[This article contains potential SPOILERS for Heroes Reborn season 1.]
With less than three weeks before the premiere, questions are swirling around Tim Kring’s Heroes Reborn. Will a fan favorite superhero show get back on track after losing steam during its last few seasons? Which of the previous cast will we see again and will the new heroes capture our attention? It’s already known the Heroes Reborn story picks up five years later and lives in the same universe as the previous telling. But just what does that world look like now?
The Heroes Reborn featurette shows a bleak world for the Evos, a.k.a. people with powers. While the first series explored the birth of Evos and individual characters discovering their powers, the reboot is a much different world. The end of the first Heroes series ended on a cliffhanger with cheerleader Claire outing the Evos publicly and daring the world to accept them. That didn’t go as planned. When we rejoin the story, it is not an Evo-friendly society. Persecuted and hunted, those with powers are either hiding or on the run for their lives.
You can’t have a reboot without some new faces to keep the story turning. During Comic Con International, executive producer Tim Kring and a handful of the Heroes Reborn cast filled in a few answers as to some of the characters that would be introduced in the action-packed return. Whether Evo or human, another pressing question is whether these new characters are on the side of good or evil.
Carlos: The Military Vet (Ryan Guzman)
One face we will see a lot of is Carlos (Ryan Guzman), the military vet with some things to work through. Guzman told us this about his character at Comic Con:
“He’s an Army vet. He’s just come out. He’s dealing with a lot of mental issues, some instability in there in his personal and professional life.
“Beforehand, I had been wanting to play an army character or some kind of superhero-esque character or just troublesome character. This kinda tackles all of those things.”
Following a cataclysmic event that affects all Evos and humans alike, what side of things does Carlos fall on? Guzman went on to say:
“He’s now being presented with this grandiose opportunity to make a difference. He’s struggling whether he should take it or not. He’s just struggling with something that he’s been given that he maybe doesn’t deserve. It’s a morality issue. That’s all I can really say.”
Malina: The Isolated One (Danika Yarosh)
Promos for Heroes Reborn have shown a beautiful young girl, arms raised to the sky, seemingly controlling the Northern Lights. Meet Malina (Danika Yarosh), the one who has been alone while the world hunted Evos around her. Yarosh had this to say about her role in the Heroes universe:
“I am somewhere in the Arctic. Malina is this kind of bold, ethereal, kind of mysterious new character. She had a different upbringing. Since the beginning she was told that she was destined for greatness. So she was kept hidden away from the world and has just been training, really, and trying to use her powers and be the best she can be.”
“She’s not afraid. She’s told that she’s destined for a certain thing. So in order to fulfill that, she kind of has to be separate. And also, she’s in the Arctic just so she can keep her powers under control. That way she can train without anyone knowing who she is.”
So why Malina would be training? Who is she preparing to battle? With a power that is so fearsome she has to be isolated from mankind in order to use it, the question becomes is she a weapon or a protector?
Tommy: The Not-So Typical Teenager (Robbie Kay)
In Heroes, the teen perspective was shown through Claire. This time around we’re going to meet Tommy (Robbie Kay), a teenager with the ability to make people disappear. Kay describes his character as such:
“Tommy is just a typical teenage guy. He’s just struggling with the everyday struggles of high school. But he has this secret about him, which is obviously he has a power, that is kind of eating him away inside.”
As handy as Tommy’s ability could be for a teenaged kid, when it comes nagging teachers and bullies, in this world Tommy is facing some serious challenges. Like say, where do the people he disappear to when he's used his abilities on them?
“He has no idea whether he is transporting them somewhere else, whether it’s just going into the abyss. He has no idea. He just doesn’t know.”
Along with huge questions pertaining to his unusual power, Tommy is also facing normal high-school troubles, like a crush on classmate Emily (Gatlin Green). But his troubles extend a lot further than teen love.
“He’s on the run with his mother and he makes the decision to not really tell the government. You can register as an Evo, but you get persecuted if you do so. So he decides not to do that and keep it a secret. But as time goes on, there is a progression in everyone’s characters, and I think he discovers more about his power that begins to affect... and might potentially jeopardize the situation.”
