After a tense recap clip of the death and drama filled end of season one, The Following panel got underway, promising an eerie future for what remains of the cast. Moderated by TV Guide’s Debra Birnbaum, the panel included EPs Kevin Williamson and Marcos Siega as well cast members, Kevin Bacon, Valerie Curry, Shawn Ashmore, and surprise guest James Purefoy, who made a classic Joe Carroll entrance.
With the hype and success behind season one having been pretty spectacular for a mid season show, the pressure is definitely on the cast and crew of The Following to deliver with the second season. Not many specific details were shared, but the cast did look back on some of the intense moments of the insane first season, and teased what they could about where the characters would be when season two kicks off. Hit the jump for the highlights.
- Before the panel officially got underway, Williamson introduced never-before-seen footage for the fans that would set up season two. Without spoiling it, I’ll say that it absolutely changes the game as far as what to expect for the next season, and could create exciting and possibly devastating new arcs for many characters on the show.
- Purefoy’s entrance was probably one of the most in-character entrances at this Comic-Con. As the panel was getting started, Bacon got a call on his cell phone from none other Joe Carroll himself, slightly insulted he wasn’t invited to the panel. “I didn’t know where to send the invitation,” Bacon replied, with Purefoy promising that he would see him soon right before he came on stage. Definition of a smooth criminal.
- Both Purefoy and Curry were sporting new looks. Curry said her blonde hair color was just something she had done herself during the hiatus, but Purefoy said that his look alluded to a “rising from the ashes” look for Joe for this upcoming season. Siega did comment on the fact that Emma, Curry’s character, is going to have to go through many disguises in season two, seeing as how she’s a known face in connection with The Following.
- When asked if there would be a time jump from the end of last season, Williamson confirmed that season two will pick up a year after the last season. He emphasized that season two would be less of an FBI chasing down The Following scenario, and more of a new look at the characters and the new beginnings they have because of the situations that happened in season one. Williamson is a huge fan of season twos on television, saying that the show and cast have really seen where improvements can be made, and have settled into themselves, the story, and the characters by that point. “Everyone is in a very different place in their lives,” commented Bacon.
- Bacon was very happy to make the jump to television for The Following, and enjoys exploring Ryan Hardy as a character. “There’s a different thing about being an actor on television: you come into people’s homes, and you come week after week after week,” he said. When asked if Ryan was safe from being killed off, Bacon was unsure himself and like that uncertainty, but Williamson reassured the crowd he wasn’t going anywhere.
- Each cast member was asked to choose which plot twist from season one surprised them the most. Both Ashmore and Bacon said the reveal with Paul, Jacob, and Emma’s double lives in the pilot was what hooked them from the beginning on the show. Curry said that the threesome shower scene was the most surprising scene for her, especially how vulnerable of a moment it was for her character Emma. Purefoy was decimated by the death of Debra Parker, thinking she was in it for the long haul.
- For Williamson, walking the fine line with the violence on the show is tough. “What other people find violent, I don’t find violent,” he said, noting that sometimes they did go a bit over the top in the first season, but then would try to correct it and rein it in.
- Ashmore sees a similar path between Weston’s track over the season and Ryan’s initial descent during the original Joe Carroll chase. Weston started off as a more solid and enthusiastic person in the beginning of the season, but has gone further down as the season went on with the deaths of many of his fellow agents, which Ashmore thinks will spill over into the next season.
- Curry sees Emma somewhat struggling in the new season, having lost basically all of the people to her as well as the familiar structure of the cult. “She might be making some new friends,” Curry teased, insinuating a possible rise for Emma as a new Joe Carroll type figurehead for The Following, which Purefoy noted does exist all over the world due to the vast reach of the internet.
- Williamson is really excited to explore the characters next season, saying the writers love the Ryan/Weston relationship and want to delve into those character relationships ever further.
- Purefoy previewed a Joe Carroll that will be doing some soul searching, and maybe coming back ever stronger than last time. Williamson said that Carroll was very selfish in his motivations with The Following in the first season, so he’s going to need reassess his priorities. Carroll’s backstory, and other characters’ as well, will be shown and explore in the next season, to see how he became the man who could start and grow a homicidal cult.
- A set of new characters, possibly even lead characters, were mentioned, but no specifics or casting choices were shared.
Favorite scenes to play for each panel member:
- Ashmore: the fight club scene with Roderick. “It really broke Weston,” he said.
- Williamson: Joe reuniting with Joey, and when Joe killed his military veteran Follower, Charlie.
- Bacon: when Ryan was tied down to the chair at the farmhouse. “It was a new side to that character which was more of a wiseass, and more of an intellectual game with the bad guys,” he explained.
- Siega: when Ryan and Weston try to save Parker.
- Curry: flashback when Emma meets Joe at the book signing, and when Emma and Joe reunite at the mansion.
- Purefoy had trouble narrowing down a favorite scenes, since he loved them all, but he picked the scene where Ryan and Joe have that verbal stand off in the bunker where Joe is behind the glass.