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The stars, writers and producers of NBC’s Grimm appeared before a packed and receptive audience at Comic-Con International in San Diego to discuss the fan-favorite show and give a peek into what viewers can expect from the upcoming third season.
Lester Holt of NBC News moderated the panel, which featured creators Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, executive producers Todd Milliner and Norberto Barba, and actors David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Reggie Lee, Sasha Roiz, Bree Turner and Claire Coffee.
Before the panelists took the stage, the audience was treated to a short video presentation starting with a recap of Season 2 followed by five minutes of the Season 3 premiere. Following the video, Holt informed the audience the scene they just watched had been filmed four days earlier.
“Sasha, are you going to take your shirt off again this season?” Holt asked, leading to screaming from the ladies in attendance.
“I think there is a slight possibility,” smiled Roiz, who plays Captain Sean Renard.
“Nick’s character now has a face full of green spit. That means he’s going over to the dark side, right?” Holt asked.
“He is definitely going over to the dark side, and he may get another face full of green spit before it’s all over. He’s going to be like you’ve never seen him before. He’s going to be a bit of a monster,” Greenwalt said, implying that Nick’s transformation is going to change the relationship amongst the team. “It sure does change [the dynamic] because he won’t know who his friends are, and everybody’s an enemy to him. He’s going to be going up against anybody that’s between him and the bar.”
Giuntoli was asked what it’s like to have his character “reborn,” and whether he is told ahead of time how far the character is going to change.
“It’s very nice to get to be angry,” Giuntoli replied. “Grimm is really fun. There is going to be a lot of fighting in the first episode. I’ve only seen the first three scripts of the new season so I’m only a couple of episodes ahead of everybody else.”
“So your death is only a temporary condition?” Holt asked.
“Ahhh … we don’t know. We don’t know,” Giuntoli teased as the audience laughed. “In an effort to keep my job, I’m going to plead the Fifth.”
Greenwalt added that the writers are only two weeks ahead of the cast, and they themselves don’t know exactly where the characters are headed.
Tulloch said she can’t wait to see what’s coming up in terms of team dynamics. “I think the dynamic is going to change. Juliette has been in the dark for 44 episodes,” she said. “It will be interesting to see the obstacles. Season 2 was a completely different shift with me waking up from a coma, to waking up and not remembering the love of my life, to lusting after Captain Renard, which was very fun for me, and then losing my mind.”
Weir Mitchell said he learned about developments with his character not from the producers, but from what Bree told him the producers had told TV Guide. She sent him a message saying, “We are getting married?!?!”
“It’s nice to know what’s coming up on the horizon,” said the actor, who plays a Wieder Blutbad, “but the fun of it is the difficulty getting there. So I look forward to the obstacles that we’ll face on the way to our … nuptials.”
Turner noted it’s nice to know what the end destination is for the characters but not knowing the exact details of the journey that gets them there. “It’s kind of liberating,” she said.
“I like the slow reveal,” Roiz offered. “I like keeping the audience guessing, and I like keeping myself guessing. It’s fun to have a character that is kind of shifting sides from episode to episode. I look forward to all the various machinations he has in store.”
“I am campaigning in Season 3 for a first name and a second costume,” Lee joked, referring to how his character Sgt. Wu has yet to attain either, eliciting loud clapping and cheering from the audience.
Holt asked if the wisecracking Wu is known for is improvised or written into the script.
“That is all Todd Milliner over there, who I emulate,” Lee said, noting he originally auditioned for the role of Hank, which went to Russell Hornsby instead. Despite missing out on the part, the producers called Lee back in and said they were going to create a character for him, leading to the addition of Wu.
While preparing for the panel, Holt said he discovered the cast had a strong camaraderie that’s rare for many shows. He asked if shooting the series on location in Portland contributed to that bond.
“Oh, we love Portland,” Tulloch said. “I think being away from L.A. on location definitely contributes to chemistry-building. We all hang out a lot. Three of us live in the same building. We show up at each other’s apartments in pajamas. It’s like summer camp.”
Weir Mitchell added, “Portland is a city that takes its iconoclasm really seriously, but in a good way. It’s not pretentious. It’s honestly a different type of town. Being in this business, you get shipped to where ever the work is, and when you get shipped to a town like Portland, it’s just a total gift because the city is very welcoming. It’s perfect for the show because a lot of the locations in the Grimm fairy tales take place in the Black Forest. You can’t really make a forest away from Portland because it really is a rainforest there and the trees are 120 feet tall.”
He also mentioned that the people of Portland are great to them because they feel Grimm “does the city justice.” “We show the way it looks, how the people are, they recognize that we represent the city well,” he said. Turner added that they support local businesses while shooting and hire local crew members.
Hornsby credited social media in helping get Grimm into the public dialogue.
“That is how we are so quickly able to get pictures of shirtless Sasha out there. Shirtless Wu is next,” Milliner joked as Lee looked embarrassed. “Hey, you said you wanted a new uniform.”
Greenwalt said that when he and Kouf were developing Grimm, they conceived the bad guys as “the evil within that you can’t see.”
“I knew I didn’t want there to be two separate worlds — a fairy tale world and a real world,” he continued. “Jim said, ‘What if you could see the Big Bad Wolf in the child molester or the Three Little Pigs in the greedy lawyer?’ And my brain went ‘Kapowee! We’ve got a good one!'”
Greenwalt hinted at some new Wesen (creatures visible to the Grimms) that will appear in Season 3, including gators in the sewer, super-sexy mermaids, and faith healers, “But no Sharknados,” he joked. “The Bauerschwein will also be returning. We’ve got all kinds of new critters coming.”
“There’s a bad one coming for Wu that’s going to cause major problems for him,” Kouf added.
Greenwalt also hinted viewers might see a second “key” this season, which will eventually lead to something big and unbelievable.
Knowing the creators are loath to spoil any secrets from the series, a fan asked if the writers could hint at what the object the keys lead to is most similar to — an ultimate weapon, immortality or something that changes the balance of Grimm, Wesen and humans by shifting the power from one to the other.
“That’s a really good question,” Greenwalt answered. “The legend is — it could be any or all of the above,” leading to roaring laughter and applause.
Grimm returns Friday, Oct. 25 on NBC.