By: Kevin Kelly, Special TCA Correspondent
The full cast and crew were brought onto FOX’s stage, which was ominously bathed in red light for the occasion. Brian Austin Green, Garret Dillahunt, Leven Rambin, Thomas Dekker, Lena Headey, and of course, the Terminatrix Summer Glau herself. I only wish they would have had gleaming Terminator exoskeletons with piercing laser stares lining the stage to really complete the illusion.
Lena was asked about the nasty things fans had been saying (are still saying?) about her portrayal of Sarah Connor. According to producer James Middleton, fans responded to the “fire she brought to the role.” Personally, I’m interested to see what she does in season two, because I don’t think she had enough time to really get into the role that still feels like it belongs to Linda Hamilton. I don’t love her, don’t hate her, but I’m willing to wait on it. A bit.
James Middleton was asked about the challenges about working on the Terminator TV show, and the new Christian Bale Terminator movie coming out next May, and said that they both take “cues” from the original films, but that they take the orignal idea and go in two different directions. Each franchise is meant to live alone, and they’re buffeted by the idea that “fate is what you make it” – i.e. these could be different alternate realities for the different characters from Terminator.
When asked what it would be like to try and sustain the show through 24 episodes, given that season one was only nine episodes long. Summer Glau chimed in that “our new cast members sure help!” They’ve beefed up the Brian Austin Green role substaintially, and Garret Dillahunt will get a lot more screentime as the Terminator in disguise as well. Leven Rambin will be joining the cast as a blonde-haired Riley, a “normal, regular high school girl.” Dammit, I was really hoping she was another sexy robot.
Fans of the show last season will wonder if Summer’s Terminator has “turned to the dark side,” but they wouldn’t crack and give us any secrets. It’s crazy, what… do they expect us to watch this show and not get all of our information from spoilers on the internet? She did say that she’s approached by a lot of fans in public, but that they also approach her when she’s at ” the pharmacy, in the produce section, or in the airport. They’re very nice, but I’m just a normal girl I tell them, as I reach for the celery.”
The geeky question of the panel was: “Why was Summer’s Terminator able to emulate a teenager so well in the pilot episode, and fool everyone so well, but now she seems to almost know nothing about human behavior?” Nice question, albeit extremely geeky. Producer Josh Friedman cleared it up by saying “Well, she had been briefed on that situation, so she knew how to behave in that particular situation,” but beyond that she didn’t know much. So that sort of clears it up.
Summer was asked if she was trying to channel V.I.C.I (the Voice Imprint Child Identicant) from SMALL WONDER in her Terminator character, which was probably the best question asked all day. Sadly, Summer didn’t even know what SMALL WONDER was. We’d love to see VICI guest star on Terminator as a badass robotress who does battle with Summer. Is that out of the question?
Dumbest question asked? Well, someone nicely asked “I know you don’t like to tell things in advance, but can you let us know what happens in the first episode so we can write about it?” Josh Friedman joked, “Oh, well since you put it THAT way!” However, his real answer ended up being “No.” Although he did go on to say that one of the characters goes through a major change. You gotta give ’em kudos for asking.
They won’t be spending “too much time in the time-travel rabbit hole” which is unfortunate because doesn’t that sound like a fun ride? Suffice it to say, this season will feature robots killing people. I think that’s about all we gleaned from the Terminator panel. That, and the fact that we’re heading into a Skynet world. When the internet becomes sentient a couple of years from now, things will really hit the fan.