Any discussion about HBO’s True Blood panel at Comic-Con International should begin with the insane line that some fans endured for more than eight hours on Friday just to get a peek at what moderator Tim Stack proclaimed as “the most attractive cast on television.”
Hours outside in the hot San Diego sun didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the show’s devotees, who screamed and catcalled tirelessly as Stack, a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly, kicked off the panel with a clip reel (below) teasing what’s in store this season for the residents of Bon Temps. A few tantalizing moments involving Sookie and Eric were shown before the footage ended with an ominous shot of what looks to be imminent mortal danger for everybody's favorite psychic waitress.
Stack then introduced the cast, beginning with Kristen Bauer van Straten (Pam), Alexander Skarsgard (Eric), Kevin Alejandro (Jesus), Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette), Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica), Ryan Kwanten (Jason), Rutina Wesley (Tara), Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton), Anna Paquin (Sookie) and Executive Producer Allan Ball. Fans hoping to see either Joe Manganiello (Alcide) or Sam Trammel (Sam Merlotte) were disappointed, as it was announced Manganiello was shooting a movie, and Trammel was with his wife, who’s about to give birth to twins.
There were a few hints about what would be coming up in Season 4. Fans of Charlaine Harris’ novels on which True Blood is based asked whether the infamous shower scene between Sookie and Eric would occur in the HBO drama. “There will be a moment in the show where Sookie and Eric are together in a shower,” Ball confirmed. “It may not exactly be what happens in the books. It may be weirder and dirtier."
Asked what was going on with Arlene's baby this season, Ball promised viewers would have an answer soon. "And it is something really creepy," he said.
One fan asked if there would ever be a flashback to when Eric sired Pam, to which Ball replied, "Of course. We will not see it this season, but you will definitely see it in Season 5."
Another fan of the novels asked if the strip club Hooligans would be making an appearance. "There will be a business venture that involves people of both sexes taking their clothes off for paying audiences," he said. "And it will have a completely other twisted supernatural purpose in Season 5."
When asked about Sookie's fairy ancestry and how the death of her fairy godmother Claudine would figure in to the story going forward, Ball gave a mysterious answer: "Those of you who know the books, know that fairies are born in litters and they're identical."
Those who braved the line for the panel also were told that ghosts might soon appear in Bon Temps. "We will see spirits without bodies," he said. "Whether you want to call them ghosts or not."
Paquin was asked about something Eric told Sookie in the season opener about her character being two different people, and whether she agreed with that assessment. "Yeah, I do. I think there's part of her that's still this very sweet, innocent little girl and there's the part of her that has really dirty vampire sex on a regular basis," she said, adding coyly, "with possibly multiple vampires."
Wesley said she’s pleased Tara has found a love of mixed martial arts cage-fighting and a new romance. "I think it's just kind of awesome that she's happy and that she's smiling for a change," she said.
Another fan wondered whether Sookie and Bill would ever find their way back to together. "It's going to be a pretty complicated road,” Paquin replied.
Toward the end of the panel, a fan of both the novels and the show asked about the pace of the series, which seems to follow a book-per-season format. Ball said he thinks True Blood has tremendous potential for a very long life: "I hope to get to the point where it becomes a problem for us in the writer's room to explain why the vampires seem to be aging."
True Blood airs Sunday nights on HBO.