[NOTE: This Article is SPOILER-FREE]
Sleepy Hollow has been one of fall’s dark horse success stories of the 2013 fall TV season, taking the legend of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman and expanding it into a much larger exploration of mythology, American history, cloaked in the skin of an odd-pair police procedural.
Series creators Alex Kurtzman (Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Len Wiseman (Underworld) joined show stars Tom Mison (Ichabod), Nicole Beharie (Lt. Abbie Mills), Orlando Jones (Captain Frank Irving) and Katia Winter (Katrina Crane) for interviews at the 2013 New York Comic-Con. Read on to find out SPOILER-FREE teases about what monsters, character arcs and plot twists are headed our way in season 1.
Kurtzman and Wiseman talked about how they approach the series’ monsters as being manifestations of the characters’ personalities – like how “The Sandman” (pictured above) was a representation of Abbie’s guilt over betraying her sister.
As for what NEW nightmarish creatures we could be seeing throughout season 1?
Len Wiseman: We have our version of the scarecrow coming up – another twist on a classic character that ties into our mythology in a way that you’ve never seen on the show.
Alex Kurtzman: We have a version of a Gollum coming up which is a character that has existed in a bunch of different mythologies and the fun part is that we planned it with enough advanced warning that we can built these designs in a way that’s really cool and we’re not throwing them together at the last minute.
Besides revealing that the actor who plays the Horseman is of intimidating size and stature, show stars Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones teased a little bit about when we can expect to see more of the demonic Hessian – as well as revealing that we’ll get to know more of his backstory leading up to his fall into darkness:
Nicole Beharie: You’ll see him again if you miss him. He’s coming back, I don’t miss him but he’s there.
Orlando Jones: What I think is cool is that you also get to learn about his back story, that’s really cool. Normally people just go use the headless horseman – but to actually see him before he was headless and to understand a bit of why he became [who he did]–
Nicole Beharie: It’s like that show ‘Wicked’ the Broadway show, why is she the witch? Why is he the horseman?
Orlando Jones: Yea it’s kind of dope to go back into that mythology and understand who he is as a human before he became what he is. That’s one of my favorite parts of the legend.
The Big Picture
Kurtzman made it clear that Sleepy Hollow is a show that is being conceived and executed with a much bigger picture in mind – they’re not just figuring it out as they go along. Needless to say, the road to the already-confirmed season 2 has been paved well in advance:
Alex Kurtzman: It’s interesting because Fox was very vigilant about making sure we had a big plan and it was really to their credit and to our credit because they really wouldn’t give us a green light to series until they knew where we were going. Kevin Riley said, ‘what are the major pillars of season one and what you’re setting up for season two? You don’t have to give me every detail but you have to tell me kind of where it’s going.’
And it really forced us to sit down and come up with a real plan, and what’s been great for us in the writer’s room is that – knowing where we’re going – we can be seeding these things along the way very, very deliberately and it’s not until the end of the season that you’ll realize what you were being set up for and told about.
Jones and Beharie agreed that blurred demonic figure who has been set up as the “big bad” of season 1 is one freaky customer – and to prove that the showrunners indeed have a road map for where the season will go, Wiseman revealed that the blurring is not a character gimmick, but rather a set up for character and narrative development over the course of season 1:
Len Wiseman: One of the demons that you see right now you don’t see him that well, he’s blurred. Over the course of the series as our characters get more [experienced], as their senses get stronger [with the supernatural], we’ll be able to see that guy clearer and clearer and we get to reveal a little more of him.
7 Years of Tribulation (and Show Life)
Sleepy Hollow was clearly being set up for a longer run from the very beginning; Ichabod’s speech about the 7 years of tribulation preceding revelations (an event he and Abbie may be destined to fight against) quickly and succinctly gave the show an extended shelf-life in which to flesh out its mythology and narrative:
Len Wiseman: The idea of that was in kind of going through our mythology and looking at the bible, the idea that there was a seven year period of tribulation and the two witnesses to be chosen to determine the fate of humanity. Think of it as a scale where in if Abby and Crane succeed then the scale is tipped toward good but if they fail it’s tipped toward evil and at the end of seven years which is going to weigh out? and that’s going to determine the outcome of us [all].
A lot of talk centered on how the show presents strong female characters who aren’t dependent on, or secondary to, male love interests. However, there is one female character we have yet to really get to know: Ichabod’s wife (and good witch) Katrina, who is stranded in limbo and appears only via dream sequence or flashback.
As stars Tom Mison and Katia Winter tell it, Katrina won’t just be regulated to the sidelines – we’ll get to see more of her life in the past and her effect on present-day circumstances:
Katia Winter: It’s actually coming up in the upcoming episodes. You’ll get to know Katrina and her past. It’s interesting, I’m looking forward to people getting to know her backstory.
Tom Mison: The flashbacks become more and more substantial in a few episodes’ time, and you start to see the importance of Katrina, not only in Ichabod’s past – and how he switched from being a Red Coat to a Revolutionary – but also his position in the war against evil. And then, how all that effects the present day. So there’s more and more with the wife… it’s all about Katrina. The more Katrina comes back the more revelations there are – not only about Ichabod, but about the fate of humanity. So keep your eyes on her.
Getting to Know You Better
When asked about new things we may learn about the characters in the show as the season progresses, some of the cast played VERY coy, while others freely teased where we might see their respective arcs take them:
Orlando Jones: You’ll… see what’s happening between [Abbie and Irving] and get to know our backstory a lot better. A lot with my ex-wife and my daughter and plenty of things that I literally would get my head chopped off if I told you; but suffice to say, I don’t think we’ll get ahead of it I think there’s a lot more to come and I think you’re still meeting creatures and demons that you haven’t seen yet. So that part is kind of exciting for all of us and I think the discovery between all the characters … It’s going to be fun… I think the best description for Irving is assume I know everything (gives dramatic deadpan stare).
Nicole Beharie: Yeah, I think everyone across the board – everyone’s life is going to plump and fill out a little bit. So there’s gonna be a little bit of everything but I think…[Abbie’s] not driven by a romantic interest which is what is really powerful about the piece and that doesn’t change. But will there be some admirers? I sure hope so.
Tom Mison: See there are things that I can’t say because I’ll get in trouble, and then there are things I don’t want to say because they’re such nice twists (smiles). I want you to enjoy them when they come.
The mythology surrounding the town of Sleepy Hollow isn’t the only thing we’ll learn more about; the townspeople themselves will be getting in on the action as they become more aware of the very strange and macabre happenings in their community:
Orlando Jones: In the subsequent episodes you’ll see a lot of development about who actually is living in Sleepy Hollow and their involvement into the main story.
Len Wiseman: [This is all] something that Irving is trying to contain and you can only contain it for so long. And actually we have a lot of fun with how it starts to spread and the control of it – how they try to keep it under wraps.
Alex Kurtzman: Yes, we’re right in the middle of that right now.
Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays @ 9pm on Fox.