CCI: Eric Kripke and Jon Favreau Shine a Light On NBC’s Revolution

Giancarlo Esposito, left, and JD Pardo (photos by Keri Luna)

Attendees packed into a ballroom at Comic-Con International for a screening of the Revolution pilot may have been expecting twists and turns from NBC’s new apocalyptic adventure series, but nobody was expecting an appearance by director Jon Favreau.

“Welcome to the Iron Man 3 panel,” he joked as walked onto the stage. “They double-booked me, so here I am.”

Bravely withstanding the catcalls and shouts of “I love you,” Favreau warned fans that what they were about to see wasn’t the final version of the pilot. “You’ll see – there’s some temporary stuff in there and there’ll be some changes by the time you see it on air,” he said.

Favreau said he’s proud of the show, and is looking forward to working with Executive Producer J.J. Abrams and creator Eric Kripke (Supernatural) over the course of the season.

Then the lights went out, both literally and figuratively, as Kripke’s Revolution takes a decidedly dark look at a world without electricity.

Jon Favreau

After a cataclysmic pulse leaves all of the world’s technology – cars, telephones, lights, batteries – mysteriously inoperable, civilization rapidly devolves. Fifteen years pass, but no one has figured out why the power went out, and more importantly, no one seems to know how to turn it back on. In a small farming community, a young woman named Charlie (played by Tracy Spiridakos from Being Human) embarks on a journey to retrieve her brother from the cunning Captain Neville (Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad) and the militia that kidnapped him and killed her father. Along the way, she meets a handsome stranger with questionable motives (JD Pardo of American Dreams) and the badass uncle (Billy Burke from The Twilight Saga) who disappeared from her life after the world was thrown into darkness.

Judging from the footage shown at Comic-Con, Revolution is an ambitious undertaking with a number of very expensive-looking CGI effects. Guided by Favreau, the epic shot of planes falling out of the night sky in the moments after the power fails looks positively blockbuster-worthy, and so do the vivid decaying mattes of Wrigley Field and other iconic locations. The cast is interesting, particularly Esposito, who is clearly having fun taking a page or three out of the Christoph Waltz / “Hans Landa” playbook. Although not entirely successful, Revolution asks interesting questions — and based on the crowd reaction, it should have no problem drawing audiences back for a second episode.

Art imitated life when the lights didn’t immediately come back up once the episode concluded. After more than a minute in darkness, amid uncomfortable murmurs and nervous laughter, the lights were finally restored and moderator Michael Schneider of TV Guide brought out series creator Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and actors Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito and JD Pardo.

Eric Kripke, left, and Billy Burke

Schneider’s first question went to Kripke, who was asked point blank what’s going on in Revolution. “I’m glad you asked. I’m going to reveal every secret of the entire show right now – for this crowd,” Kripke joked before promising he wouldn’t make the same mistake other genre shows have made. “We have the answers. I can promise you that the mythology will move forward at an aggressive pace and we’ll answer the questions and then we’ll ask new questions, so it will be fun. It will be a really rollicking, ass-kicking show.”

Confessing that he is incapable of writing a “cop show,” Kripke compared Revolution to a big, mythic Joseph Campbell epic quest story. “My whole idea, the origin of the show, is just finding a way to do like a really – Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or Wizard of Oz or The Odyssey, but just like a really epic saga across America with swords and good and evil and heroes and villains.”

Burke explained that the action sequences and fight scenes are all the work of stunt coordinator Jeff Wolfe. “He did the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and stuff, and he really sort of created our own style of fighting for the show, which is what Mr. Kripke had suggested and looked for and it’s kind of nothing but two tons of fun,” the actor said with a smile.

Before the panel wrapped up, Kripke had the final word about the tone, and ultimate direction, of the drama. “The mythology is important,” he said, “but I really think it’s about characters and it’s about family and it’s about freedom.”

Revolution premieres Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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Comments

  • Guydc3

    Show looks great and I’m excited to see it. This one thing though, “and more importantly, no one seems to know how to turn it back on.”, bothers me. I guess it bothers me in all stories like this. Unless every living scientist died and all knowledge was erased, how would no one be unable to recreate and rebuild technology. Considering this isn’t the middle ages. I know, I know…suspend your disbelief Guy, just watch the show. hahaha

  • http://squidoo.com/retroblogs Atomic Kommie Comics

    I don’t think it’s a case of rebuilding the tech.
    Even if systems are intact, they don’t function, whether due to some sort of energy dampening effect or whatever.
    Batteries don’t work. An simple electromagnetic pulse wouldn’t affect them, especially if they weren’t hooked up to anything at the time of the pulse.

    The pendant shown at the end of the trailer seems to be able to negate the dampening effect locally so that tech in the area will function.
    Also, since someone responds to the message, there must be other pendants or something similar elsewhere on the planet.

