After 13 episodes, including a barnstorming finale that both wrapped the miniseries up nicely whilst hinting at more to come, Heroes Reborn concluded last month leaving fans asking: What now? I put that question and more to Heroes creator/executive producer Tim Kring, as we spoke all things Heroes…
TVOvermind: What was your main point of inspiration when you first put pen to paper on Heroes Reborn?
Tim Kring: There was a lot to accomplish with the opening episode of this show. We had to set up an entirely new world, five years after the end of the original series. We had to build on the mythology of the original series, while not tying the audience so closely to it that it would aggressively keep any new viewers from knowing what we were talking about. So there was a real balancing act we had to do. But I think the inspiration was really about lighting a fuse for a whole new cast of characters, and making a comment about the dire straits that we find ourselves in in the world today. As with the original series, I wanted to make the statement we are all in this together. While the first series was more aspirational, with our characters on a journey of discovery about their extraordinary abilities, this series was more about the rubber meeting the road, dispensing with the existential journey, and putting those abilities to use.
What was the biggest challenge you came across when making Heroes Reborn?
This series had tremendous production challenges, even more so than the original series. First of all, we began production in Toronto, Canada in the dead of winter. We had to work around the weather for a couple months because our story did not take place in the winter. We ran the writers room of the show out of Los Angeles, so many of the major creative decisions we being made 3000 miles, and three hours time difference away from the production. This made for a lot of logistic difficulties. Just scheduling Skype calls and meetings became enormously complicated.
We also tried to tackle a large number of technically visual elements this time around. The entire Evernow story with Katana Girl was filmed using motion capture, a complicated technique requiring a special 360-degree stage, dozens of cameras, and an entirely different cinematic style. The raw footage was then computer generated into animation. This took months to complete for every frame that we shot. So we had to plan months in advance for the elements that we were dropping in to each episode.
We also shot in numerous locations around the world – Toronto, Los Angeles, Paris, France, the deserts of Jordan, the ice flows of Iceland. So we were a bit of a three-ring circus.
I also have to mention El Vengador’s suit, which took months of planning and trial and error to get right. We worked with the extraordinary team at Legacy Effects, the same group who made the suit in Ironman.
Are you happy with the general fan reaction as well as the numbers for the show?
It’s hard to monitor everything that is said out there, but in general the fan reaction was terrific. I think we really kept people guessing, and delivered on the promise to tell a complete story in our 13 episode series. As you know, this was always the plan with Heroes Reborn. I said repeatedly from the beginning that the series would come to an end after 13 episodes. It was very important to keep this promise to the fans. Having only a limited number of episodes to tell story really pushed us to create a lot of twists and turns, and to write towards a complete conclusion to the story.
As with the original series, our audience finds the show on many different platforms. For that reason, it is difficult to judge our performance by traditional standards of nightly ratings or numbers. Over half of our audience watched the show in other ways besides the appointed time on the network within 7 days of the broadcast. That’s huge. And we also know that a show like Heroes Reborn will have a long tail, meaning that fans will continue to find the show for the next year or even more as it rolls out on even more platforms. The show has always been designed to be binge watched. So we expect that many people will do just that. Again, “numbers” are very relative term these days, and certainly not the whole story Survey show’s success, especially with a younger, tech savvy demographic like we have with fans of the Heroes universe.
Have you had any indication as to whether NBC are open to another miniseries?
It was very important that this be a stand-alone event. In looking back at the original series, I was not comfortable with the ongoing serialized saga model of the show. It was extremely difficult to sustain, and relied heavily on cliffhangers that kept attempting to top themselves each episode. I believe the show always wanted to be rare and special, and as I have said it is impossible to be rare and special when you on the air all the time. We had orders of up to 26 episodes a year on the original series. Each one of these episodes is like a mini movie, and we just could not maintain the quality with that heavy of an order.
As for Heroes Reborn, there was literally never a word of discussion with the top brass about doing more episodes. However, I think it was always expected that when the 13 episodes came to an end we could gauge whether or not there was an appetite for another series somewhere down the road that would tell a completely different story in the Heroes saga. We wanted to keep the door open by teasing a tiny bit of story to come, and I certainly have ideas about what that story would be, but I have yet to have any of the initial discussions about this with NBC.
Which Heroes character is most like yourself?
I don’t know that any of them in Heroes Reborn were in any way based on me. In the original series, especially at the beginning, I would say that I found a lot of connections with Peter Petrelli. I always felt a kinship with his humanity and that dreamer quality of his that he was meant for something extraordinary. I honestly think that most of us deep down feel that way. But when you write all of these different characters, it’s very difficult to not see and hear some of your own voice in their dialogue –the turn of a phrase, the punch line of a joke, Etc.
Do you have a message for the Heroes fans?
My message is one of humility and gratitude for the millions who have watched and rooted for us over the years. To all of you, I would just say I honestly believe that there is more story to come. The Heroes universe was always meant to be a large one, capable of encompassing new stories and new characters. I still very much believe in the underlying message of hope, interconnectivity, and global consciousness. The world desperately needs saving and it is going to take ordinary people with extraordinary abilities to do that. This is a message that I want to continue to put into the world. So when we are given an opportunity to tell more stories in the Heroes universe, whether that’s in comic books, games, TV shows, or even movies, it will be both of our honor and our privilege to do so.
Heroes Reborn aired its season finale on Jan. 21 on NBC and will be released on DVD/Blu-ray on April 12. The show is currently airing on 5STAR in the UK, every Tuesday at 9 p.m. GMT.
[Photos by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images & NBC]