The biggest news to come out of Showtime’s Homeland panel during the Summer TCA Press Tour is that the series has been renewed through Season 8. It’s clear that Showtime considers it their marquee program, and are investing in it into perpetuity. At the panel, executive producer Alex Gansa and stars Claire Danes (Carrie) and Mandy Patinkin (Saul) were on hand to answer our questions about what’s coming next for the series. Here are 8 things we learned:
— Regarding the renewal through Season 8, Gansa said that they don’t yet have an endgame in mind, and that they are taking things season by season. Claire Danes joked that by Season 8, Carrie “becomes a master rollerblader.”
— Still, Gansa did add that, “I will say that in just a pie in the sky, we would all love to take this show back to Israel for that final season. That’s where the show came from. That’s how “Hatufim” started. That was the inspiration for the entire series, so it would be great to end the season and end the run there. But, you know, it’ a big question whether that will ever happen, whether we could ever go back there.”
— Back to Season 6, production is starting very soon in New York, which makes Danes very happy (since it’s where she lives). The show will be focusing back on things happening domestically, like counterterrorism policies, since a lot of that is conducted in New York City (as far as sanctions and banking), as well as law enforcement’s treatment of the Muslim community, which Carrie “will be very, very involved with.”
— The show is also looking to stay relevant by showing how a new president (who is described as a combination of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders) is educated on the intelligence community and the community’s role. Gansa said,
“We heard some fascinating anecdotes about the transition during the Obama administration, you know, when Obama came into office, and what that period looked like between election and inauguration day. As you recall, he came in with some very strong ideas about how he was going to change foreign policy, some of which he honored, and some of which I think his mind was changed during that period of time. So this season will also be about educating a new president, and what the intelligence agency’ responsibility is, in terms of making this new person aware of the dangers and twists and tensions in the word.”
— Everyone is, of course, very interested in what might be happening with Quinn (Rupert Friend) following the Season 5 finale. Gansa repeated what we’ve heard before, that Quinn is alive but he suffered a major stroke, so he will be “very changed and altered.”
— When Danes was asked if it takes time for her to “transition down” after each season, she said absolutely. After filming a season she feels “stripped,” although the year she filmed while being 7 months pregnant was the very worst. “It’s very strenuous work, but the quality is so sound that it carries me. I would rather apply myself within a context that’s secure and inspiring and well designed, than have a kind of cruisy, silly time in gobbledygook.”
“A scene I found quite challenging this season was when I’m persuading the terrorist in the tunnels, to convince him to hold back from doing something that he has been conditioned and trained to do, this horribly evil thing. The stakes are so kind of impossibly high, and it’s so operatic. Grounding that is very hard. And sometimes just the level of pain that [the characters] all exposed to is wrenching. Watching Quinn in that gas chamber and convulsing and oozing … but it is supported, as I said before, by a story that is coherent and carefully considered.”
— Gansa clarified that Carrie is still on the outside when it comes to the CIA, especially after having turned down Saul’s offer. A big question in the new season is whether or not she accepted Otto’s proposal, and how that will affect her relationship with the agency moving forward.
— Regarding Carrie and Saul’s relationship at the beginning on the season, Danes revealed that, “They have diverged, there is a split. Saul has committed himself even more fully to the agency, and Carrie rejects some fundamental principles of it. That’s difficult to reconcile, and I don’t think they’ve really done it. But they’re so profoundly bonded, that’s not something they would want to rid themselves of, nor would they want to. But she’s matured into a very different place from where he has matured to.”
Homeland returns to Showtime in January of 2017.