Bates Motel has never been a show that was afraid to “go there.” With a second season that saw many supporting characters sent away or killed, a tense showdown with drug trading, and that mother and son kiss that went on just a bit too long, showrunners and creators Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin have a lot to live up to with their upcoming third season of the A&E show.
Along with cast members Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Olivia Cooke, and Nestor Carbonell on hand, the panel reflected back on the insanity and never before seen hilarity of the second season, while teasing fans slightly with a special guest appearance, if the show will ever seen any character spillover from the original Psycho, and what the cast themselves would like to see for their characters in the upcoming season. Hit the jump for the Bates Motel Comic-Con panel recap highlights.
- The panel started off with a recap of the previous season, giving the fans a refresher on all of the main intense events that punctuated the season. Ehrin and Cuse said there would definitely be more creepiness in store for the third season, and then they introduced a new title sequence A&E had made for them. To the amusement of the room, the new sequence played out as an Arrested Development remake with some of the finest moments from Norma, Norman, and Dylan.
- Looking back on the past season, Ehrin said they were looking to see what would happen if Norma got that happiness she always wanted. Cuse echoed those sentiments, saying it was like Norma was Icarus, and eventually she did get too close to the sun.
- Favorite scenes for each cast member this past season:
Highmore: Any of his scenes where he was stuck in that box after being kidnapped, or when they spent that time swimming in the river, because it was so much colder than it looked.
Farmiga: The scene where Norman tells Norma he thinks he slept with and killed his teacher, and she just doesn’t accept it and tells him to “east his pot roast.” She also said that when she had to sing “Maybe This Time” while auditioning for the community theater show, she found that to be an extreme challenge. She had actually lost her voice the day of filming that scene.
Carbonell: He enjoyed when Romero unapologetically watched Norma change her clothes.
- A big point of controversy last season was that kiss Norma and Norman shared that held on for just a bit too long for comfort. Apparently, that kiss wasn’t originally in the script, and came about after the writing. Farmiga commented about Norman, “She gave him what he likes.”
- Highmore says that Norman’s innocence is obviously slipping away, but with that split personality he has, some part of him knows he’s getting away with it, and another part still believes in his own goodness. When asked how he differs from or relates to his character, Highmore couldn’t really come with a specific answer, but Ehrin said that Highmore is much more thoughtful than Norman.
- The fact that Norma is such a powerhouse of a character is what drew Farmiga to her and made her want to do the project. Despite her paranoia and lack of desire to seek professional help for Norman, Farmiga believes she’s coming from a good place. She doesn’t trust many people, so she thinks she can put the pieces of Norman back together herself without any outside help. Any impending doom isn’t felt by her at this moment.
- As far as comparison points go, Highmore says that the differences between Bates Motel and Psycho helped him to create his own version of Norman. When an audience member asked about the potential of any overt Psycho crossover ideas or characters in the show’s future, Cuse and Ehrin said that there would definitely be some mirroring of things from the original film.
- Looking forward, some familiar faces will be returning for season three. Already announced was the return of Nicola Peltz as Bradley, and joining her will be surprise panel guest Kenny Johnson as Norma’s brother and Dylan’s father, Caleb. Johnson said that Norma and Caleb definitely have that unspoken bond and a weird first love relationship commingling with being brother and sister. Johnson said Caleb “needs to find some answers for himself.” In regards to their relationship, Ehrin elaborated, saying that they have unfinished business, and the real truth of what happened between them has yet to be divulged.
- Not too much was shared specifically about season three, but Ehrin and Cuse did share that they were exploring the idea of Norman knowing he can now do these horrible things, and how that good and evil plays out within him. We’ll see what Norma will and won’t do to protect Norman, and how what happened last season is going to affect their trust. As for the town of White Pine Bay, Ehrin wants to see how the town is going to function now that the economic backbone of drug trading is not around. Highmore is hoping to expand the Bates Motel business into a conglomerate, and Farmiga and Cooke are hoping they get to go to Hawaii. Cooke went to say she hopes that Emma really goes to the extremes this season, maybe working in a dive bar or becoming a stripper.
- Both Cuse and Ehrin said that they think this is shaping up to be their best season yet.
- Some lighter and funnier parts of the panel included Highmore using his recent expertise in Spanish to dub over some scenes from the past season. Highmore just recently graduated from the University of Cambridge, where he studied Spanish and Arabic. Also, there was some “original audition footage” of the main cast, which each of the cast members engaging in either extreme behavior like their characters (Farmiga), playing completely against character (Cooke), or just auditioning for the wrong character (Carbonell as Norman).
- The panel ended with Johnson, who was touted an a world champion arm wrestler, inviting some audience members up on stage to challenge him.
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