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'True Blood': 14 Things You Should Know About Season 4

Roll up your sleeves for THR's uber-primer on the HBO hit's new season.

Anna Paquin
John P. Johnson/HBO
"True Blood"

The whole True Blood menagerie of humans, supernaturals and everything in between is finally returning on Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

And in honor of their impending arrival, The Hollywood Reporter has compiled a massive list of character reveals, story twists, and other helpful information to get you totally prepped for what you’re about to see.

PHOTOS: HBO's True Blood Premiere Red Carpet

So, roll up your sleeves and dig in, because we have 14 things you should know about True Blood’s fourth season:

Warning: Spoilers!

1. It's a crooked path to Fairyland, but Sookie's taking it. For those of you who saw the first 8 minutes HBO released from the premiere, you know that Sookie (Anna Paquin) will probably have some issues about being a fairy. Don’t despair, the microwave fingers aren’t going anywhere. “Now, she realizes she has some fairy blood in her,” producer Alexander Woo says. “She doesn’t know what that means yet, but she has to come to grips with it and take advantage of what that power could be to her. So, I think this year Sookie is going to grow a little more comfortable with what she is.”

2. Bill turns into a PR man for vampires. After Russell Edginton (Denis O’Hare) sets the vampire movement back a few thousand years, Bill is tasked with doing damage control. “Bill ends up in this situation that he wouldn’t necessarily have chosen but he gets pushed into it,” Stephen Moyer says. “Ultimately he’s trying to not only rebuild what vampires are to the greater outside community but rebuild what he represents to Sookie."

 

3. This is Alexander Skarsgard’s year. It has already been revealed that Eric will be struck with amnesia this season and what that does is feature Skarsgard’s acting like this show has never done before. “The huge challenge is he has to portray someone who has an almost completely different personality, yet is at the roots still the same character and what he’s done with it,” Woo says.

“Seeing how Alex was able to almost instantaneously turn into a different Eric, yet one that was still rooted in the same character at heart is really extraordinary. I think it will be great, great fun for everyone to watch.”

4. Alcide and Bill have something in common besides Sookie. While we’ve been used to seeing Alcide (Joe Manganiello) and Bill in opposition of each other by nature of who they are and for the affections of Sookie, we’ll learn this season that they may be more similar than we thought. “Alcide is in many ways like Bill in that he is reluctant to participate too much in the world and the politics,” Woo explains. “This is at least the Bill we knew at the beginning of the series was trying to mainstream and live among people and Alcide is very much the same. He's a bit of a ‘lone wolf.’ ”

VIDEO: 'True Blood': Watch 7 new sneak peeks for Season 4

5. Fairies, vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters, Brujos and what? “There’s a new twist on shapeshifters,” showrunner Alan Ball says. “There are disembodied spirits -- ghosts if you will. We get more into the Brujo tradition: the demonic black magic that Jesus may have inherited from his grandfather.” And as if Bon Temps doesn’t have enough to worry about, Arlene will encounter a new force. “She will be facing something that the show hasn’t even seen before,” Carrie Preston teases. “It is something new and you can put two and two together if you want.”

6. Debbie Pelt has a softer side. After Season 3’s big throw-down with Sookie, Debbie is still alive and at-large and we’ll see another side to her. “Debbie was really, really bad last season to everybody but in every bad girl, there’s a soft spot,” Brit Morgan says. “There’s a wound behind every bad girl -- maybe a little bit of emptiness. Why else would she be doing that vampire blood?! To fill the hole, man!” But that soft side doesn’t mean she’s letting Alcide off the hook. “She’ll be a thorn in Alcide’s side for a while,” Manganiello adds.

7. Terry becomes Mr. Mom to Arlene’s creepy baby. “The last time we saw Arlene she was definitely worried and concerned that the sins of the father of the child are growing and being vested upon the child inside of her,” Preston says. “Those fears don’t go away.” While the burden of the baby’s temperament becomes a heavy burden for Arlene, she and Terry (Todd Lowe) are as cool as can be. “For Arlene, she’s really lucky that she’s found a man who will put up with her histrionics, neuroses and will stand by her side, so she feels lucky.”

PHOTOS: 'True Blood' Season 4

8. The Bellefleur family reunion may not be a fun one. When Andy’s sister Portia (Courtney Ford) returns to town, Andy doesn’t exactly roll out the welcome wagon. “[Their reunion] is awkward and uncomfortable because my sister got the looks and the brains,” Chris Bauer says. “Our grandmother loves her and dotes on her. The chip on Andy’s shoulder is so high it bumps into the moon. She’s no exception. She’s part of the problem as far as Andy is concerned.”

 

9. Jessica really wants things to work with Hoyt despite behavior that isn’t always in line with that desire. “She’ll definitely explore her vampire side, which Hoyt isn’t that comfortable with,” Deborah Ann Woll says. Adds Jim Parrack: “If you’ve ever been in a relationship, it’s a test.”

10. Shapeshifters 101. Luna winds up being a teacher both professionally and personally and teaches Sam a thing or two about the “full range and capabilities of shapeshifters,” Janina Gavanka says. Could that lead to a teacher-student relationship? “I think that people who are rooting for Sam will really be happy Luna is around because she sees how good of a guy he is and she honors that,” Gavanka says. Adds Sam Trammell: “You get to see the mythology of shapeshifters and the specific problem being a shapeshifter.”

11. Nan has her hands full. With Eric’s amnesia, Bill handling PR and a coven of witches in town, Nan is caught in the middle. “I’ve got the AVL and the Authority yelling at me,” Jessica Tuck says. “Then I’ve got all these vampires that I’ve got to deal with and I’m the middle man that everybody seems to hate. But really, I’m just doing my job.”

12. Lafayette trusts Jesus. A lot. With Lafayette still freaked out by Jesus’ (Kevin Alejandro) Brujo roots, he’s hesitant to explore whatever abilities he may have, but begrudgingly takes one for the team. “Lafayette doesn’t completely come around [to exploring his abilities] but Jesus asks him to do it and he trusts Jesus,” Nelsan Ellis says. “I don’t know if that works out for the two of them, but we’ll see.”

13. Jason turns into a man. “This is the season of the biggest growth for Jason,” Ryan Kwanten says. “He started very low on the evolutionary totem pole, so he could only go up. This is a real season of where the young boy turns into a man.”

14. Get ready to go back in time. There are going to be a lot more chances for fans to see our fave vamps as they were earlier in their “lives.” If you can imagine that Pam (Kristin Bauer) is considered young at about 100 years old, then you get a sense of just how many story possibilities there are for flashbacks. “All of our vampires have such a long back story that at some point, I think, we’ll get to everyone,” Woo says.

“One thing we’ve realized when we had Godric who was really ‘alive’ on the show for maybe three episodes,” Woo continues. “Was there were so many opportunities because he had such a long life with Eric and still a long life in general as a vampire that we could always go back to it. So, one of the opportunities that we have with our vampires that we could always go somewhere in their past to dig into something that informs what’s going on with them now.” 

 

Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit

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