Heroes premiered on NBC in September of 2006 and though it only remained on the air for four seasons through February 2010, the show has had a significant impact on television and film. Heroes was an interesting take on superheroes because it asked the question, what would happen if anyone, anywhere got superpowers? Would they do good, or would they become evil? The show not only answered these sorts of questions, but followed up to try and understand why people did what they did. After all, it was more about the characters than anything else; the powers were little more than a MacGuffin that helped to push the story along.
Heroes starred a LOT of different actors. Over the course of four seasons, dozens of characters were introduced. What unfolded in this milieu was a long-standing organization behind some bizarre events and the people who took part either knowingly or without their knowledge or consent. With so many actors and actresses taking part in a series like Heroes, it’s interesting to see what they have been up to since the show went off the air. Was Heroes a springboard or did these people fade into obscurity after leaving the show? We hope to answer these questions and more by looking at 15 major players from the series and seeing what they are up to now.
15. HAYDEN PANETTIERE – CLAIRE BENNET
Claire Bennet was easily one of the most important characters throughout Heroes‘ five seasons. She was most often referred to simply as “The Cheerleader,” but was so much more. Her powers afforded her a certain level of immortality, which gave her the ability to heal from any injury. Because of this, she was sought-after by those who would copy her ability for themselves, most notably, the villain Sylar.
Since Heroes went off the air in 2010, Panettiere has been busy. She currently stars as Juliette Barnes on Nashville on ABC and has done considerable voice-over work for video games, video shorts and even for the Heroes Reborn miniseries where she was uncredited. Panettiere is engaged to Wladimir Klitschko and the two have a daughter named Kaya Evdokia. She suffered from post-partum depression following the birth and has spoken about it publicly to help raise awareness.
14. MILO VENTIMIGLIA – PETER PETRELLI
Milo Ventimiglia was another key player throughout Heroes‘ run as Peter Petrelli. He had the power to absorb anyone else’s powers he came in contact with and could keep those powers for himself to use at his leisure. This made him, by far, the most powerful character on the series, though his abilities were somewhat limited by his sensitive and compassionate nature.
Following his work on Heroes, Ventimiglia has kept himself busy. He has worked consistently in television, lending his voice talents to various animated characters and has been in more than a dozen movies, including That’s My Boy, The Divide, Static, Grown Ups 2, Killing Season, Wild Card and many more. He is a vegan and was voted PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian in 2009 and has even offered his services to support the Troops during a USO tour in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
13. MASAYORI OKA – HIRO NAKAMURA
Some would call Masayori Oka’s Hiro Nakamura the heart of Heroes. Hiro was the nerd in all of us who wished we could have superpowers and when his manifested upon a quick teleportation to New York City, he thrust his hands in the air proclaiming, “I did it!” Hiro could not only teleport, he also had mastery over time and space. Hiro was incredibly powerful and important to the storyline.
After the show left the airwaves, Masayori or “Masi” as he prefers to be called, jumped right over to the production of Hawaii Five-O, where he continues to play Max Bergman. He also returned for Heroes Reborn and narrated the audiobook for World War Z. An interesting fact about Oka is that prior to his fame in front of the camera, he was a digital effects artist for Industrial Light and Magic, having worked on the Star Wars prequels.
12. JACK COLEMAN – NOAH BENNET
Jack Coleman played Noah Bennet, Claire’s father and “The man in the horn-rimmed glasses.” He was one of the few people during the series’ duration who didn’t have any special abilities. He worked for a shadowy organization that policed dangerous individuals with powers and would accompany someone with abilities into the field. At times, it wasn’t clear whether he was a good guy or bad, but he was always there… lurking in the shadows.
Since the show went off the air, Coleman played Senator Robert Lipton on The Office and kept the suit and tie to portray Senator William Bracken on Castle from 2012-2013. He has done some work in film since Heroes ended, but has been busier on the small screen, voicing characters on various shows and even returning as Noah Bennet in Heroes Reborn.
