11:42pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Sleepy Hollow' Stars and EPs Talk Season 2 Plans, Fan Passion for Ichabod/Abbie
The stars and producers of Fox's breakout drama Sleepy Hollow were on hand Wednesday for an evening during PaleyFest honoring the supernatural series at the Dolby Theatre.
It's been two months since the season finale, which featured many of the show's core characters in various states of limbo, but the enthusiastic crowd was treated to a preview of what's to come. Here's a refresher (Warning: spoilers!): Henry Parrish(John Noble) was revealed to be the second Horseman, in addition to being Ichabod and Katrina's son Jeremy; Abbie (Nicole Beharie) was stuck in purgatory; and Ichabod (Tom Mison) was thrown into a pine box. So what exactly is in store for season two? Impending war.
"[Henry's] going to be in town. It's going to be a major presence in season two," executive producer Mark Goffman said of season two. "It's a season about war, it's a season about redemption. What do you do when your son becomes the Horseman of War in the apocalypse? Ichabod is going to have to contemplate assuming he gets out of the pine box he's in."
Producers hinted that there will be new villains coming in to Sleepy Hollow for Ichabod and Co. to worry about. Though they were coy, they shared some details as to who will be joining the war. "War doesn't work by itself," co-creator/executive producer Roberto Orci teased. "There are a lot of amazing foot soldiers coming, familiar and also original."
"One of the things we wanted to bring to light was who best to be an opponent for the Horseman and creating a new creature that actually our team kind of controls but doesn't -- a dangerous creation that Headless will have to come to face -- possibly with his own face," co-creator/executive producer/director Len Wiseman shared, likening the new villain to being "as evil and as scary as Headless." Joked co-creator/executive producer Alex Kurtzman: "Dick Cheney."
This new foe will have in its possession something that belongs to Headless: "What would that be? His head," Wiseman said. In addition to supernatural creatures, expect new additions to drop by Sleepy Hollow, Goffman revealed: "Some people who will be populating the town this season."
With Detective Irving (Orlando Jones) in jail, one of the other questions to be addressed will be who will lay down the law while he's behind bars. "Who's going to be in charge of law and order in Sleepy Hollow?" posed Goffman.
Ichabod, Katrina and Henry's family dysfunction will remain a major arc as the producers and cast look to the new season, which begins production in a few months. Wiseman noted that though Henry's unforgivable acts in the finale put a damper on things, Ichabod and Katrina's dilemma is such that he is "still their son. It's not going to be easy to decide what to do." Added Goffman: "It strikes the fundamental question about hope and redemption. Is anyone beyond redemption and hope?"
From the onset, fans clamored for the Ichabod and Abbie pairing (affectionately called "Ichabbie" in some circles) and it wouldn't be a Sleepy Hollow panel if their "will they/won't they" aspect to their relationship was brought up. Mison and Beharie, for their parts, were adorably gun-shy about answering such questions. Producers admitted that they were unaware, in the beginning at least, of fans' desires to see the partners-in-crime together romantically.
The interest behind the Ichabod and Abbie pairing "was something we weren't expecting fans were going to be so married to the idea of Ichabod and Abbie being a couple," executive producer Heather Kadin said, eliciting screams. "Even when we were casting and everyone was conceiving the idea, we loved that it was this relationship that was first built on distrust and then eventually trust. It's really a friendship and I think -- and to the actors' credit -- a powerful honest friendship that I think you hope is the base for every romantic relationship too." Quipped Beharie: "He's a handsome guy so I know people who are watching are probably like, 'Hook. Up.' " She added that "they don't play into it" when they're filming those scenes. "I think people just see what they want to see or would like to become from the two of them."
That prompted Mison, an England native, to declare to the audience that he had "never heard of 'shipping" prior to Sleepy Hollow, which led him to Google "Ichabbie." "It's a good thing apparently," he said to laughs, saying that "there are lots of nice pictures -- mainly of [Abbie] carrying me. It's like me as Yoda." Jones suggested jokingly: "You should Google slash, just for fun!"
Kurtzman revealed that Ichabod originally didn't have an accent, but during the audition process, they realized they had written the character with a British cadence. Kurtzman recalled failed attempts at casting an American Ichabod, "it quickly became clear we do not manufacture men in the United States," later adding that when "we were asking American actors to do it, it didn't feel real. It felt like Ichabod Crane from the Valley."
The producing team also discussed the risk of bringing a story like Sleepy Hollow to TV. "It was one of those ideas that was one molecule away from insane," Kurtzman said of telling a time-travel story without the time travel. "That's why we responded to it. If we get it right it's special and if we get it wrong, you're super f---ed. We knew from the beginning that if it worked it would be special. We never predicted how great our cast would be because they levitated it."
For fun, the panelists revealed their ideal Sleepy Hollow crossovers: Supernatural (Jones), The Walking Dead (Mison), Salem (Lyndie Greenwood), Face the Nation (Kurtzman), The Love Boat (John Cho). And who would the panelists like to see as the other Horsemen? Idris Elba (Cho, who faux-called the actor on his cell phone), Tilda Swinton (Greenwood) and Javier Bardem (a popular choice).