The True Blood panel begins in Ballroom 20! Executive Producer Alan Ball takes the stage.
4:38 p.m. Ball introduces a trailer of “sneak peeks of things to come.” What’s in it? Sookie’s inner-faerie comes out. Tara is stripping in tight black leather. Russell busts through a curtain and has a meal or two … or three. Someone throws Pam across the bar. Russell and Eric go at it. Bill gets a big, big bite out of Sookie in bed. Yowza.
4:39 p.m. Panel is introduced. Joe Manganiello (be still, female hearts), Ryan Kwanten, Deborah Ann Woll, Sam Trammel, Rutina Wesley, Christopher Meloni (wearing a funny green cap), Alex Skarsgard (ooh, the women go wild), Kristin Bauer von Straten, Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin (rubbing her very pregnant belly), and Ball.
4:42 p.m. Moderator (and EW staffer) Tim Stack asks if the cast has a beef with Vampire Diaries, which did its panel earlier in the day in Ballroom 20. Moyer: “We don’t talk about them.”
4:43 p.m. Wesley says she enjoys working with Woll and “playing with someone you haven’t played with in years.” Paquin gets a shout-out for playing drunk well.
4:44 p.m. Moyer tells Skarsgard he looks good in his black T-shirt. (They’re playing up that bromance we’ve seen this season). “We’ve had a little too much fun together and its been four years of us fighting over Sookie. There’s like a Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid,” says Skarsgard. Moyer adds, “We have to join together so animosity aside, I felt like when we work together, there is something between us in the past that we haven’t seen yet, like an old friendship.”
4:48 p.m. Time to address Pam’s wardrobe! “I see a Walmart sweatsuit in the front row,” says Von Straten of a group of costumed fans. She talks about the day it was picked out for her. ”There was a rack of Walmart sweatsuits and we start with a yellow one and we say, I don’t think we have to try on anything else.” Meanwhile, Tara has discovered her boobs while stripping! Is she discovering her leathery side, too? “Pam went up to Tara and made me up,” Wesley explained. “My mother called me and said `that bustier!’ It’s been fun to have the fangs out.”
4:51 p.m. Hey Manganiello, did you give Tara stripping lessons? Manganiello, who stars in Magic Mike, starts to tease the crowd by taking off his jacket and gyrating his hips. Dang, he doesn’t take anything off. ”Werewolves stripping, I like that idea,” he says. Wesley then does her own body roll. Meloni asks Ball to body roll, too. The showrunner stands up on his chair and does his best with his hips. The crowd goes wild. “I love my job,” says Paquin, as Manganiello comes up behind Ball and throws him some dollar bills.
4:54 p.m. A question is asked of Meloni, and the audience goes nuts because they want to hear from him. What’s the difference between this show and SVU? ”Trying to figure out what a sex crime is on this show is very different. It’s an interesting world. I never heard of a were panther.” Meloni talks about when he staked the kid in the Authority scene. “My wife was watching the show, and she’s like, `it’s so obvious it’s not going to be the kid.’ It’s pretty much the one thing I wanted to do. If I was going to be a vampire, you gotta let me stake someone. I thought I was going to be monologuing. It was very intricate, very technical. The kid didn’t actually explode.” He then rolls his hips when a woman screams for him.
5:01 p.m. There will be more flashbacks of the Stackhouse parents, Ball promised. “Were going to learn more about what happened to them and the affects on Sookie and Jason.”
5:05 p.m. Moderator asks if there are going to be any more good sex scenes. Manganiello said, “I sexually eviscerate one the cast members in an episode coming up.” Skarsgard says, “it’s me.” Ball confirms that there are “definitely some hot sex scenes,” coming up, “and all tastes will be satisfied.”
5:11 p.m. Moderator tells Skarsgard that a lot of people on Twitter want him to star in the movie version of 50 Shades of Grey. “I gotta read that. I haven’t read it.” Moyer replies, “He’s just lived the life.” Says Skarsgard, ”All I heard is he’s got a chamber in his basement.” Paquin: “You’ve got experience in that!”
5:17 p.m. Look at the time! Turns out HBO asked for the panel to last an hour. (They’re usually wrapped up after 45 minutes).
5:17 p.m. Von Straten talks about when Pam had rotting flesh. “It was fun to give up vanity all together. I like the process. At a certain point, I wanted to be able to see out of both eyes. I like that stuff … for three weeks.” Von Straten said she saved pieces of rotting Pam in her office, including her rotted piece of lip.
5:20 p.m. A fan asks if we’ll see a weretiger. Says Ball, “As of now, there are no plans for that, but I am stepping back from running the show and they may chose otherwise.” Another fan tells Meloni his SVU character was great and asks whether he’d return for the finale, “whenever the hell that happens.” “I’m always willing to consider it,” Meloni said. “I had 12 great years on that show and I loved playing that character. There is no bad blood there. It’s still doing okay, I guess.” A woman then asks for Skarsgard’s name card. He obliges, signs it, and then blows a kiss. He gets applause. “Anyone else?” Then Meloni asks for an autograph and gets a kiss from Skarsgard, too.
5:24 p.m. Ball promises a fan that we will see three new romances this season.
5:25 p.m. A fan asks whether we’ll see a faerie war in the series. “We have at least one, possibly two more seasons, um possibly three for all I know of the show going forward. I would say there probably is a chance of that,” Ball said. Another fan comes up to the microphone and asks Skarsgard and Manganiello to flex their muscles. Meloni takes out his cell phone and starts filming. But it won’t happen. Says Skarsgard. “We’re legally not allowed to do that with Joe on the show.” Adds Moyer, “I will literally not go to taking anything off when Joe is part of the cast. And, by the way, Ryan.” Kwanten jumps in and says Manganiello, Kwanten and Skarsgard have made it difficult for the rest of the men. Moyer then says, “How about that handstand from Ryan?” The crowd starts to clap in support. Will Kwanten actually do a handstand for the audience? He stands up, looks around, and goes in front of the table. Oh man, he does it. He’s walking across the stage on his hands. Truly amazing.
5:34 p.m. Moyer ends the panel by paying tribute to Ball. ”Everytime you think you just did the most amazing scene, you get something more incredible from Alan Ball. It would be a very fitting end to this panel to thank Alan Ball for making this happen.” The crowd and the cast give Ball a standing ovation. “If I wasn’t so old and tired and so beat up I would do more seasons of this show,” Ball said. “It’s the most fun I’ve had in my career.”
Before the panel, Ball and the cast stopped by EW.com’s Comic-Con lounge. Watch the two-part interview below: