Fridman said about the upcoming DVD release, "The release date is August 18, in Standard and Blu-Ray, on Amazon and elsewhere. [It] includes auditions, rehearsals, a special edition of the Demon Hands, which is one of our favorite episodes, commentaries, and a blooper reel." In addition, he said, "We're talking about doing some online content, where some of our actors can direct."

Friedman was very thankful to the audience for the return of their show for a second season after the shorter first season, saying, "The season was a short season last year, it was nine episodes, but I feel like it was a good start. I really just want to thank you guys, because without you guys, we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be back, so thank you."

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