"Agents of SHIELD's" Edward James Olmos Talks Instigating Mutiny and the Real SHIELD
The cast and creators of Revolution, the No. 1 scripted series on NBC, appeared before an almost-full room at Comic-Con International to discuss the sci-fi drama’s upcoming second season.
The discussion featured creator and executive producer Eric Kripke, writers Rockne S. O’Bannon and Bed Edlund, and cast members Tracy Spiridakos (Charlie Matheson), Billy Burke (Miles Matheson), Giancarlo Esposito (Tom Neville), David Lyons (Sebastian Monroe) and JD Pardo (Jason Neville). The panel was moderated by TV Guide’s Michael Schneider.
Before the panelists took the stage, those in attendance were treated to a three-minute video presentation that began with 45 seconds of quick clips summarizing the first season, including the finale moment when the main characters arrive at The Tower and heroically try to stop two nuclear missiles that have been launched at Philadelphia and Atlanta after the power has been restored.
The video then switches to quick clips of what to expect in the second season. The most notable takeaways are that the core characters will stumble upon a second group that calls itself “The Patriots” and claims to be part of the U.S. government, which it insists “still exists,” and a shocking moment where it appears that one of the main characters, Aaron Pittman (Zak Orth), is fatally stabbed. That moment made a majority of the audience audibly gasp.
Kripke immediately addressed the cliffhanger, and said the restored power will only be temporary, and that the missiles will not be stopped. “We’re trying to be the first television series to destroy two American cities in the first 15 seconds,” he said. “It’s a very intense second season because the East Coast is completely destabilized, the power is back off, and we are back to basics and asking the question of how would we all survive in this neo-primitive world which is even more dangerous than the world we saw in Season 1 and hilarity ensues from there.”
He said he’s critical of his own work, and decided to get back to basics after rewatching some of the second half of Season 1. He noticed there was a “lot of power in this show without power.”
“You’re looking at drone strikes and machine guns and all this shit,” Kripke continued. “I was like, ‘Isn’t this supposed to be a show about swords?’”
He said he and the writers were excited to get back to basics. “A powerless world is such an exciting concept, and I feel like we didn’t get to explore it enough,” Kripke explained. “There are so many interesting areas of that world and this year we get to explore them. Warlords, and savagery, and of course, Monroe is going to be back and all the old villains. We are going to push through this, though, and have a much more expansive canvas to tell the story.”
The story is “much more than ‘Do we flip a switch off and on?’” Kripke continued. “It’s about the soul of America. It’s about God. It’s about faith. It’s about destiny. It’s about family. And then it’s also about what happened when they flipped that switch in The Tower. You saw that video of the strange lightning (in the video presentation). They may very well have changed … some reality. So if last year was about this war, then this year is about this mystery … and there is no question that we have a much better Season 2 than Season 1.”
Burke interjected, “What we enjoy about this is the more Eric talks, the more we learn. We don’t know any of this stuff. Thank you.” The rest of the actors all nodded in agreement.
The actors went on to discuss where their characters are as the season opens. Lyons said Monroe is out on his own, boxing in a type of “fight club.” “I spent most of last season behind a desk, and now I get to get out there and put ‘em up,” he said. “He’s on his own. He’s stuck in a place both emotionally and physically that is very far removed, but he probably won’t be there for long.”
Esposito said the power position Neville grabbed at the end of Season 1 may also be short-lived. “We all become steep in a situation that is far more desperate than where we left off,” he explained. “At the start of this second season you see a guy who is literally broken but also a guy who keeps thinking as to how this all came about. So somewhere inside of him he thinks maybe he can be of better good and maybe someday he’ll get beyond his own ego.”
Esposito and Pardo discussed the strained father/son relationship between Tom and Jason Neville. “All I ask my children to do is just listen,” Esposito joked. “You don’t have to agree. Don’t talk back, just listen. Maybe it could save your life. But he’s got his own tip. So it is a bit strained, but there are some interesting things that happen within that strained attitude. Sometimes parents get tired of –”
“And kids get tired, too,” Pardo interjected. “Kids get tired of their parents.”
“He’s younger! He’s more vibrant! More muscular! More handsome! And yet … he’s tired,” Esposito said as he slouched into his seat and rolled his eyes. “What I think is interesting about what seems to be cultivating here is that Neville does need to start listening to his son. Whether he likes or dislikes the fact that his son doesn’t listen, he’ll need to learn to … respect him.”
Kripke was asked about the relationship between Miles and Monroe, and how that will be developed this season. He talked about how they were such good “brothers,” and how their relationship is like that of Cain and Abel and how they were split apart by the events of Season 1.
He added that one of the things he’s looking forward to this season is the introduction of this new group calling itself The Patriots. “These people (The Patriots) come up from Cuba, and they claim to be Americans but they’re not really. … They’re bad, bad dudes. The idea was to create a villain this year that is so bad — so insidious — whose tentacles go so far that our heroes and our villains have to band together to face this threat,” Kripke said.
O’Bannon said he thinks Revolution is turning into a mythic saga in Season 2. “The villains are really big and bad and serpentine,” he teased.
He also said that Stephen Collins is joining the cast as Rachel’s (Elizabeth Mitchell) father and will play a major part in Season 2.
Edlund said that much of the season will take place in one town, so the series will “have a more stationary feel and less of a road-picture feel.” He added that Texas will be introduced this season, and that the “Texas Rangers” may also make an appearance. The show is moving production from North Carolina to Austin, Texas.
An audience member asked if the new earlier time slot will affect the depiction of violence. “The show is the show,” Kripke replied. “NBC has been incredibly supportive. Even though we are going to have a new time slot, NBC has said to just keep making the show that you’re making and keep it true and honest to the world being portrayed. I think it will be the same.”
Revolution returns Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.