The project: True Blood, currently in its sixth season on HBO
The panel: Actors Anna Paquin, Deborah Ann Woll, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Ryan Kwanten, Nelsan Ellis and Rutina Wesley (pictured), Sam Trammell, Michael McMillian, Anna Camp, Joe Manganiello, newcomer Rob Kazinsky (Warlow), and showrunner Brian “Bucky” Buckner
Footage screened: Just a preview of the second half of season 6. Jessica and company enduring more torture at vamp camp, vampires being tormented, Bill acting all crazy and destructive, lots of Sarah, and Sookie entangled with Warlow in a blood-drenched haze. The final shot was Bill lying face-down on the ground…
Snap judgment: Comic-Con loooooooves True Blood, and the thirsty crowd erupted into raucous cheers for each panelist. When Joe Manganiello said … well, anything, really, but in particular, the simple remark that “Alcide’s not a small guy” – high-pitched screams filled the giant ballroom. New cast member Kazinsky was adorably overwhelmed. “How trippy is this Comic-Con?” he had to point out. “Forty-five-hundred of you right now! Plus, Joe’s really close – and he’s way bigger.”
The big revelations: Not much – the cast remained tight-lipped about the rest of this season. (Check out EW’s videos below for the cast’s reflections on where their characters are at this season.) Manganiello notably lamented the way his character has recently turned off some fans, but insisted Alcide’s still a “great, nice-hearted guy – he just has the worst job in the world and it’s making him nuts.” It’s hard out there for a packmaster, he said – “Except for the three-ways.”
Buckner, a writer from the start who’s taken over from original showrunner Alan Ball (“It’s like being in a car crash,” he admitted), would only say that season 6 would end “awesomely” and promised the show would return to its roots. “We’re going to try to condense the number of stories we’re telling and make this really feel like we’re coming home,” Buckner said to great applause. “I wanna bring it in a little bit. Not to discount Charlaine [Harris]’ books at all, but my hope is to get all these people we love living under this one story and one threat. Really just make it about this small town we’ve all come to know and love.”
About that shaving scene: “I actually thought it was a hazing to begin with,” Kazinsky said of Warlow’s steamy grooming-based encounter with Jason Stackhouse this season. “Ryan made me feel like a lady that day. He couldn’t have been more gentle. Not too much tongue. Just the right amount. A little peekaboo.” He’d certainly picked up on what the True Blood Comic-Con crowd was looking for.
Earlier today, EW’s Managing Editor Jess Cagle sat down with the cast and asked them each to tell us something new – and maybe kinda weird – about themselves. Their answers might surprise you!