Steven Moffat reveals what we should be asking, even if he's not ready to answer. Screenwriter David Goyer explains why Superman can be a killer, and what that means for his future film appearances. Runaways writer Drew Pearce thinks there's still a chance the movie could happen. Plus tons more on Person of Interest, Revolution, and Agents of SHIELD. Spoilers!
Top image from Doctor Who.
Screenwriter David Goyer discusses the controversial decision to have Superman kill General Zod at the end of Man of Steel, and in the process he hints at how Superman’s choice will reverberate through the sequel:
"We were pretty sure that was going to be controversial," Goyer said. "It's not like we were deluding ourselves, and we weren't just doing it to be cool. We felt, in the case of Zod, we wanted to put the character in an impossible situation and make an impossible choice. This is one area, and I've written comic books as well and this is where I disagree with some of my fellow comic book writers - 'Superman doesn't kill'. It's a rule that exists outside of the narrative and I just don't believe in rules like that. I believe when you're writing film or television, you can't rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film.
“So the situation was, Zod says 'I'm not going to stop until you kill me or I kill you.' The reality is no prison on the planet could hold him and in our film Superman can't fly to the moon, and we didn't want to come up with that crutch. Also our movie was in a way Superman Begins, he's not really Superman until the end of the film. We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he's Superman and because people idolize him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard.”
Now, what he calls a “narrative rule” is what I’d probably call “an unshakable moral principle so intrinsic to who Superman is for at least the last 50 years that to remove it arguably undermines what makes the character special,” but eh, it’s really not worth getting worked up over, I realize there are a ton of counterexamples to this in the comics and other media (hell, Man of Steel isn’t even the first time Superman has directly killed Zod), and, anyway, I do see his point. Basically, I guess the main takeaway is that Zod’s death is a learning experience for Superman. [Digital Spy]
Photographer James Beddoes offered these tidbits:
"Can't believe I just got to look at official production still from Guardians of the Galaxy of Ronan and Nebula. I can't describe how cool they look and how much it made my day! The costumes look so amazing, Lee Pace is going to be amazing as Ronan, he looks even cooler then Thanos did in Avengers!... He has a lot of prosthetics on his forehead & chin but you can tell it's his face, his skin is a similar blue color to Mystique in the X-men films!"
Screenwriter Drew Pearce, who went on to co-write Iron Man 3 after Runaways was shelved, says he still holds out hope that it could find a place on Marvel’s Phase Three slate after The Avengers: Age of Ultron:
"We were really close to being made, and then this movie started to happen called The Avengers," explained Pearce, whose screenplay for the project was his first work for Marvel. "Oddly, it pulled focus from the unheard-of brand Runaways, and it really did kind of consume the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's there, maybe it'll be a Phase Three movie, I really hope so, I'm really proud of it and I think it'll be a brilliant film, but I think it all depends what Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel, what his master plan is."
When asked if Matt Smith’s final episodes will reveal why the TARDIS blew up back in series five – which was so long ago I forgot that was even a thing that happened, to be totally honest – Steven Moffat says Smith’s regeneration story this Christmas will answer far bigger questions than that:
“Oh, never mind the TARDIS blowing up, what about the endless, bitter war Kovarian was on about? And what’s Trenzalore? And the oldest question in the universe? And what exactly do they mean, silence will fall? Anyway, I’m off to a readthrough…”
Showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon explain how the show will draw on the many different kinds of beings that inhabit the world of Marvel:
Tancharoen: Marvel is a very vast and diverse universe.
Whedon: There are gods and aliens. So we have a lot to play with. There's a spy aspect of the show and SHIELD is some of the most sci-fi in the Marvel universe because it's about gadgets. So we have a lot of different things to play with. It will be a mixture of both. We will be focusing on having every story having a beginning, middle and end, but some of it will be mythology and some of it will standalone. And our character runs will continue through all of that.
The pilot sets up the story about Level 7 clearance and bringing Coulson back. What kind of balance will we have in terms of setting up that central story?
Whedon: We're going to try to tease it out slowly enough to make it thrilling and not drive people crazy. A lot of shows will keep having a hatch within a hatch or keep asking questions without giving answers or payoffs. We're definitely focused on paying off anything we bring up and making it as rewarding as possible.
Tancharoen: I like to look at Coulson's journey to the answer as a sort of existential crisis with a Marvel twist.
They also discuss a few of the things they can’t do on the show:
Tancharoen: We can't ever say "mutant."
Whedon: There's a database that's tailored to our show with the properties we can use as well as the properties that are owned by other studios and things that are flagged for major franchises. There are certain areas we can't go because we don't want to step on the toes of the movies. We've had free reign. There are certain rules in terms of the Marvel brand. Marvel is very focused on being grounded — and it is our world with the one twist that they're superheroes. There's no Metropolis, there's no Gotham. It's New York City and Chicago, and in the cinematic universe the process of powers is pretty young. They say it's only been a couple years since Iron Man in terms of our timeline in the universe. So the idea in our world that powers exist is new to the population and SHIELD's job description. It used to be keeping those things secret and that has now changed, so we're dealing with some of that.
