Comic-Con: 'Heroes' and the carnival of redemption

Haydenpanettiere_heroes_290 The Comic-Con "Heroes" panel was the place to be Saturday, so much so that "Chuck" star Zachary Levi sneaked in to enjoy the festivities from the side of the Hilton Bayfront's Indigo Ballroom.

G4's Blaire Butler as moderator introduced the panelists: creator Tim Kring, Jack Coleman, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere, Adrian Pasdar, Zachary Quinto, Milo Ventimiglia, and guest stars Robert Knepper, Dawn Olivieri, Ray Park and Madeline Zima.

With an inconsistent (to say the least) third season and a polarizing season finale, "Heroes" will appropriately enter into Volume Five, "Redemption" for the upcoming season, which debuts Sept. 21.

Kring offered a few words about a "new wrinkle in the mythology of the show." Apparently, another group of people with special powers have led a different life from our heroes. This group has learned to live among us regular folk without arousing suspicion or fear because they wield their powers under the guise of a carnival show.

"What better way to fit in, but in plain sight," explained Kring, who added, "And now they're ready. The carnival will come out and present themselves."

Also, part of the arc involves everyone going back to normal lives, stripping away those odder story elements that made the show harder to relate to. Kring promises that there will be less storylines per episode, which will allow the show to delve deeper into the characters' lives. He also says that some upcoming casting will satisfy one audience member's request for more female diversity.

Fans were treated to a sneak peek trailer for the new season, consisting of scenes from only the first three-and-a-half episodes. From these clips alone, already Season Four looks to be better than the last one. Thank God.

A quick rundown of some of what was in the trailer: Claire goes to college, gets a friend, displays her power to her and kisses her. Yup. You read that correctly. Claire finally gets a degree of normalcy in her life! Peter is back to being a paramedic, and somehow a mysterious compass tattoo appears on his arm. Knepper's character is the creepy head honcho of the gifted carnival gang and encounters Hiro and also Peter: "The name is Samuel and I think we're going to be great friends."

Meanwhile, Nathan is hanging out with Swoozie Kurtz for some reason, while Sylar is yelling at Matt Parkman a lot and hanging out with a worried-looking baby. We see Samuel using power to bury Nathan, and in the last scene of the trailer, a hand bursts from the grave and out pops Sylar.

Wow.

Below is a breakdown of what's going on with each of the actors and their on-screen alter egos:

Jackcoleman_290 Jack Coleman as Noah Bennet (aka HRG) - Noah is setting up a new company, but his marriage and world are falling apart. He gets a newfound empathy for those with powers. Coleman hints that there's something quite dramatic coming up involving a car and water.

Coleman had some of the best (or goofiest) lines for the panel, twitting Ventimiglia (who was wearing a white t-shirt and fedora) that he was mixing up carnies with Art Carney (ah, "The Honeymooners" reference) and later, when Panettiere complained that Sylar and Peter had more than one power, Coleman said, "Some of us don't get any. I don't want to hear about only having one power. I have the power of impaired vision. It's not much."

Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura - The nosebleed situation has gotten worse, and Hiro learns he may have a possible terminal illness. Besides starting a business with Ando at Yamagato, he also decides to sort of create a bucket list and travel to make amends.

Hayden Panettiere as Claire Bennet - Besides losing the bangs, she also has a slightly shorter, more mature hairstyle for her freshman year in college. She just wants to be normal and finally gets a friend in Madeline Zima's character. She reveals her power to her new friend by throwing herself out of a window.

Adrian Pasdar as Nathan Petrelli - There's "a little Jekyll and Hyde thing" going on between Nathan still a senator and Sylar who are sharing the same body. Pasdar says that to give little glimpses of the Sylar we know is lurking beneath, "All I have to do is adopt a few tiny mannerisms and then blow them up."

Zach Quinto as Sylar - "My character is in two places. One is with [Nathan] physically and the other place is in Matt Parkman's head. I'm messing with his mind, giving him a taste of his own medicine ... I also got to work with a baby. That was really fun. And I got to climb up out of the grave, which was also fun."

Quinto also was asked who'd win between Spock and Sylar: "I think that honestly in the end Spock will have to take it because ultimately he's fighing for good." As for Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy? "Leonard in one round. Leonard would drop me in about 30 seconds."

Milo Ventimiglia as Peter Petrelli - Although Peter's back to being a paramedic, he's a bit more jaded, but still smiling. "He's seen it all. He's got a lot more humor about it. Nothing's new to him. If someone comes to him swinging, he's going to swing back harder." To illustate this, fans were shown another clip, this time of Peter and Ray Park's character having a really cool knife fight.

Robert Knepper as Samuel the carny - "Samuel seems to be the reluctant ringleader of this carnival. His brother just passed away." Samuel makes a decision to change the way he and these people are living, and "one by one, they lure the heroes in to help with the plan."

Dawn Olivieri as Lydia the carny - Olivieri brings more sex appeal to the show, not only because she insists on speaking like everything is innuendo, but also because her character is seen nude often. "I'm naked most of the time. For the show I have tattoos. I'm an empath of sorts." The tattoos change and that somehow works with Samuel's power as an earth mover. Her allegiance is uncertain.

Raypark_290 Ray Park as Edgar the carny - "I'm part of the carnival. I like to play with knives. The knife throw is my cover-up. I'm sent out to the world by Sam and do lots of stuff I don't want to do. I just want redemption and peace. I have super speed too, which is good."

Madeline Zima as Gretchen Berg - This college freshman seems to already know about Claire's reputation, but the become very close friends and confidants. There's that kiss thing too.  "I love working with Hayden. I also once worked with Jack, which was fun because he's scary. He killed a fly with one hand. It was very ninja of him."


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