The Project: TNT’s Falling Skies
The Panel: Noah Wyle (Tom), Moon Bloodgood (Anne), Connor Jessup (Ben), “the devastatingly handsome” Drew Roy (Hal) – as moderator and Star Trek: The Next Generation alum Wil Wheaton called the actor – Colin Cunningham (Pope), “the face-meltingly beautiful” Sarah Carter (Maggie) – another Wheaton descriptor – Doug Jones (Cochise), executive producer Remi Aubuchon, and director/executive producer Greg Beeman
Footage screened: The audience was treated to a brief clip from the upcoming July 21 episode. Karen has Tom on a torture table in a creepy, alien place, not unlike the harnessing factory from season 2. The professor-turned-soldier tells Karen, “Go to hell.” She leans in and whispers ominously, “If you haven’t noticed, this is hell.” Once Tom manages to get the upper hand in the situation, he puts a gun to Karen’s forehead. When he’s sure he’s gotten all the information about Anne and Lexi he can from her (which isn’t much), he shoots her point blank! That shocking end to the clip had the audience gasping in a collective “ohhhh!” followed by cheers. Let’s hope Hal’s ex-girlfriend-turned-formidable-alien-ally is really dead – or does Falling Skies have a trick up its sleeve?
At the end of the panel, there was also a screening of a sizzle reel with footage from the remaining episodes of season 3. Moment to most look forward to from that: A high-octane train sequence with Pope leaning off the side of the train, firing off a rifle at what only can be enemy aliens.
Snap judgement: The panel was loaded with plenty of warm, fuzzy moments as the cast raved about their experience shooting the show, praised their co-stars, and thanked the fans. There was some good, rather fascinating discussion involving the themes of the show and their connections to the American Revolutionary War – Jessup talked about the question of whether to preserve the innocence of children like Matt Mason or to use them as soldiers and hopefully let a future post-war generation get a more idyllic childhood. Fun and comical moments were largely courtesy of and fueled by – who else? – Wil Wheaton. One topic was surprisingly untouched on the panel: talk of Aubuchon’s departure from the show before season 4.
The Big Revelations: No major spoilers for what’s to come aside from that clip with Karen.
Most incisive audience question: One fan asked the panelists how each of them would like their characters to die if they were killed off – a worthy question considering the recent criticism from EW.com commenters that Falling Skies could take some more risks with a “no one is safe” approach to character survival. Creative responses from the cast ranged from serious to comical. A few samples: Wyle said he’d like Tom to die an old man, while Bloodgood wants Anne to die in battle. Roy said, “I’d like to hijack a Beemer and fly through the air then crash into something to save everyone.” Carter produced a chorus of “awww” from the crowd when she leaned into Roy’s shoulder and said, “I want Maggie to die in her man’s arms.” Pointing out that Cochise has been a warrior his entire life, Jones dreamed up a happy ending for the alien character: “I would like him to die in the throes of passion with Mrs. Cochise.”
Later during the panel, when Jones joked that he’d probably play any additional Vohm characters because “they only have one costume,” Jessup slyly observed, “So keep in mind, if there were a Mrs. Cochise, Doug would also have to play her.” Wheaton declared, “One million points to Connor!” So if you’re wondering who the winner of this panel is, by Wheaton’s count, it’s Jessup.