There were plenty of screaming fans during the "Heroes" panel and presentation at Comic-Con in San Diego, but there were a few gasps (and pre-teen giggles) thrown in during the season four teaser trailer as co-star Hayden Panettiere was shown locking lips with another lady.
That lady would be Madeline Zima, who plays Panettiere's character Clair's new roommate and confidant during her freshman year at college - one of many additions to the cast of the NBC series highlighted today (July 25). "Heroes" newcomers Robert Knepper, who is best known for his role as T-Bag in "Prison Break," Dawn Olivieri and Ray Park were also on hand to introduce the first glimpses into the "Redemption" chapter of the "Heroes" story.
The theme of redemption - and, as always, vengeance - runs deep into this season, as is the return to an "ordinary" life to unordinary people who were "bagged and tagged" by the government the last season. The show's creator Tim Kring, however, spent time explaining how audiences now will see a loophole, and another world, of other heroes with superpowers, who have been existing in tandem undetected.
"We're creating a new wrinkle in the mythology of the show -- this idea that alongside of the show you've been watching, there's been this other family of people who had powers who had figured out how to live with us and alongside of us, to hide in plain sight. So we created this idea of a carnival," Kring said. "If you can breathe fire, than what better way to sort of fit in plain sight than join a carnival and become a fire eater."
Characters like Clair, Milo Ventimiglia's paramedic Peter Petrelli, Adrian Pasclar senatorial Nathan Petrelli and Greg Grunberg's detective Matt Parkman all make attempts at a normal life in season four, though at least a few undoubtedly will come face to face with the circus. One episode's action sequences features Peter fighting Park's super-speedy hero character, with knives and a terrified Noah Bennet (Coleman).
After a number of trials - like dying, coming back to life and killing his own father -- Peter has "seen it all, he's gotten a lot more humor about everything, he smiles a little easier," Ventimiglia said. "But yet he's still the guy that if somebody comes at him swinging, he's gonna swing back harder."
Masi Oka's character Hiro will be starting a small business with his old friend Ando and essentially correcting the mistakes of his past as he faces his terminal illness and imminent death.
As for Clair's re-entry into society, she talks of her new friendship with Zima's character Gretchen, which marks the first time since the first season that Clair has been able to grow close to another character."We have a very interesting relationship, as you just saw," Panettiere said, alluding to the trailer's pucker, though not revealing the exact nature of the unusual pairing.
"Zach and I will be sharing a body. It'll be a little bit of a Jeckyll and Hyde thing," Pasclar says.
Quinto, who distractedly attempted to make a paper airplane out of his own nametag during the panel, mentioned his filming highlights so far include shooting with an ever-crying baby and climbing out of a grave.
And when given the imaginary battle between Quinto's Spock character from the newest "Star Trek" versus his "Heroes" creep Sylar, Quinto thinks Spock would ultimately win. "I think that honestly, in the end, Spock would take it. Only because he's fighting ultimately for good and I like to believe that'll always win." Leonard Nemoy versus Zach Quinto. "Leonard would drop me in about 30 seconds."