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[WARNING: Spoilers ahead of The Following.]
The Following is approaching season three like a reset.
The Hall H crowd was treated to an alternate ending for the season-two finale, which saw Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) fatally shot by Mark Gray (Sam Underwood). The ending would have had larger implications for the new season, but creator Kevin Williamson insisted that things wouldn’t change that much had Joe died or stayed alive, which the producers decided to go with. Plus, he wanted to keep the Joe Carroll thread dangling.
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“It was an opportunity to open up a new chapter in his life,” said Kevin Bacon of Ryan Hardy’s new arc. “Losing James Purefoy and Joe Carroll would’ve been tough. … The door is open now,” added Shawn Ashmore, who noted that had Joe been killed off, his presence would have still been felt for the rest of the show. Sam Underwood, who returns in an “unexpected” way, said that the ending “was going to be provocative either way.”
When The Following kicks back up again in early 2015, a year has passed and Ryan finds himself in a happier place and in a brand-new relationship with a doctor, Gwen. “We’re living together and she has a daughter,” Bacon said. “I’m actually trying to experience some domesticity. Along with the inner struggle to pull [Ryan] together, he’s also taking on a giant adjustment being a dad.”
Mike and Ryan will be working with each other in the season-three premiere going through numerous cases to make sure all ties to Joe Carroll are gone, but new showrunner Jennifer Johnson revealed that “a brand new threat for New York” will present itself, which throws the city into “urban paranoia” and “disintegration” of the city. “The characters’ home lives will be a microcosm of that,” she said, adding that in the opener Ryan will request a task force.
Johnson added that “we will challenge that [happiness] episode after episode. Can he hold on to the happiness that he has found?” She also hinted that there will be a “bigger, badder villain” who will be going up against Ryan Hardy — though it will be difficult to tell who it is from the onset.
Johnson teased that the show will go back to its first season, promising that it will be more of a “psychological mystery” — “a little more Hitchcockian, a little more of what you don’t see.” “We’re going to throw the title on its head,” she said.
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