There are big hints on what lies ahead for Syfy's twin flagship shows: Felicia Day is coming to Eureka, major secrets of the Warehouse will be revealed, a Eureka resurrection, and the simple joys of crossing over Claudia and Fargo.
Each panel started with specially made trailers that cut together footage from the episodes that have already aired, along with glimpses of what lies ahead. The major reveal for Eureka: Nathan Stark is back, announcing his return with a super-cool, "Hey Carter. Miss me?" There were no details as to how exactly he's come back from the dead, although that whole altered timeline business probably has a lot to do with it.
Indeed, the cast of Eureka just keeps on growing - the panel confirmed Wil Wheaton will be appearing in a bunch of episodes beyond his initial appearance in this week's episode (and our thoughts on that episode will be coming later today), and there was a surprise appearance by the show's newest cast member. Felicia Day has officially signed on for ten episodes, and her unexpected drop-in at the panel made it quite clear just how thrilled she was to be joining the show. Again, there were no details on just what she'll be doing on the show, but still...half a season's worth of Felicia Day on Eureka? Yeah, we don't need any convincing.
And what about the show's major cast addition that's already happened? James Callis explained why he took on the role so soon after playing Gaius Frakking Baltar:
"To be really honest, I wasn't looking for an opportunity to return to the genre. But when you're presented with an amazing opportunity - you're going to be traveling through time, from the 1940s, a bit of a mystery, a fish out of water - I just had to take it."
As for the altered timeline itself, co-creator Jaime Paglia explained it's something they've wanted to do for a very, very long time:
"The network wanted us to stretch our wings in season four and prove we actually deserved one. One of the ideas that we had had for an episode going way back was 'Founder's Day', and we had an episode where everyone would wake up and do things that we didn't normally see on the show, and over the course of the episode they would figure out what's going on."
He explained SyFy was thrilled with the altered timeline plot, even telling us that one executive did a little happy dance when they said Fargo would be the new head of Global Dynamics. Admittedly, the executives suddenly got very, very nervous when they told them that they wouldn't be pressing a reset button, that this would be the new status quo for Eureka. They said they won't be copping out of the big cliffhanger, and that there are just too many great stories to tell in this new timeline.
One such story is Zane, who's suddenly been reverted to his original roguish state. The producers explained that they felt Zane had lost some of his spark as he became reformed. They wanted to see Jo have to struggle again to find the good in Zane, because everything that made him good is still there - it's just a lot harder to see now. This was, in the end, an effort to get Zane back to the elements that made them fall in love with him in the first place.
We asked whether the show could ever really go back to completely self-contained stories like the show had done for so long, and they agreed it's going to be a challenge telling stories that aren't somehow involved with the altered timeline arc, but there will be some episodes that focus really heavily on the timeline change, and some that will feel more or less like more traditional episodes of Eureka.
On Fargo's big promotion, Neil Grayston exclaimed:
"Fargo's running Global Dynamics! That's awesome! It's the worst idea in the world but the funnest thing to do. He has access to every single button now. That's a lot of doomsday scenarios."
We later asked Neil Grayston whether we might someday get to see the original, fearsome Fargo of the new timeline. He said there aren't any plans right now to do it, but he thought it would be interesting to see something like old security footage of the characters from the new timeline. (Or, as we suggested, an old Eureka episode retold with the characters in their altered roles and personalities.) For now, the show will focus on Fargo trying to be his altered timeline counterpart and attempting to work out what he did to get so much power and authority.
And he isn't the only person on the show getting additional authority, although most of this will be behind the camera. Colin Ferguson (Carter), Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Allison) and Joe Morton (Henry) will all be directing episode's this year. We didn't learn anything about what the last two will be doing with their episodes, but Colin Ferguson will be directing Eureka's rocket trip to the moon.
Now on to Warehouse 13. Showrunner Jack Kenny gave us some tantalizing hints as to what lies ahead for the show. Episodes 11 and 12 will involve some heavy-duty green screen as they head to Egypt's Warehouse 2, and there's a big holiday episode coming up in December. There's also a very cool new character joining the show, as Iron Man and Star Trek actor Faran Tahir is coming on board later this season as a new regent of the Warehouse.