  • Guydc3

     And now, it doesn’t bother me as much. Thanks for the well thought out hypothesis Atomic.

  • http://twitter.com/Ja_ke_ Jake Robinson

    Actually it would be MUCH harder than you think if you lose the entire grid… This has to be a result of an EMP – Electromagnetic Pulse… and even if “batteries” worked it would be of little consequence trying to rebuild a “fried” grid… you see, when an EMP is triggered (by a nuclear blast) if positioned correctly then every transformer in America would be a molten glob of metal.

    Now, imagine YOU are an employee of the local electric company… power goes off and every major component of your system is fried…. but worse than that… if’s not like you can pick up a landline phone that runs off of DC and generally works without the power co’s system on… you, as in employee can’t even talk to your boss… you can’t get in your company truck and even drive to the co’s maintenance yard.  NOTHING ELECTRIC WORKS…

    now, ask yourself a question… are you gonna try to risk life and limb traveling by foot or bike to your company’s work yard or are you gonna high-tail it to your own home to check on your own family? 

    next… you realize you don’t have any water… the electric water pumps used to fill up the town’s water tower are off… you are about to lose every bit of your food in your fridge and freezer…

    after about 12-24 hours people realize this is not just a normal blackout… they can’t use cell phones and their battery or crank-up emergency radio doesn’t work and worse there is NO ONE broadcasting anyway…

    Then there’s a run on any food in any retail store… they are not open cuz there is no way to process payments… some stores will errantly process manual cash transactions or even break out the manual crecit card swiper (with carbon paper) until they finally figure out they are wasting their time…

    plus, just how many people will have any amount of cash on them to buy anything? So… people will start getting hungry/thirsty in a few days and the next thing you’ve got is full-on loot-mode and most food in a grocery store is only good for a normal 3 day stash…

    bad stuff starts happening in only 2-3 days… you’d better be ready to either bug out to a rural pre-stocked hunker-down fort or bug-in and if you do that you’d better paint your windows black and hope no one smells your food cooking that your have stored (you might be ready for a year of food supply)

    again, rebuilding is slim… infact the backbone super-transformers, the ones that are 750KV (maybe 350kv can’t remember) are only about 2,000 nationwide… and the only place they are manufactored is in Germany… We as a nation only replace normally about 5 per year as regular duty replacement… how will you get the word to the germans that you need a couple of hundred?  And, if this is a world-wide event you can bet your ass they will not sell them to anyone at any price even if you could figure out how to communicate with them.

    I am certain if there is a catrostrophic EMP event detenoted in the right location America will be back to the mid 1700′s with 21st century everything-done-for-you technology…hell people don’t even have, keep or read paper maps anymore… no GPS for you sir…

    There will be a small handfull of folks that know how to store the basic equipment in an EMP-proof container most likely ham radio equipment and a way to cobble together a small DIY generator to power it up… others doing the same will eventually create a network to talk.  But mainly to just ask how things are going and do you wanna barter? 

    There may be a small contingent of the upper DC gov’t/military that have hardened equipment and a place to retreat to try and formulate a “next step” but I imagine they will wait until about 90% of our population has perished due to starvation, civil unrest and disease… this is the exact casualty figures our REAL gov’t has projected will happen in the first 12 mos following a major event.

    Anyway, me and my buddy have been studying this potential “black swan” event for several years and my “engineer” buddy is very well read and studied about what is legit or not about EMPs… and we are launching a Revolution Fancast (Podcast) shortly… go check it out (as of 8-1-=12 we have just secured the url and installed WordPress… we are working feverishly to lauanch prior to Revolution launch… come and listen and participate… 
    RevolutionFanCast.com

