7:08pm PT by Kate Stanhope
Comic-Con: 'Mr. Robot' Cast Teases Dom's "Issues," an "Explosive" Angela and What Might Break Elliot
For its first panel at Comic-Con International, Mr. Robot definitely made a splash.
Thursday's panel for the USA Network tech drama opened with – no surprise – an ominous video of Mr. Robot himself in his now-iconic mask.
"You are witnessing the rebirth of society. Our invasion of Evil Corp's empire is no longer a secret. Its an all-out war. And there's nothing civil about it," Mr. Robot told convention attendees. "Did you think the revolution ended on five nine? Spoiler alert: Its just beginning."
The same could be said for the revolution that is Mr. Robot itself. The show came to Comic-Con Thursday fresh off its two-hour season two premiere and its six Emmy nominations for season one.
"This is so cool that all you guys are here," Carly Chaiken told the enthusiastic crowd at the start of the panel. "Cheers to you guys."
When asked about the reason behind the show's impact thus far, Chaiken pointed to the show's authenticity. "I think that in this day and age, everyone is looking for something honestly and the show is incredibly honest," she said. "We're all so imperfect and I think people can relate to that. … I think everything is really true to human nature. I think everyone can relate to it in some form or another."
Added Malek: "We just hit every aspect of how the top one percent of the top one percent rule the world we live in and what's fascinating about the show is you have, like you said, these alienated, disenfranchised characters that everyone can relate to, that are trying to change the world they live in. That question of can they comes up quite a lot."
Malek went onto praise creator, showrunner and director Sam Esmail and the direction he has taken Elliot following the five/nine hack. "He wanted to make something that was pure and authentic and real and when he talked about an event like this, it wasn't all going to be magical the next day," Malek said speaking about Elliot's emotional state in season two following the hack. "I think the big question that he's asking is how can each and everyone of us go outside of ourselves and do something special and do something that affects all of us."
Malek also praised the powers that be at USA Network and studio counterpart Universal Cable Productions for giving the show creative freedom thus far. "This is a very polarizing show. We say some crazy shit about the world in general, our situation, there's nothing we won't broach and that takes a really gutsy group of people to get behind a show like that," he said. "This is definitely not the juggernaut of a show that is probably raking in a ton of money. It could one day and maybe that’s the whole goal, but behind us are people who really took a chance on a show that could be polarizing and gave us the free reign to really say something."
The panel came one day after the third episode of season two, in which fscociety hacker Romero was found dead. During the investigation of his murder, Dominique (Gummer) uncovered an important document linking Romero to Mobley and leading to fsociety's arcade itself.
"She has an instinct about who did it and why they did it," Gummer said about her character, better known on the show as "Dom." "She'll stop at nothing to find that out."
Although Dominique is, for now, laser-focused on getting to the bottom of the five/nine hack, Gummer said there are also personal issues to blame. "I think she uses her work to cover up her own issues that she deals with," she teased. "What you see at first is not what you're going to get. … Like everyone else, she's a very complicated, layered, weirdo."
While the cast was able to tease some of what's ahead – Esmail was busy working on upcoming episodes and unable to make it to San Diego – they said it has become increasingly hard to discuss what's next since the episodes for season two, all directed by Esmail, have been shot out of order.
"I feel like we're in the CIA and we know the secret codes to something," Chaiken said. "Its very hard to keep it all in."
Also complicating matters is the increased attention on the series in season two versus season one when the show was just coming out. "Security protocols have definitely increased," Slater said with a laugh. Malek joked the cast now has to "learn your lines in under an hour and then the scripts disappear."
Because the episodes were shot out of order, Esmail talked with each main members of the cast at length about their character's arc before shooting began on season two.
"I had many visceral reactions to the things he was telling me," Slater recalled about his hour-and-a-half-long chat with Esmail. "I had diarrhea," Malek joked.
"It was definitely a rollercoaster ride of emotions," Christian Slater continued. "I'm excited for people to see how it unfolds and where its going to go."
Doubleday arguably had one of the juiciest teases for what's ahead for her character now that she's working for, essentially, the enemy.
"I think that there's something really dangerous to be said about her obsession with these affirmations. I think that what that is stemming from is something quite explosive," Doubleday said. "I wanted to get more into what Angela struggles with internally and she's very a troubling character. … What ends up happening, no one will be able to predict with her story arc. Its really really fascinating."
One prediction Malek shared for his character? Elliot's having to finally confront his involvement in the death of his girlfriend Shayla (Frankie Shaw) in season one.
"Shayla, that issue's going to haunt him for quite awhile. I don’t think its settled in for him just what kind of affect that will have on him and the implications of that. I think there's a bit of denial with him that he might have caused that in a way, which he did. Her loss would not have happened had he not been in her life," Malek said. "One day down the line its going to fly fast in his face and probably break him because Elliot has a tendency of being broken, sadly. He always gets back up."
For all the cryptic and vague teases from the cast, attendees were also treated to some new footage from next week's new episode and a Mr. Robot book, co-written by Esmail, was announced for a November release.
Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on USA Network.