'Heroes Reborn' Cast, Creator Offer Eight Things to Know About the NBC Revival

A darker world and new technologies feature prominently in NBC's upcoming follow-up series, the cast and creator Tim Kring tell THR at TIFF.
Christos Kalohoridis/NBC

Forget about saving the cheerleader in order to save the world. As Heroes Reborn showrunner Tim Kring previously told The Hollywood Reporter, Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) is back, but his daughter Claire (Hayden Panettiere) is dead. And that makes NBC's upcoming follow-up a darker show all about the new heroes who are either trying to save the world— or more importantly — just trying to survive it. 

THR caught up with Kring and the cast at the show's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival to get the scoop on what new (and returning) viewers to the franchise need to know about the upcoming 13-part miniseries.

This is a darker world

Claire exposing her powers at the end of the original series was supposed to leave viewers with the impression of a unified world between everyday folk and “evos,” as the humans in the series call the evolved. But when a terrorist attack during a human-evos event kills hundreds of people and a familiar face takes credit, all chances for a lasting peace are off. 

“It’s five years later and it’s a very dark and different world for them now,” says Coleman. “It’s a dangerous time and place to be an evo. The stakes are higher.”

There’s a new dark organization in town

As in the original series, heroes are still going missing — only this time, Bennet isn’t behind their disappearances. With Primatech gone, there’s another big bad company snatching up the heroes in order to study (and potentially use) their powers. And that brings Bennet into contact with a man named Quentin (Henry Zebrowski), who quickly becomes his partner in crime.

“We’re not friends … I hassle him,” says Zebrowski. “He’s a very serious man that my character gets involved with. There’s this idea of a fantasy, where I get into the heart of a conspiracy and think I’m going to kick ass and really expose some people … and then you show up and it’s like, ‘Oh. These people are killers. I am not prepared.’ ”

Others are on the hunt

There’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to Luke Collins (Zachary Levi) and Joanne Collins (Judith Shekoni). The husband-and-wife duo are complex, to say the least, but they initially have some pretty dark forces driving their actions.

“I quite like to think of them as a mixture of Natural Born Killers and Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” says Shekoni. “What I really like about these characters is that there are some people who kill and there are no consequences. Here you see how their actions change them as the episodes go on. It’s a journey.”

There’s a luchador in town

As it was when the drama first launched, Heroes Reborn is still very much an international show. This time, that means incorporating a luchador storyline with several complex twists and turns.

“He’s one of a kind,” teases Ryan Guzman, whose Carlos Gutierrez character somehow comes into contact with the luchador. “Especially for the Latin community, the luchador is an embodiment of heritage and family. I love that we’re bringing the whole Latin culture into this new, crazy world of Heroes.”  

New technology means an intense new storyline

One of the top-secret reveals from the first two hours of Reborn involves the incorporation of a new type of Heroes storytelling and hero. The result may be controversial with some fans, but it’s something showrunner Kring is excited for audiences to see.

“Doing this five years ago was probably not doable on our budget and on our schedule,” he says. “When I talk about how so many things haven’t changed in making a show, that has been something the technology has allowed us to do.”

There are a whole bunch of original heroes returning — and more coming

The list of returning heroes includes such previously announced characters as Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg), Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), The Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis) and Micah Sanders (Noah Gray-Cabey). At least one of those faces will appear in the two-hour premiere, with the promise of more to come.

“The returning characters came up in the story as the story was breaking in the writers’ room,” says Kring. “There were only a couple that we would have wanted to get that were unavailable because they were involved in other things.”

Social issues are at the forefront

As most shows involving heroes tend to do, Heroes Reborn continues to critique key social and economic issues of the world today, while also developing characters.

Heroes has always been a bit of a mirror to what’s happening in the world,” says Kring. “There are environmental issues that we’re going to hit on, ideas about technology, about corporate greed and all of that.”

Canada plays a large role

With most of the heroes on the run from the top-secret company and hunters, Canada has evolved into a safe haven for evos over the past five years. Of course, Canada also happens to be where the show is filmed.

“They have the tax credits that allow us to make the show cheaper,” reveals Kring. “That allows us to put more on the screen than we can in other places. Also, the show depicts various places around the world, and Toronto gives you all of these different looks and places. We’ve been here for six months and we’ve had all different sorts of weather as well, which is helping the creative feel of the global feel of the show.”

Heroes Reborn debuts Thursday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. on NBC. Are you excited for the next chapter? Sound off in the comments below.

Twitter: @amber_dowling