Emily: The Non-Evo Dream Girl (Gatlin Green)
Tommy and his mother aren’t the only ones in on Tommy’s secret; his crush Emily (Gaitlin Green) is also wrapped up in the ordeal. A teen Evo and non-Evo duo isn’t new to the Heroes story. Claire had her buddy Zach, but their relationship was always undefined. For these teenagers, it’s clear that Tommy has feelings for Emily, but his abilities get in the way. Green describes Emily as just a sweet girl next door:
“She’s a great friend and she’s compassionate and empathetic. She wants to go alongside Tommy and help him through his struggles and whatever he’s going through.”
But what role will she play while Tommy is on the run? Apparently, she’s going along for the ride.
“She will fulfill the role of a sidekick type because she gets mixed up in a lot of the chaos that happens. Tommy finds out he’s got this secret and she has to keep that secret, too. We have a few scenes in the beginning where we run into Luke (Zachary Levi) and Joanne (Judy Shekoni). We run into some trouble with them and that’s pretty exciting. We’re going all over the place. I think that’s exciting, because the characters are all over the world. We all mix around at certain points. That’s cool that Heroes does that.”
Joanne: The Non-Evo with a Mission (Judith Shekoni)
One of the most buzzed-about new cast members of Heroes Reborn is Zachary Levi, who is playing a much different, darker role than audiences have seen him play before. His character Luke is spearheading his own violent anti-Evo movement with wife Joanne (Judith Shekoni). When asked about who Joanne is, Shekoni offered up some insight into Luke and Joanne’s motivations.
“They are a vigilante couple out to seek some revenge for something that happened to one of their loved ones. They lost their son. I say she’s in one of the stages of grief, anger, and blame as well. She’s seeking retribution.”
Judith also spoke about working with Levi and how she handled all the action in the series.
“We have a really interesting dynamic as husband and wife. Sometimes I would say it’s a little bit like Natural Born Killers, sometimes a little bit Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I get to work with guns, some amazing guns. I get to do some really good stunts and basically just be not a typical girl on TV, really.”
It’s been glimpsed in previews that Luke and Joanne deal with their grief in deadly ways. According to Shekoni, the couple's agenda has deadly repercussions.
“I would describe it as a calling for her, where she thinks it’s something greater than herself and is meant to be. It is to do with people with special powers and eliminating some of them. It’s from a very personal place. I think it has to do with losing a loved one. It’s not just complete craziness for no reason. Being a parent and losing a child affects my character dramatically. Sometimes she may not see as clearly as she should. Luke maybe handles that a little bit better. But it’s fun being her. [laughs] Who needs morals? That’s so overrated.”
The (Currently) Unknown Player (Dylan Bruce)
So far, scant details about Dylan Bruce and his role have been revealed. Just that he’s on the reboot...and that’s about it. Trying to squeeze more details out of him during Comic Con International was almost impossible. It just wasn't going to happen. But Bruce did let a few vague tidbits drop:
"He’s a survivalist. Being a survivalist in a time of social inequalities and persecution, he sometimes does cruel things and immoral things. And he does it for his own benefit and also for his own profit."
All of that sounds like a rather ominous character. Bruce is no stranger to characters who are skilled at combat, and from what he was willing to reveal about his Heroes Reborn character, it can be assumed this mystery man is in the same boat.
“I can also say that I pretty much fight a lot…like, every day I’m on set I’m in a fight with someone. So I can say that much. I can say that this character has so many skeletons in his closet and such a crazy backstory that they’re actually going to do a novella about him prior to the start of the season. He’s a really complex, interesting guy.”
That doesn’t tell us a lot on what side of the battle his character will be on, but he looks to be a formidable foe.
Following the lead of the previous incarnation of Heroes, the reboot appears to be just as character-driven and mysterious. The strength in the first season of Heroes was in the way it slowly unfolded the larger picture. This time around, the torch is being passed to a new crop of Evos and their foes, but the hook will be in what that new big picture will look like. The series' mantra the first time around was "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World." What will it be this time? Are we preparing for a final showdown between humans and Evos, or will Heroes Reborn surprise us with something unexpected?
Heroes Reborn will have a two-hour premiere on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 8pm on NBC.