Without a doubt one of the most popular, and entertaining, panels at the San Diego Comic-Con is the one for "True Blood" (as the nearly four-hour wait I had to get inside Ballroom 20 proves). Along with lots of scoops and tidbits from the cast, creator Alan Ball, and source material author Charlaine Harris, we were treated to a preview video for the second half of Season 3, which HBO released following the panel and we have for you here.
First off, here's the rundown of who was present: showrunner Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Nelsan Ellis, Sam Trammell , Rutina Wesley, Deborah Ann Woll , Kristin Bauer van Straten, Denis O’Hare, Joe Manganiello, and The Southern Vampire Mysteries writer Charlaine Harris. Of course the crowd was disappointed that Ryan Kwanten and Alexander Skarsgard weren't there (both are off shooting other projects at present), but to soften the blow, Moyer and Paquin brought out a cardboard standee of Skarsgard, which delighted those of us in attendance.
Aside from the below montage video, which raises a lot more questions than it answers, here are the highlights:
We will find out more about Sookie's mysterious powers before the season's end.
Stephen Moyer gave us a step-by-step description of how they filmed his "twisted" sex scene with Lorena.
When asked about their favorite "gross-out" moments, Sam Trammell said he'd like to tell us about his, but we haven't seen it yet. As for Anna, hers goes back to last season, after Maryann had taken over her home, when she found a small naked man in her sink along with an animal head on her kitchen table.
Dennis O'Hare has created an elaborate back story in his own head for his character, King Russell, which entailed writing emails to Alan Ball with some of his ideas: alive since 2,800 BC -- or a Celt -- or a Pagan. Ball's typical response? "Okay ... good, Denis." O'Hare most appreciates Russell's ancient way of thinking, his different morality, and his relationship with the werewolves.
We all know about Snoop Dogg's obsession with the show; what about other celebrity fans? According to Kristin Bauer van Straten, Elizabeth Taylor is a follower of the show, as is Anne Rice, who has become Facebook pen pals with Charlaine Harris.
Deborah Ann was asked about her character Jessica's relationship with Hoyt and whether or not they'll reconcile. The wise beyond her years young woman explained that she has to first learn who she is and love herself before she'll be able to love someone else.
Who would Charlaine most like to see on the show from the world she's created in her books? Sookie's great grandfather, Niall Brigant. (The audience roars its concurrence.)
Newcomer Joe Manganiello (who confirmed that his alter ego Alcide will indeed be a regular next season and that he's aware of the Internet campaign for him to be the next Superman) lightened the mood considerably by describing the “Brotherhood of the Sock” -- the methods by which the men on the show prepare for nude shots. He said they are presented with a black velvet tray on which three different items are displayed: a sock with a drawstring, a plastic black thong, and a man panty (or "manty"). The selection depends on the angle and nature of the scene. Hilarious!
Finally we got some teasers about Season 4 from creator Ball: Apparently a character who doesn't know who he or she is becomes a different person, and someone who hated him or her doesn't do so anymore. (Those in the audience who have read Charlaine's books seemed quite pleased to hear this news.) Also, Ball promised that Hallow would be a "big" character in Season 4.
As part of the audience Q&A the group was asked, "If you could be any creature on the show, what would it be?" Ball immediately said, "A shifter" while Deborah Ann replied that she's rather be a witch than a vampire. At least then she wouldn't eternally be 17 ... or a virgin.
In the best news this Woman heard all day, Ball promised that we will get to "luxuriate in Franklin's psychopathology" for at least a bit longer before we're done with the character.
A big difference between the books and the show is Sookie and Bill's relationship, and this is because Ball believes that they are soulmates and he's rooting for them to work things out in the long term.
Poor Rutina Wesley. Her character, Tara, always seems to pick the wrong man. Will she ever get a break? Ball said Tara will get a break toward the end of this season, but it won't last. And that was fine with Rutina as she likes the "meat" Tara's complexity provides her as an actress.
Nelsan was asked what his inspiration is for his portrayal of the flamboyant Lafayette, and he explained that he takes all the energy and craziness of his mom and four sisters and combines their antics to make Lafayette into the character that we all have come to love so much.
Lastly, Ball addressed putting the character of Bubba (Elvis Presley in vampire form) into the show by saying that the trouble is how to make it not look fake. Someone suggested Bruce Campbell for the role, and the crowd went wild. So you just don't know ... we may see him show up after all.
And with that we were done for another year. Here's looking forward to seeing the gang do it all over again at Comic-Con 2011!