It was a show that shouldn’t have worked. Phil Miller (Will Forte) is “The Last Man On Earth.” But how do you do a whole series with one lone character? You don’t. You have him stumble across a motley collection of quirky apocalypse survivors who form a community that initially praises and ultimately despises him. Season One on Fox ended with Phil and Carol (Kristen Schaal) setting out for parts unknown, leaving Tucson, Arizona in their dust.
But just when you thought a second season might follow this unlikely pair on their road trip misadventures post-apocalypse, the show went universal. Pulling back, back, back, the camera revealed a man alone on a space station, a last man off Earth. So where might Season Two pick up? SPINOFF attended “Last Man On Earth’s” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego’s panel to find out!
Forte, who also created the show, and Schaal were introduced as the cast members of Season Two “that we know of.” Also in attendance, January Jones joked, “I’m not even sure I’m going to be in the show!” But director Christopher Miller (half of the dynamic duo Miller and Lord) confirmed her character Melissa Shart would return, saying “It would be kind of rude to bring January here if she wasn’t in it.”
Still, “The Last Man On Earth” team was pretty tight-lipped about what to expect in Season Two. “We don’t want people to get comfortable with the rhythm of the show,” Forte warned.
Miller concurred, explaining that the show’s wild premise allows a lot of freedom of where it might go next. “On this show, going into Season Two, it could be literally anything!” He exclaimed. “We can go anywhere and do anything. The dynamic keeps changing and that’s really exciting from a creative standpoint, from a writer’s stand point and from a making a show interesting standpoint.”
But some secrets did slip through, perhaps thanks in part to the mimosa-stocked Barbie pool provided by the moderator, a nod to Phil’s enviable Margarita pool from Season One. (Fun fact: that pool was Forte’s idea, but Miller came up with the salt-ring flourish.) Forte confessed that Phil and Carol would be moving away from Tuscon. And Jason Sudeikis will reprise his role as Season One’s lonesome astronaut.
“I can say Jason Sudekis is coming down,” Forte said before realizing he’d given away that the astronaut will land back on Earth, “or excuse me–”
“Coming down from his high horse!” Schaal interjected with a goofy grin.
“Nice save,” Miller laughed. “No one noticed.”
Melissa’s unlikely beau Todd (Mel Rodriguez) might return, or he might be no more. Speaking of the pair’s romance, Forte had fun with the possibility, saying, “It’s a sweet relationship and it’s really too bad that the characters are dead. Maybe.”
Schaal was a crowd favorite, scoring laughs with several wacky confessions. “Originally in the first two episodes, I was the only woman so I was just excited to represent my gender,” she said to the delight of the crowd, who hooted and clapped. “Femininity, I’m just reeking of it. It’s why I got cast. ‘Who is the most womanest woman?’ Yeah, so when I read the pilot I was just really excited about how refreshing it was, and also just to get to act with Forte was a real honor. But I just don’t feel like kissing his butt this morning.”
Schaal also shared that Carol’s outlandish pillow talk was mostly scripted. “The writers are really amazing,” she said. “A lot of the Carol speak was handed to me because I don’t think to think in sex terms about camping on my own. Once I get warmed up something may slip out, what with the passion and everything.”
“That reminds me when she was talking about things slipping out,” Forte interjected, “Kristen farted on me [during that sex scene shoot]. She did. Two times.”
“I think that’s just a testament to how much chemistry we have,” Schaal said. “I just feel so comfortable with you. I mean, I’ll take a shit on you next.” As the crowd was racked with giggles, Forte said, “I’m a shit whisperer, so…”
Miller used this anecdote to praise Forte’s commitment to his craft. While absent cast mates Mary Steenburgen and Mel Rodriguez were described as “giggle monsters” for their habit of cracking up on set, Miller said, “Even when Kristen farted on Will, he did not break.”
But Forte says that’s not entirely true. “I did break a little,” he admitted, but specified it had more to do with Schaal’s unhinged performance. “What was happening on top of me was a barrage of comedy.”
The panel also touched on the criticisms that followed after an overwhelming wave of praise for “The Last Man of Earth’s” debut. Basically, as the first season went on, Phil became less and less likeable, a bold move that polarized viewers. Forte said he regrets nothing. “The stuff that interested us was away from the nice guy stuff,” he said. “I know it’s not popular with everyone out there. We might have lost some viewers, but we certainly as a writing staff decided that was the way we wanted to do it. We tried it out. It was a challenge. And we were excited about how it turned out, but certainly it’s not for everybody.”
Fans should expect more unconventional turns in Season Two, with Forte reiterating as the panel drew to a close, “The way we left the show in the end, we can really do anything. So it’s almost like we could write a new show. Because that’s been tricky, there’s so many ways we could go with it.”
Viewers will get to see where Forte, Miller and the missing Phil Lord (who was off celebrating his 40th birthday with family in Florida) will go with it when “The Last Man on Earth” returns to Fox for an all- new season September 27.
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