8:51pm PT by Philiana Ng
Comic-Con 2011: 'Falling Skies': 10 Things You Need to Know From the Panel
TNT's latest drama Falling Skies has a premise unlike many others on television -- and the exuberant Comic-Con crowd on Friday proved it was up to the task, stumping the cast and executive producers.
For example, an audience member asked: What if Earth was just one little part of a master plan the Skitters, the alien lifeform that has invaded and destroyed Earth, are having a war over? Or another question: How did they come up with the Skitters' aatomical structure? But of course, the session wasn't complete without references to Hannah Montana or iCarly (Drew Roy) or the Librarian movies (Noah Wyle).
Story-wise, the panelists revealed that the characters use the alien technology to aid their journey later this season, that viewers will find out why the Skitters are on Earth in the first place, things progress between reluctant leader Tom (Wyle) and Anne (Moon Bloodgood) -- and [Warning: Spoiler alert!] through a sneak peek of an upcoming scene, Hal's girlfriend Karen may not be as gone as one thinks.
Here are 10 more things you need to know about the rest of the summer series and what's coming up in Season 2:
1. Hal and Margaret may see some action -- with each other: "They have respect for each other," said Roy, who plays Tom's teenage son on the sci-fi drama. "Hal is still trying to get over the loss of Karen and I didn't just want to jump to another girl. Karen was his first love ever and that was a pretty bit loss." Earlier in the panel, Roy joked about his small-screen alter ego Hal, "He's got every girl on the show after him, which is exciting."
2. The Skitters' makeup was a Steven Spielberg-approved creation: "The challenge was to find something incredibly unique ... that was inspired by Steven Spielberg and a team of conceptual artists," executive producer Justin Falvey said of the alien's odd structure. Executive producer Darryl Frank added that they wanted to make "one organic and one mechanical" with Spielberg picking "the versions that he liked." Actor Colin Cunningham, who plays Pope, joked, "I think the original Skitters looked like Richard Simmons."
3. Tom and Anne's relationship evolves by season's end: It is "difficult to dedicate screen time to a relationship" on a show like Falling Skies, Wyle said, adding that his character and Bloodgood's partnership does play "out in a crowded room" as the first season nears its end.
4. The hope is to continue the show for at least 98 episodes: When asked what they're favorite hour-longs were so far, Wyle picked the pilot "because it sets the table for the whole season." Meanwhile Falvey had a grander vision, joking, "I think I'm going to really like episode 98."
5. Things come slowly in the Falling Skies world: With the show set six months after the initial invasion, things aren't exactly easy to get across with telephone lines down and Internet nonexistent. "Communications are all out," executive producer Mark Verheiden said. "People have to learn as they go. Everything they learn is first person. They're going to learn things but it'll be parsed out slowly. We'll learn some design of the Skitters in the first season."
6. Bloody hand = romance?: The most romantic scene so far this season, according to Wyle, was the bloody handprint that took place in a recent episode. Only on our show is that considered an "intimate, private moment between two people," Wyle said. Bloodgood recalled the aftermath of filming the scene, in which her character Anne had no photo of her son to put up on the wall, revealing that she received a note from the piece of paper from when she put her bloody handprint on from Wyle that said, "That was the moment Tom falls in love with Anne."
7. What about seeing that invasion?: "We made a decision early on that we do no flashbacks," Verheiden revealed. "Everything we learn we learn as we move forward. There's an episode coming up that reveals a lot about Weaver's backstory. ... It keeps the show propelling forward."
8. The cast's real thoughts about the Skitters: Cunningham remembered thinking the first moment he saw the Skitters: "That's one ugly-looking ... thing," while Sarah Carter, who plays Margaret, believed they were "really cute." Bloodgood took a more serious route, recalling filming with a stand-in for the Skitters and having trouble differentiating him from the alien. "It's harder to kill something that looks human-like," she said.
9. The gang may break into a clothing store, really: When an audience member asked whether the characters would ever be able to change out of the clothes on their backs, Wyle deadpanned, "I don't change very much ... until we do an episode where we loot the Gap. ... In Season 2."
10. Season 2 is already in motion: Even though Season 1 has yet to fully play out, Frank revealed that the upcoming sophomore season is already in the works. "We have the entire second season boarded out," he said.