11. ALI LARTER – NIKI SANDERS/TRACY STRAUSS
Ali Larter’s character arrived in the second season of Heroes with a bit of a twist. She suffered from a type of personality bifurcation, which allows one aspect of her psyche to manifest as Niki Sanders, a woman with enhanced strength, while the second half became Tracy Strauss. Strauss’ abilities included Cryokinesis and water transformation. It was an interesting character due to the split psyche and different associated powers involved.
Larter was already a well-known film and television actress when she was brought on for season two and she has continued to work since the show was canceled. She has remained a major player in the Resident Evil films, playing Claire Redfield and has done work on various television series. She has had two children, a boy and a girl, since Heroes ended and has transitioned from full-time acting into writing. She is currently working on a book.
10. ZACHARY QUINTO – SYLAR
Zachary Quinto was the “big bad” throughout the series’ run as Gabriel “Sylar” Gray. He had the same ability as Peter Petrelli, but could only grasp the nature of another person’s powers if he could understand how they worked. He did this by cutting into their brain and feeling around until he found what made them tick. This made him something of a homicidal maniac who preyed on powered people, but by the end of the series, he crossed over to the side of good.
Quinto has taken on several roles since he left the series, but his most well-known would have to be playing Spock in the rebooted Star Trek film franchise. He also received an Emmy nomination for his work on American Horror Story: Asylum, has lent his voice to several video games and has worked in theater both off and on Broadway.
9. GREG GRUNBERG – MATT PARKMAN
Though his character began the series with some limits to his powers, Greg Grundberg’s Matthew “Matt” Parkman became incredibly powerful through the course of the show. He started as a telepath and progressed into full-blown mind control and psychic attacks towards the end of the series. He was a police officer, first for the LAPD and then for the NYPD by the second season.
Grundberg is disturbingly busy. Since he is one of J. J. Abrams’ oldest and closest friends, the two work together in nearly every film and television project Abrams undertakes. In addition to this, he knocks out a film or three per year and appears all over television, most recently playing Tom Patterson on The Flash. Expect him to continue to pop up in the Star Wars and Star Trek series as they progress thanks to his and Abram’s friendship. He’s pretty good at his craft, too!
8. SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY – MOHINDER SURESH
Sendhil Ramamurthy played Doctor Mohinder Suresh, a genetics professor at the University of Madras who held a PhD in parapsychology. Following his father’s death, he travels the world to research the increasing presence of superhuman people. Suresh is another non-powered person who lasted the length of the show and he played a major part throughout, even developing his own powers later.
Since the show ended, Ramamurthy has spent most of his time working in television, though he did appear in three films since 2010. He has appeared on The Office, Beauty & the Beast, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Reverie, Elementary and he reprised his role in Heroes Reborn in 2015. When he isn’t pretending to be someone else, Ramamurthy spends his time in London with his wife Olga Sosnovska, also an actress, and their two children.
7. ADRIAN PASDAR – NATHAN PETRELLI
Adrian Pasdar played Peter’s brother who also had his own superpower, though he was limited to self-powered flight. Petrelli was an attorney for New York City before he ran for the Senate through the first season. He has, at times, been cast as the anti-hero and even a villain. He was killed towards the end of the series.
Pasdar has spent a lot of time voice-acting since he left Heroes. He has worked on Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Ultimate Spider-Man and other series as Tony Stark/Iron Man. He stood in front of the camera for 29 episodes of The Lying Game and is currently playing Nolan Burgess in the ongoing series, Colony and is a regular presence on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In July of 2017, he and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks announced their divorce after 17 years of marriage.
6. NOAH-GRAY-CABEY – MICAH SANDERS
Back when he was just 14, Noah Gray-Cabey portrayed Micah Sanders on Heroes. Sanders was the son of Niki Sanders and D.K. Hawkins, and possessed the ability to communicate with technology, also known as a technopath. This enabled him to control any technology simply by touching it. He could make phone calls on these ancient devices called “pay phones,” or get an ATM to spit out cash. He was also a child prodigy.
