The press roundtables at SDCC for “The Following” were jam-packed with juicy tidbits of what we can expect in Season 2, and we have all the highlights here along with some footage from the panel.
In case you missed the news, James Purefoy made an unannounced appearance at Comic-Con, cementing speculation that Joe Carroll would return in Season 2. As you’ll see in one of the below videos, the SDCC crowd is thrilled to have him back.
First we spoke with executive producer Marcos Siega, who told us the show will be reset and Poe won’t be a driving part of the story anymore. At the beginning of Episode 1 of Season 2, the end scene from the Season 1 finale will conclude, and then the show fast-forwards a year. Those scenes were already shot when filming last season. Throughout the new season flashbacks will be used to tell the audience what happened during that year, and there will be consequences to Ryan Hardy’s killing the cult follower after Agent Parker’s death.
With regard to the show’s violence and tone, to get past network censors, they always tried to create suspense before the violent scenes so the audience felt it more, even though the violence was not necessarily shown. They set the dark tone from the beginning and kept it constant throughout.
Next we chatted with Shawn Ashmore, aka Agent Mike Weston. While Mike started Season 1 somewhat naïve and innocent, the character evolved to show his underlying toughness in order to live through the beating he suffered early on. He played the character as a mirror to Ryan Hardy’s difficult emotional and physical state when he was investigating Joe Carroll the first time and to show how far down that path Mike Weston would go.
At one time the character of Mike Weston was on the chopping block. There was a scene where Debra and Mike were in peril separately and Ryan Hardy had to make a tough choice as to who to save. But that scene never happened.
In Season 2 Mike continues down a dark path with repercussions and consequences for his actions affecting him, but his bond with and trust in Ryan are still there. We’ll learn more of his back story as Season 2 is less a manhunt with more room for the characters to breathe this go-around. There will be an influx of new characters – good and bad – but no one has been cast yet.
Kevin Bacon told us that as Season 2 begins, Ryan Hardy is healthier and has become a teacher. We’ll meet more members of the Hardy family, and while the show’s surprises and shocks will remain, the tone is lightening up a bit, at least at the beginning. The audience will be able to see his character in a new place/head space although having Ryan now be a teacher is similar to when he used to watch Joe Carroll teach in flashbacks.
He also shared that at one point Ryan Hardy was going to have a limp, but he brought up the difficulty of acting with a limp for years (assuming the show was a success) so Kevin Williamson went back to a heart problem as Ryan’s disability.
James Purefoy, looking dapper with a fresh beard he was requested to grow for his role as Joe Carroll, said he vaguely knows that his character is alive but not where he is. Or possibly since the show uses flashbacks a lot, he’s not alive. He is just not sure. *big tease*
He said there’s lots still to come for Joe. He was very selfish, and really everything he did was about getting his family back; the “Following” was not his focus. What he wants most to see for Joe in Season 2 is for him to go even darker with a bigger trajectory – more murder, mischief, and mayhem but on a grander scale. Joe is a smart man; if he is still alive, he will look back and process his failure and where he went wrong.
We had just a few minutes with Valorie Curry, who told us that since Emma has never existed beyond Joe Carroll’s protection and the cult’s definition, especially after killing Jacob, she is now completely lost in the world.
We wrapped up with Kevin Williamson, who gave us a few more scoops. He basically sees the show as a series of books. After the reset, Season 2 will be slightly different without adhering to a strict seasonal formula. In the new storyline, with Hardy living in New York City and no longer in the FBI, his character will have much healthier relationships; whereas, as alluded to by Ashmore, Weston will become more like the old Ryan Hardy.
One of the members of Ryan’s family that we’ll meet is his niece, who is also a cop. The Season 2 storyline will launch into Season 3, similarly to how he wrote “The Vampire Diaries,” where new characters and storylines of the next season are related to those in the current one. He jokingly suggested an appearance of Dawson Leery. He mentioned that at one time he had Matt Davis in mind for the part of Roderick, but when he was unavailable, he remembered Warren Kole, who had, ironically, auditioned to play Alaric in “TVD.”
In Season 2 there may not be a cult necessarily; they will explore where Joe Carroll is and what has he been doing, questions that will be answered in the first few episodes.
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