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PaleyFest 2011: Details From HBO's True Blood Panel

The fans are hungry for blood.

Or, in this case, more True Blood, which doesn't return for another few months yet, sadly. However, the cast and crew of HBO's seductive vampire drama was on hand last night for the Paley Festival's True Blood panel, which brought together an astonishing 17 actors from the series on stage with creator Alan Ball.

The evening, moderated by TV Guide Magazine's Debra Birnbaum, kicked off with a selection from the Paley Center's archives--in this case, a fitting scene from the pilot episode of the similarly fanged Buffy the Vampire Slayer--before presenting a sizzle reel from the first three seasons of True Blood... and a scene from the upcoming fourth season.

So just what did we lucky attendees get to see from Season Four? The scene that Ball presented was set outside Fangtasia as a mob gathered outside the club to protest, chanting "Steve Newman's right; you're devils of the night." (Hmmm, any chance we might get to see the Fellowship of the Sun again and those dastardly Newmans?)

Pam, Hoyt, and Jessica--who step outside to see what the commotion is--are reminded only too well that this is a "post-Russell Edgington world" now. Everything seems peaceful until Hoyt gets involved, attempting to get into a debate with one protester about how he can't possibly be Christian because he's standing in the way of love. But when said protester calls Jessica a "vampire whore," things take a turn for the very, very nasty...

What else did we learn over the course of the season about the characters and what lies ahead for the denizens of Bon Temps? Let's take a look, though WARNING! There are spoilers ahead!

Sookie. "There's some stuff that's different," said Anna Paquin about Sookie's state when she returns from Claudine's world in Season Four. "We will see what she learned tempering the way she goes about looking for independence."

But don't expect Sookie to return with full control over her faerie abilities, like those microwave fingers she's brought forth upon occasion. "She's new at this faerie stuff."

Sookie and Alcide? Asked whether there's any hope for Sookie and Alcide to get together this season, Paquin said, "Well, he doesn't turn into a ball of charred fire in the daytime... Alcide has that nice, warm thing going, which is a plus. But he comes with some baggage, which is less of a plus."

Sookie and Bill? "It's hard not to think of them as soulmates when they're soulmates in real life," said Ball about Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer's Sookie and Bill. Still, Ball wants 17 more seasons of True Blood in order to explore all the possible romantic permutations for Sookie. (So, Bill-haters, don't take this too much to heart.)

THAT Scene. "I got to have my own f--- puppet," said Moyer about that whiplash-inducing scene with Lorena this past season.

Vampire Showdowns. Bill and Queen Sophie-Anne had a bit of a "bite-off" at the end of last season, said Moyer. Look for a major battle between Bill, Sophie-Anne, and someone else to come to the light as it were.

Eric. Eric's amnesia storyline is definitely a go for this season, revealed Skarsgaard, who said that Eric looses his memory thanks to some malevolent influences this season. ("He messed with the wrong people," revealed Ball.)

"Things are defintely unstable for Eric," he said. "He doesn't know who he is. Thousands of years of human resentment, gone."

As for whether there's a shot at Sookie and Eric getting together, the cast and Ball were equally tight-lipped. "You're just going to have to watch," said Paquin.

Godric. Look for Godric to return this season, either in flashback or dream sequence. "Or he was cloned," joked Alan Ball.

Pam. Fan-favorite Pam (Kristin Bauer van Stratten) attracted quite a bit of attention during the evening. Asked whether we'd ever see some flashbacks between Pam and Eric, KBVS said, "Well, I'd love to see what Audrey Fischer would do with the clothing." And when asked who she'd like to work with that she hasn't gotten to, Rutina Wesley said that she wanted to see some Tara/Pam action, prompting Ball to say, "You will." (For her part, Bauer van Stratten wanted to do a scene with Ryan Kwanten's Jason, while Anna Paquin said that her favorite lines were "everything Pam ever says, ever.")

Witches. Responding to a question about portrayals of Wicca and its practitioners, Ball said that the way into Season Four's witches storyline will be through a circle of Wiccans, but said "there is a more evil force" at work here. "We've tried to preserve the traditions of Wicca as much as we can," said Ball, who revealed that the writing staff had done a lot of research on the subject.

Niall. Those hoping to see the character of Niall from Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novel series may have to wait a little while longer: Ball said Niall will eventually make an appearance on the show, but it may not be this season.

Jessica and Hoyt. "The fairytale can't go on forever," said Deborah Ann Woll about Jessica and Hoyt's romance, "but maybe reality is better than a fairytale." (Aw.)

Russell Edgington. "There are definite plans to bring back Russell," said Ball. "He is gonna be pissed." Ball said that he and the writers specifically decided not to kill off Denis O'Hare's Russell in an effort to leave the door open for his return down the line.

Sam Merlotte's Love Life. Sam Trammel says Sam has a "slim" shot at love this season. (Hmmm... Any takers on with whom?)

Jason Stackhouse. "Jason wants a super power so badly and can't," said Ryan Kwanten. "He's like a rarity in this town." (Yet, there were no questions about Jason and the werepanther all evening. Huh.)

"If anyone should not be in charge of a bunch of meth addicts, it's Jason Stackhouse."

Andy Bellefleur. "A lot of V came into the station... and that's where he works," said Chris Bauer on Andy's, uh, temptation this season. Looks like Andy is concealing a secret of his own.

Tara. Where Tara goes at the end of the season will be revealed early on, according to Wesley, and there is a chance of happiness for Tara. Or maybe not. "Maybe," said Wesley when asked.

And Baby Makes Three. So what's up this season with Arlene and Terry's baby? "The last we left it, her baby was on board," said Carrie Preston. And that problem grows, er, exponentially."

Season Four's Themes. Asked about the overarching theme of Season Four, Ball said, rather tongue-in-cheek, "It's about the duality of existence... Or man versus nature... the terrors of intimacy... Eh, it's just True Blood. It's for the fans: an escapist, emotional, terrifying journey is all that matters."

Guest Stars and New Characters. The guest stars this season will include Gary Cole and Fiona Shaw, the latter of which will play a, well, witch, "among other things," teased Ball. New characters will include witches, vampires, shifters, a child, some humans, and a new werewolf.

Season Four of True Blood is set to air this summer on HBO.


Anonymous said…
Thanks so much for working on a Sunday Jace!!!!

givelovesolong said…
Really, *really* can't wait for this new season. Feels like it's been ages!

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