As you can see from the picture above, Gray-Cabey didn’t stay little for long. He has bulked up and continues to work in television. Since leaving the show, he has starred in the film Pizza Man, came back to play Micah in Heroes Reborn and has been playing Eliot Dixon in Code Black. His was kicked around as a possible favorite to play Cloak in the upcoming Marvel television series, Cloak and Dagger, though the role ultimately went to Aubrey Joseph.
5. KRISTEN BELL – ELLE BISHOP
Kristen Bell’s Elle Bishop first appeared in the second season. Unlike the other superhumans in the series who were just discovering their abilities, Bishop had known of hers all her life. She had the power to generate, manipulate and control energy, which she often did by discharging electrical arcs.
There’s no doubt you have heard at least some of Bell’s work since she left the series. She was cast to voice Princess Anna in Disney’s Frozen in 2013. That’s not all she has done either, she also appeared all over television and voiced Priscilla in Zootopia, appeared in more than two-dozen films, including Bad Moms, Veronica Mars, Movie 43 and Get Him to the Greek. She is set to return as the voice of Anna in Frozen 2 when it is released in 2019. Bell married Dax Shepard in 2013. The couple has two daughters.
4. JIMMY JEAN-LOUIS – THE HAITIAN
Jimmy Jean-Louis was simply known as The Haitian during his time on the series. The character possessed the ability to erase peoples’ memories and negate others’ powers. He used this power alongside Noah Bennett while working for the Company and he may have caused a little brain damage to Bennet’s family along the way. The Haitian is killed by Noah Bennet in an act of self-defense, but much of the character remains a mystery.
Jean-Louis is an actor and a model who was born in Pétion-Ville, near Port-au-Prince, Haiti making his casting as The Haitian on-point. He has continued to work in film and television since he left the show, though he did return in Heroes Reborn. Most recently, he starred in Esohe, a film co-produced in the United States and Nigeria. He founded Hollywood United for Haiti to help provide relief to his native Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.
3. CHRISTINE ROSE – ANGELA PETRELLI
Christina Rose played Angela Petrelli, the matriarch of the Petrelli clan throughout her time on Heroes. The character was behind Nathan’s run for the Senate and path towards the Presidency, but it wasn’t revealed until season three that she too had powers. She could see into the past and predict the future through her dreams and could even manipulate other peoples’ dreams as well.
Prior to and following her time on the series, Rose has spent most of her time in television. She had a recurring role as Virginia Mosby on How I Met Your Mother, as well as a recurring role on Trial & Error and walk-on roles on NCIS: Los Angeles, Private Practice, The Mentalist and Longmire. She also returned to portray her role of Angela Petrelli in Heroes Reborn.
2. JAMES KYSON – ANDO MASAHASHI
It’s hard to picture Hiro without his trusty sidekick, Ando Masahashi played by James Kyson. The two were pretty much inseparable throughout most of the series, though Ando possessed no special abilities of his own… that is until his powers manifest in the third season. He gains the ability to amplify the powers of others and even figures out a way to channel this ability into concussive blasts.
Kyson has been busy since leaving Heroes. He has appeared in walk-on roles on Elementary, Sleepy Hollow, School of Rock, Preacher and more. He has also had a recurring role on Blade of Honor playing John ‘Hoss O’Tekjac, Big Destiny on Adventure Time and Jacob on Have You Met Miss Jones? It almost seems like he might drop dead if he stopped acting given a number of roles he has taken over the years. Kyson married singer/neuroscientist Jamee Kyson in 2015.
1. SANTIAGO CABRERA – ISAAC MENDEZ
Santiago Cabrera played Isaac Mendez on Heroes for only one full season due to his demise at the hands of Sylar. He possessed the ability to see the future and paint it into his artwork. He would become possessed and his body would do the work for him during his visions. He foretold the destruction of New York City at the beginning of season one, which was the primary story arc throughout that season.
Cabrera has been working primarily in television, though he has done some film work since leaving the show. He had roles in the films Che, For Greater Glory, Transformers: The Last Knight and he had a recurring role on the television series Merlin where he played Lancelot. Additionally, he has appeared on Dexter, Covert Affairs, and Big Little Lies for HBO.
Did we forget any of your favorite characters from Heroes? Let us know in the comments and tell us who your favorite Hero is!
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