WonderCon 2016: iZombie with Rob Thomas and Friends!

There are certain shows that everyone involved with just seems happy to be a part of. Not in that “just happy to be getting paid” way that minor stars of yesteryear feel when charging $20 for a selfie (although I’m sure getting paid is nice).

It’s that fresh, Season Three feel, when they are well out of the realm of getting canned too early but not yet fatigued by a dozen seasons and a hundred contrived plotlines. Side characters are all getting their own development, villains turn to heroes, heroes to villains, and anything still feels possible without yet being dumb.

Never has that been more true than when I sat down in the “iZombie” press room at WonderCon 2016. Every actor and show have their own personalities, but I’ve never seen a room of people so dedicated to just having a good time with it. Rahul Kohli was wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt, David Anders was discussing the finer points of dying his hair white, Robert Buckley was drawing on tables and doing his darndest to distract the rest of the cast, and Rose McIver was the beacon of warm sunshine she always is.

It was the kind of genuine excitement of people who love their job. And it’s easy to see why. Not only is “iZombie” a hit, but the top-notch writing of executive producers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright has given them opportunity to grow both as characters and actors. Robert Buckley had a lot to say on this particular topic:

Robert: When I first signed onto “iZombie,” I wasn’t sure what was in store for the character. After filming the first few episodes, I was pretty sure that I was just eye candy. I wanted to do more, but you do what you can, and I figured I could come to terms with being the typical CW conflicted love interest. I think it was around when we were wrapping Episode Six that Rob came to me and said, “So I had some ideas about Major’s character and where I want to take him. Want to talk about it?” I was like, “Hell yeah, man!” It’s just amazing to go from playing a part to really making a character.

David Anders sat down after Buckley and had a similar take on the topic:

David: It seems sometimes like I’ll forever be cast as the moustache-twirling villain. It’s fine; moustache twirling is fun. What I love about Blaine is the kind of fun I can have when twirling my ‘stache. He’s a more complex character, but he proves that doesn’t always mean good. He definitely has more weakness in this season, but he isn’t about to do a full 180 because it would make the plot smoother. We’re having fun seeing where the character is going in his own way, and it isn’t the way most normal stories would.

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Rose McIver made my life immeasurably more delightful when she sat down next. She had a similar sentiment to the rest of the cast:

Rose: What I love about playing Liv is that I get to go in so many different directions. I mean, this is a character whose personality changes in every episode. On top of that, she’s growing this superhero complex, which presents its own challenges. At the core, she’s still Liv though, just a girl who was thrust into all of this without any say. Every time I portray the character, I have to layer it through all of those lenses. It’s honestly really tough but makes for a role unlike any other. It helps me grow in my craft but is also just a ton of fun. We have a great cast and amazing writers, so it feels more like an adventure than a job.

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It’s refreshing to see a cast so pumped about the show they are working on. It was clear that everyone had a ton of respect for their peers, and that went triple for the show’s superman creator, writer, and producer Rob Thomas. Rob is one of the most likable men I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing and, in an industry full of disingenuous Hollywood types, is a genuinely honest and all around swell guy. Here’s what he had to say about the future of “iZombie”:

Rob: Working on this show has been incredible. No one on the crew is difficult to work with, and everyone shows up every day excited to see what we have in store for them. The show has evolved in a really unique way, which was important to me from the start. We were inspired by Chris Roberson’s comic book series but have always maintained a loose association. We had a distinct identity from the start, and it’s given us a lot of freedom to make this our own. We still might pull from it from time to time. But you’re not going to suddenly see were-terriers in Season Three. Maybe in Season Eight, but who knows what’ll happen by then?

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The topic soon switched to the format of the show and how we would see that evolve in the future:

Rob: For the last two episodes of this season, they’re going with a serial format. There will be no “case-of-the-week.” We’re just focusing on the characters and main story. This was born out of necessity, so don’t take this as us abandoning the procedural format. Basically, I was naive and expected us to get a 22-episode season. To my surprise, instead of getting a nine-episode backend coming out of our hiatus, we got a six. So instead of being smart and trimming it down to fit that, I just shoved it all into the last two episodes. It’s a really explosive finale, so I think it’ll work out. I like the procedural format, so we’ll be going back to that when Season Three starts. Nothing concrete, but I have some idea where we might go with that.

The whole thing felt like a wrap party, and I was half expecting someone to crack open a bottle of Patrón and start pouring shots. It’s always a great experience to see a cast that’s just as excited as the fans about the show.

If you haven’t seen “iZombie,” you should check it out. It’s dark, funny, bloody, and has a lot of heart. It’s got something for everyone without feeling bland. Hell, even my dad loves it. Whether you’re already a fan or just checking it out now, let me know below what you think of it and what you’re hoping for in Season Three!

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Written by Ted Hentschke

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