There’s still plenty more at the link. [Live Feed]
And here are some thoughts from Joss Whedon on what ideas and lessons he was able to draw from previous shows in devising Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. They are mostly just variations on things he has said before, but he takes a shot at Fox, so I imagine many of you will enjoy this:
Anybody who’s ever seen one of my shows knows I love the ensembles; I love the peripheral characters. This is basically a TV series of “The Zeppo” [an episode of Buffy], which was a very deliberate deconstruction of a Buffy episode in order to star the person who mattered the least. The people who are ignored are the people I’ve been writing as my heroes from day one. With S.H.I.E.L.D., the idea of [Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson] as the long-suffering bureaucrat who deals with Tony Stark’s insufferability is delightful and hits the core of something I’m also writing about all the time—the little guy versus the big faceless organization. Now, somebody might point out, “But isn’t S.H.I.E.L.D. a big faceless organization?” It absolutely is, and that’s something we’re going to deal with in the series. But what’s really interesting to me is there’s a world of super-heroes and superstars, they’re celebrities, and that’s a complicated world—particularly complicated for people who don’t have the superpowers, the disenfranchised. Now, obviously there’s going to be high jinks and hilarity and sex and gadgets and all the things that made people buy the comics. But that’s what the show really is about to me, and that’s what Clark Gregg embodies: the Everyman.
Is there anything from your previous TV experiences where you’re like, “Now I know this, therefore I’m doing it this way”?
Well, don’t work for Fox. Cast for sanity. And the thing I brought to the other shows is the thing I still try to do: Have a different reason to tell a story every week and not just have a different story. This is the hardest thing, because S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t lend itself to the same level of absurdity; it’s a more straightforward show. I want these stories to connect to the people who are solving them. That won’t always be the case; sometimes it will be a cool story with character stuff that resonates, and that’s not bad, but I want more than that.
Executive producer Greg Plageman explains why the third season isn’t exactly about the search for the Machine:
Don’t know if I’d call it the search for it so much as, “What is The Machine up to?” I’m not certain its physical location is of paramount importance, more so than, “What is the Machine evolving into? What sort of an organism is it becoming? And is it expanding beyond the parameters of what even Finch designed?”
Is it that Root will be in every episode, or that you wanted to guarantee Amy was available when you need her?
More so the latter. What Root represents is a diverging point of view about The Machine’s potential, someone who is just as capable as Harold Finch but has a very different philosophical opinion about how they should be treating The Machine. We think that’s the most fun, when a villain really starts to make a lot of sense. Where we start this year, there’s a third entity that The Machine is now reaching out to, and that’s where it starts to get interesting, in term of its relationship with Root.
He also reveals two characters he hopes to explore further this year:
Two of the characters we would like to get a little bit more into this season are Detective Carter – what happened in her personal past, how she would up where she is. Also, we think [flashbacks are] a really good way to know a newer character like Shaw, so we think we’ve got a really fantastic Episode, 5, that deals with that. I think people are going to find that character dimensionalized in a way they hadn’t thought of.
There’s more at the link. [TV Line]
Newly promoted series regular Sarah Shahi, late of Fairly Legal, discusses what’s ahead for her character Samantha Shaw this season:
“There’s just gonna be a lot more killing. Another interesting thing is we’re gonna go a bit deeper into the characters’ personal lives, and specifically with Shaw, we get to see why she is the way she is.”
Here’s a sneak peek and a promo for next week’s third episode, “For the Triumph of Evil…” [SpoilerTV]
And here’s the synopsis for the subsequent episode, “The Lesser Key of Solomon”:
Lt. Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane search for Abbie's estranged sister, Jenny (guest star Lyndie Greenwood), who has escaped from a Sleepy Hollow psychiatric hospital. In a game-changing episode, which includes flashbacks to the real Boston Tea Party, Abbie and Ichabod discover more about the evil they are facing... and finally learn its name in the haunting, all-new "The Lesser Key of Solomon" episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW airing Monday, Oct. 7 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Creator Eric Kripke says the characters are no longer trying to turn the power back on in the second season:
No, we wanted to get off it. It was inevitable, because so many of the characters were such a ground zero of why the power went off in the first place. So we dove with both feet into that mythology, and we took it to its logical end… Their driving impulse is these new bad guys that we have in Season 2 called the Patriots, this insidious conspiracy of people who are draping themselves in the American flag, but they’re not America. They’re planting their tentacles in all sorts of different storylines, and our heroes have to realize what they’re up to and stop them. The character Randall in Season 1 was the first of them, but he was just a vanguard of a thousand more of them that are out from Cuba. It becomes a more interesting story of trying to uncover the mystery and conspiracy of what this dark force is up to.
He also describes some of the season’s new characters:
A few of them are from this Texas town called Willoughby, which is a Twilight Zone reference. Willoughby is Rachel’s hometown, and it’s where Miles brings her in the aftermath of her nervous breakdown. They take her to her father, Dr. Gene Porter, played by Stephen Collins (7th Heaven).
Aaron, who also settles in this town, finds himself a love interest, who’s played by Jessica Collins (Rubicon). She’s a really interesting character, because she’s intelligent and funny and also devoutly religious. There’s a lot of people who have a real, reasonable point of view on God, and we thought it was interesting to explore that — especially in this world, where they’ve returned, in so many ways, to a simpler time.
Then on Neville and Jason’s side, they do head back to the East Coast to try to find Neville’s wife, and it’s through their eyes that we really see the devastation and the chaos that the East Coast has descended into since they lost the cities of Atlanta and Philadelphia. They meet the character that Nicole Ari Parker (Soul Food) plays, which is really one of the first of these Patriots who we get to know, who oversees a refugee camp. Her name is Secretary Allenford. She starts, like all of the Patriots [do], with this very benign mask, but there’s something much darker beneath it.
Costar David Ramsey offers this tease for the second season:
"Craziness, mayhem. We're taking it up a level. Season one ended with literally a bang and this is going to get even bigger. A lot of bad guys, Bronze Tiger, Black Canary, a lot of stuff is going to happen. All the bad guys in season one, if they were nine, this season they're 12."
Here’s a pair of promos for season nine. [KSiteTV]
Additional reporting by Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders.