"Sleepy Hollow" returned for a victory lap at the 2014 TCA summer press tour, cementing its status as one of the few breakout hits of the last TV season and the only broadcast network series to hold a second season panel at the annual event.
As such, the session was full of (minor) spoilers and if you still haven't caught up with season one or want to go into season two knowing absolutely nothing you should probably stop reading this right now.
If you're still with us, here's a breakdown of the hottest topics addressed by series stars Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie and John Noble and executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Len Wiseman, Mark Goffman and Heather Kadin:
Season two ups the stakes, considerably
"War is coming to town," Orci teases. "Quite literally as personified by Mr. Noble [whose character was revealed to be the son of Ichabod Crane in a huge season finale twist]. War can tear not only a town apart but a family apart. This is about Katrina and Crane and the potential conflict of, 'Can they redeem their son or not?' And how does Abbie deal with knowing [Ichabod's son is evil] ... sometimes you have to go at evil the hard way."
Things are a lot smoother behind the scenes
In season one, the show was frequently racing to catch up to the production schedule -- a key reason the first season was ultimately limited to 13 episodes. That's been addressed for season two. "Since we knew where we were ending [season one], we started right back up [on season two] in February," Goffman reports. "We're breaking [episode] 11 in the room now and shooting episode seven. We have a much better more clear road map. The crew is really coming together, it's been a lot more fun."
The official episode count for season two is 18
Will it grow beyond that number? "No," Wiseman says bluntly. "We have so much story we're packing into those episodes. I would say it's fair enough that every episode of the first season was spilling out with story. That actually was quite a challenge for us. This allows for that to have some breathing room but it's a blessing and a cruse."
"The big thing is getting enough advance warning to plan the season accordingly," Kurtzman adds.
"As you start to do more than 18 it really does feel hard," Goffman says. "We approach each episode as the next chapter in an epic adventure. It's really hard to do for 22."
When Orci jokes, "The actors want 26 [episodes]," Beharie immediately deadpans: "I think we would die."
New faces, new foes
Wiseman teases a few new adversaries for Ichabod and Abbie this season. "We have a wendigo creature that is unearthed, I think we've done a very good job of presenting him in a new life ... a succubus, a kindred, the Pied Piper," adding that the producers are always looking for familiar characters to give a "'Sleepy Hollow' fun twist."
"It's about making sure the characters come in a manifestation of a problem our characters are going through," Kurtzman adds. "We hope that way the characters are resonant."
On the less demonic side of things (we think), Goffman reveals: "We have a new sheriff in town, Lena Reyes. That's going to pose a lot of really cool conflict for Crane and Abbie as they try to work their way in the precinct as they did with Irving. She has a history in Sleepy Hollow but she's been border patrol for awhile..."
"She has more history with Abbie and Jenny than they know when they first meet her," Kadin adds.
Attention shippers: Expect more sexual tension between Ichabod and Abbie (kind of)
"Their relationship is at the core of the show and everything we do," Goffman says of the central characters. "We're always thinking, 'How are we going to test that relationship?' Picking up at the beginning of season two there are going to be some real trust issues. Crane had betrayed Abbie's trust in redrawing this map of purgatory."
"I think Abbie and Crane need each other very desperately," Kurtzman observes. "It was one of the things that got us so excited when we wrote the pilot. As a man out of a time he needs her for guidance, and she's been so alone all her life. They have a very unique connection from the start, a deeper connection than even they understood. The level of intimacy has to be played for what it is, which is how much they need each other."
"Running through the woods, chasing monsters is profoundly erotic," Mison jokes. "Sometimes I just have to throw a saucy look. #Icabbie." [And yes, he actually said "hashtag."]
But before things get too out of hand, Goffman speaks up to remind everyone: "You know, Crane is married, he has a wife. She could be in purgatory or captured by the horseman, but he's hopelessly in love with her and that is something not to be forgotten. Also, it's just hard to have relationships during the apocalypse."
"It's a mood killer," Mison agrees.
Noble chimes in to add: "[Their relationship] doesn't need to be romantic, it's much more interesting than that."
And Beharie agrees: "One of the things that attracted me to this part was she has a relationship with a man but it's not necessarily romantic. She's not defined by sexual or amorous desires, she's unearthing all these things about her past. This person who seems that he shouldn't be in her life, he's her partner. Crane has become a family member in a way, and the closest person she's ever had in her life."
Ichabod's son is Moloch's new right hand man
"He was released by Moloch and in doing so he sold his being," Noble explains of his character's role this season. "He becomes this mechanic whose job is to do exactly what Moloch wants to satisfy his greater gods. Not such a pleasant thing. He's really good at being this mechanic, putting relationships into place to destroy society and eventually bring about the apocalypse... He doesn't even like Moloch but he has to do it."
"We will eventually revisit the areas of father, mother son to see what humanity is left. We deliberately haven't gone there yet but I think we have to and it's going to be fascinating."
Yes, the producers are reading what Sleepyheads write online
Kadin has one example: "The skinny jeans thing was inspired by fans saying 'Oh my God is he ever gonna get out of those clothes?'"
"There will be some new wardrobe this season," Goffman adds with a laugh.
Ichabod is still adjusting to the 21st Century
"It's less about reacting to modern technology and [laughing at] a man out of time," Goffman says. "It's much more social commentary -- how someone was around and mates with our founding fathers. Ichabod was here at the beginning of our country and fought for that. Now he's observing [the 21st Century]. That's why he and Abbie are so interesting together. He'll get to see voting, he learns how to drive -- inspired by Tom who is learning how to drive -- those are the moments that excite me."
"I think the more the better," Wiseman says about Ichabod's reactions. "I adore it, it's really charming, it's a great part of Ichabod's character. [He shouldn't] get too comfortable and all of a sudden he slides into our world too easily ... I love to always be reminded he's not from here and of this time."
"It's a really refreshing perspective on things we take for granted," Beharie says before revealing one moment from an upcoming episode will involve Ichabod walking into a bank and being confused by a pen attached to a chain. "In the dire circumstances they're in it's nice to have a moment of levity."
"It could be easy for things to become earnest," Mison agrees. "So it's nice to see a grown man become confused by a pen."