Kring, who created the Heroes franchise and executive produced it through all four original seasons, was on the cusp of a major turning point just before NBC pulled the plug. But those stories didn't die with Heroes' initial run, they just went into hibernation in the back of Kring's brain. So when Heroes Reborn was finally greenlit and Kring the nugget of an idea off of ice, he didn't want to pretend that five years hadn't passed since Heroes and Heroes Reborn. Heroes Reborn, for all intents and purposes, should have the feeling of Heroes season nine, with those five extra season just put on the fast track.
During San Diego Comic Con International, Kring spoke to reporters about how Heroes Reborn furthers the story he always wanted to tell, what it was like getting the show's old cast back together, and how Heroes could continue after Heroes Reborn.
What was the initial idea that made you want to revisit the world of Heroes with Heroes Reborn?
Well, I haven't made it a secret that I always thought there was more story to tell. We did leave leave at a time and plot point—probably the biggest plot point in the series—was our final minute in the series when Hayden Painter outs the idea that people with powers existed. So the world finally knew that people with powers existed, and then we ended the show. It felt like the nuggets of the idea was built tin to that moment. We had to come back and address that the world knows about people with powers. Had we come back for fifth season, we probably would have told a story about how the world feels about them, and slowly against them. But since we decided to reopen the world five years from that moment—the same amount of time the audience has been away from that moment—we went right to the place where there's paranoia and persecution. So a lot of of the story was dictated by what we left cliffhanging for the audience.
Had Heroes continued on for these past five years, do you think the show would have ultimately led towards where the story is now?
Yeah. What you just said was a big part of our discussion in the first week in the writer's room. We asked, "what is the continuum that would lead the story fives years, from season four's finale to now?" We tried to stay as true to that natural progression as possible, so the audience felt the show's original DNA. Yes, there's going to be the missing years, but half the fun now is getting to go and fill them in with flashbacks.
How did you go about selecting the returning characters? Did you write the story first then reach out to the cast, or see who was available first?
For some of the characters, like Masi Oka and Jack Coleman's character,I knew from the very beginning that I wanted them. I wanted Jack Coleman's character because I knew he was the one had thriller elements to him. I wanted Heroes Reborn to feel like a thriller, and Coleman's HRG character totally delivers that feeling. He's the man who's trying to figure stuff out in a world filled with mistrust. Then we knew we were going to deal with the idea of bending time, so we needed Hiro to do that. And as we went along and wrote the stories, we realized how great it would be to have returning characters, like Greg Grunberg. So that's actually how it with each character. As soon as the idea for an actor came up in the writer's room, I reached out to that actor.
What's it like re-uninting with the veteran cast members?
After all of these years, we've established such a shorthand. It's one thing in theory, but then when they actually arrived on the set and fell back into place, I was like "oh my god, this is amazing!" Five years just disappeared. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
So you have 13 episodes set for this story. But, if things go well on the ratings side and NBC wants more Heroes, do you have more stories already percolating?
The beautiful thing about the Heroes premise is that there's an indeterminate number of people out there popping up and developing powers. Couple that with the idea that the world always needs saving, and it means that Heroes is a very malleable concept with an elastic premise. We haven't given any thought to what happens after episode 13. This is a self-contained story And if we're invited back by the audience, I believe that we can find more story to tell.
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Heroes Reborn premiers on September 24 on NBC.