    The Cogitation, co-host

  • manthatslame

    Actually it would be MUCH harder than you think if you lose the entire grid… This has to be a result of an EMP – Electromagnetic Pulse… and even if “batteries” worked it would be of little consequence trying to rebuild a “fried” grid… you see, when an EMP is triggered (by a nuclear blast) if positioned correctly then every transformer in America would be a molten glob of metal. Now, imagine YOU are an employee of the local electric company… power goes off and every major component of your system is fried…. but worse than that… if’s not like you can pick up a landline phone that runs off of DC and generally works without the power co’s system on… you, as in employee can’t even talk to your boss… you can’t get in your company truck and even drive to the co’s maintenance yard.  NOTHING ELECTRIC WORKS… now, ask yourself a question… are you gonna try to risk life and limb traveling by foot or bike to your company’s work yard or are you gonna high-tail it to your own home to check on your own family?  next… you realize you don’t have any water… the electric water pumps used to fill up the town’s water tower are off… you are about to lose every bit of your food in your fridge and freezer… after about 12-24 hours people realize this is not just a normal blackout… they can’t use cell phones and their battery or crank-up emergency radio doesn’t work and worse there is NO ONE broadcasting anyway… Then there’s a run on any food in any retail store… they are not open cuz there is no way to process payments… some stores will errantly process manual cash transactions or even break out the manual crecit card swiper (with carbon paper) until they finally figure out they are wasting their time…plus, just how many people will have any amount of cash on them to buy anything? So… people will start getting hungry/thirsty in a few days and the next thing you’ve got is full-on loot-mode and most food in a grocery store is only good for a normal 3 day stash… bad stuff starts happening in only 2-3 days… you’d better be ready to either bug out to a rural pre-stocked hunker-down fort or bug-in and if you do that you’d better paint your windows black and hope no one smells your food cooking that your have stored (you might be ready for a year of food supply)again, rebuilding is slim… infact the backbone super-transformers, the ones that are 750KV (maybe 350kv can’t remember) are only about 2,000 nationwide… and the only place they are manufactored is in Germany… We as a nation only replace normally about 5 per year as regular duty replacement… how will you get the word to the germans that you need a couple of hundred?  And, if this is a world-wide event you can bet your ass they will not sell them to anyone at any price even if you could figure out how to communicate with them.I am certain if there is a catrostrophic EMP event detenoted in the right location America will be back to the mid 1700′s with 21st century everything-done-for-you technology…hell people don’t even have, keep or read paper maps anymore… no GPS for you sir…There will be a small handfull of folks that know how to store the basic equipment in an EMP-proof container most likely ham radio equipment and a way to cobble together a small DIY generator to power it up… others doing the same will eventually create a network to talk.  But mainly to just ask how things are going and do you wanna barter?  There may be a small contingent of the upper DC gov’t/military that have hardened equipment and a place to retreat to try and formulate a “next step” but I imagine they will wait until about 90% of our population has perished due to starvation, civil unrest and disease… this is the exact casualty figures our REAL gov’t has projected will happen in the first 12 mos following a major event.Anyway, me and my buddy have been studying this potential “black swan” event for several years and my “engineer” buddy is very well read and studied about what is legit or not about EMPs… and we are launching a Revolution Fancast (Podcast) shortly… go check it out (as of 8-1-=12 we have just secured the url and installed WordPress… we are working feverishly to lauanch prior to Revolution launch… come and listen and participate… 
    RevolutionFanCast.comThe Cogitation, co-host

  • http://squidoo.com/retroblogs Atomic Kommie Comics

    An EMP wouldn’t fry non-operational or shielded electronics or batteries (which create electricity via a chemical reaction).
    Plus, if damaged components in electronics were replaced (and hard drives reinitialized with CD or DVD copies of the operating systems) the iPads, laptops, et al WOULD function.
    The fact that generators (even simple gas-powered ones, windmills, or water wheels) are non-functional indicates something BESIDES or INSTEAD of an EMP happened.

  • manthatslame

    I agree with you.  That’s why I said “even if batteries worked it would be of little consequence” cuz the biggest impact is the grid is fried… I would be great to at least have a solar charger and an Ipod that was packed with music – you can be that would be a “delicacy” post-emp.  This begs the question… is this a “typical” EMP event and “hollywood” is just getting it wrong or is there a hypothetical event like an EMP that takes out other (normally not effected) items like batteries… it is easy for me to think the writers did research to realize that an EMP event would be a perfect backdrop for a series but didn’t do enough research to realize they are taking a bit of artistic license…

    IF this is a bonafied EMP then this is the sort of stuff we will disect in our upcoming podcast about Revolution. 

    I have already spotted a couple of anomalies like the plane falling out of the sky… did you notice the lights are on?  or, how does pressing a button on a pendent power up what looks like a first generation PC?

    For most viewers these details won’t matter much… but for those who appreciate the extreme nature of an EMP or CME and you realize it is a distinct probability you can’t help wanting to figure out what the aftermath might look like and can YOU prepare to live beyond it…

  • http://squidoo.com/retroblogs Atomic Kommie Comics

    For individuals “The Grid” would be made irrelevant, as it already is for thousands who generate their own electicity through various means.
    Individual solar/hydro/gasoline powered generators could be made functional after an EMP.
    In fact, many “survivalists” have prepared for just such an eventuality, stockpiling fuel and shielded generators!
    If the event in Revoution was just an EMP, anybody with a working generator would be able to rule others by providing rationed electricity….yet NOBODY in Revolution (except pendant wearers) has electricity!
    And, the pendants don’t seem to provide power, only allow it to flow from source to tech!

  • manthatslame

    Again, I think we agree.  However, you would also agree barring the very small percentage of preppers who will have some sort of self-gen power that most of the population will perish – upwards of 90% of the population cuz there certainly will not be any way to replace the fragile just-in-time inventory food system we depend on….

    As far as how the pendent works I can’t comment as I have not seen the pilot – just the trailers and I can’t speculate on the nature of the event.