“Bates Motel” is expanding the Bates family in Season 3. Showrunners Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin revealed at the show’s San Diego Comic-Con 2014 panel that Kenny Johnson will be joining the show as a series regular in the 2015 season.
“He needs to find some answers for himself,” Johnson says in a surprise appearance at the panel. “He loves his sister. I think he hoped when he first saw Norma that she was going to be a different reaction than, ‘Get out.'”
Ehrin says, “I think there’s a great deal of unfinished business between them, and what exactly the truth of what happened we really don’t know. … I think digging that out is going to be really interested, but it’s a loaded, loaded relationship because they were incredibly close. And you add Norman into that, and it’s extremely volatile.
Nicola Peltz will also be back as Bradley, a character who left the show at the beginning of Season 2. Additionally in Season 3, Cuse says that a new town and new group of characters will be introduced.
“Season 3 is going to pick up not long after Season 2 ends,” Cuse says. “Basically we killed everybody other than our series regulars on the show, so that leaves kind of a big void in White Pine Bay.”
A big question that will be dealt with is: “Can this town exist without bad people?” The vacuum left by the death of the majority of the drug industry will play a role in the beginning of Season 3, which will pick up shortly after the end of Season 2.
“We all have good and bad within ourselves, and which side wins? I think the characters are all sort of struggling with that,” Cuse says. “For Norma, the question in a lot of ways is what will she — or what won’t she — do to try to protect Norman?”
Also, a fun fact learned from the panel: Vera Farmiga reveals that there was no Norma and Norman kiss in the scripts for Season 2 until Freddie Highmore read it for the first time. “I just thought Norman would like a kiss,” he says to laughter. “And it needs to be at least three seconds.”