We asked him if the H.G. Wells arc is the start of a shift away from artifact-of-the-week plots to more ongoing stories, and he essentially split the difference between the two. He explained that the characters are what drives the show's arcs, and they build a lot of mini-arcs around the guest stars and how long they'll be around for. He also said that they always want to wrap any ongoing story they're telling around a new artifact, and to be sure both aspects comment in some way on the characters.
A big topic for the Warehouse 13 cast was all their romantic entanglements. On the multiple girlfriends he'll have over the course of the next season, Eddie McClintock explained:
Pete likes chicks. I've been lucky enough to have a writing team that lets Pete do other things than besides solve cases and look for artifacts and Paula Garces and Tia Carrere do a great job in fulfilling that little niche, and I got a little kiss with Jaime Murray [H.G. Wells].
Claudia also gets a boyfriend this season, and Artie will have his abilities as a father figure severely taxed in advising her on a topic he knows nothing about, leading to a lot of "awkward clumsiness" between the two. Artie will indeed develop a crush on a librarian played by Lindsay Wagner, although all indications suggest it's just going to remain an unrequited infatuation. Myka will remain without romance, although she does develop a very interesting platonic relationship with someone, and she gets to make out with a professional wrestler. (It was unclear whether Joanne Kelly considered this a fair consolation.)
And what about the mysterious Mrs. Fredric? Showrunner Jack Kenny confirmed we're going to learn a lot more about Mrs. Fredric, where she comes from, and how she's connected to the Warehouse through time. In terms of how Artie deals with the character, Saul Rubinek explained:
"There's kind of an abject terror that I keep undercover. There's a mysterious quality to this woman both as a woman and as a character. So there's a respect and just keeping my distance enough just to protect ourselves."
C.C.H. Pounder said she actually knows nothing about her character's identity, and she honestly likes it that way. She speculated that fans would likely figure out what was going on with Mrs. Fredric long before she did. If nothing else, we know she won't be getting any romantic entanglements anytime soon. As Jack Kenny explained, her lover is the Warehouse, quipping, "It's big, dark, and complex - what more could a woman want?"
When the panel was asked how big the Warehouse actually is, the answers ran the gamut from extremely large to impossibly huge. Joanne Kelly said it was infinite, while Allison Scagliotti suggested it was constantly expanding, much like the universe itself. Saul Rubinek tried for a more prosaic answer, guessing that, since the Warehouse is the sum of all twelve that came before it, it must extend about three miles into the mountain. Jack Kenny suggested the precise dimensions didn't matter - what was really important is that we never see the back of the warehouse, that it continue to go on forever.
He also mentioned a cool feature of Warehouse 13 that most of the cast didn't even know about: an observatory at the top of the mountain with a giant telescope and a spiral staircase linking it back to the warehouse proper. He explained that they were going to show it at the end of this season, but the story changed. He later explained to us that the story was going to be about an asteroid headed towards Earth, but they decided that was just too huge a story to tell at this point in the show. He did confirm that that's still a story they hope to tell, along with an intriguing story about the most sinister artifact imaginable: Hitler's microphone.
Of course, so much of the discussion was centered on the big crossover between the two shows, particularly with Neil Grayston and Allison Scagliotti moderating the panels for each other's shows. Scagliotti explained she lobbied for three things in the new season: a boyfriend, a crossover with Fargo, and to brandish a Tesla gun - and she got all of it! The Eureka trailer showed the two on the ground together, and the two confirmed there would be a little romance between the two characters:
Neil Grayston: "There was lots of explosion and lots of fire."
Alison Scagliotti: "There was romance. Sparks were bound to fly."
And it hardly sounds like the end of the line for these crossovers. Saul Rubinek hopes Artie crosses over at some point, suggesting to us that perhaps his Eureka character could be revealed as Artie's twin brother who changed his name. (Or they could just sort of ignore it, like Doctor Who and Star Trek have so often done with actors in multiple roles.) We asked Jack Kenny whether we might ever see a gigantic, JLA/JSA-style team-up between the two shows. He said it would be hugely difficult to do justice for all the members of such a big cast, but he definitely sounded up for it - suggesting that could even be the premise of an eventual movie. And, if nothing else, there may be a minor but permanent crossover between the two shows: at the end of the Warehouse 13 panel, Neil Grayston suggested they add another artifact to the Warehouse shelves that is the symbol of one of the world's great geniuses...and then gave them a Fargo bobblehead.