Season three of V is by no means a sure thing: The producers and cast told Wondercon they remain hopeful, but there's no news yet. But one thing is sure: if V comes back, it'll be a totally different show.
Producer Scott Rosenbaum and star Elizabeth Mitchell took some time to tell us, and a few other reporters, what to expect if V comes back. In a nutshell: More action, faster story-telling, and Erica becoming a vengeful warrior. In other words, the show we all wanted from the beginning.
Minor spoilers ahead.
Rosenbaum told the panel at Wondercon that he's "very hopeful" for a third-season pickup. The show has "amazing fan support," and its viewership was actually growing a bit by the end of season two. In roundtable interviews, he said that if the show does get renewed, it could well be for the fall — but more likely, it would probably be another spring midseason slot.
Season three would pick up the pace
Rosenbaum said that the first two seasons were about turning Erica into "the most hardened warrior possible, to allow her to do what she needs." And that meant taking away everything that matters to her, including her son, so she could "become a soldier in the war." Erica will find out about Tyler's death, and this will move her on to the next phase of her development.
There's no room left for the "scattershot" Fifth Column, adds Rosenbaum — now it's all about the vastly more organized and well-equipped Project Aries.
Mitchell is excited about the possibilities that Project Aries opens up. "We've got nuclear weapons," she exults.
And Erica's first order as a member of Project Aries will be to track down Hobbes, because he has information that the resistance needs. Erica's superiors need Hobbes alive — but there's some question as to whether Erica will obey that order, says Rosenbaum. Once Erica realizes that her lover helped kill her husband, she will want revenge.
"She's devastated that the man she's been sleeping with is the one who actually got her husband killed," says Mitchell. Once Erica's "rage gets going," it should be really something to watch. "Someone's going to have to stop her from doing something rash. Someone's going to have to physically stop her, and from what we've seen, that could be really rough."
I asked Mitchell if she thought Erica would regret not telling Tyler everything she knew earlier, and she responded: "I think she's going to regret like crazy, but that's not going to stop her from doing what she needs to do." Losing a son "would change you. It would deaden you, I think." And she hinted that Erica may be both vengeful and suicidal.
When I asked if she thought it would be good for Erica to be defined less as a mother now that Tyler is gone, she said: "She will always be a mother. That's where her rage will come from." And that's what will make her a full-on warrior. "It's always interesting to see what makes a warrior, but how a warrior behaves is even more interesting. She is a fully formed combatant, a warrior, [which] is going to be way more interesting than watching a tug-of-war with her conscience, which is more internal."
Rosenbaum played it coy as to whether all three of the deaths in the season two finale will stick — but he did promise that Tyler is absolutely dead. "As for the audience disliking [Tyler], I feel bad, because I feel partially responsible, that I didn't write a more interesting version of him," says Rosenbaum. "Logan is a really great actor, but unfortunately this one role for him seemed to [rub] fans the wrong way."
Mitchell says there's definitely some chemistry between Erica and Father Jack that could develop in season three, now that he's no longer a priest. They shot some scenes in season two that showcased Erica and Jack's romantic chemistry, which they never aired, including one where Jack just leans in close and looks at Erica meaningfully.
What went wrong?
Rosenbaum said he would definitely pay attention to fan reaction after each episode aired — especially on the show's Facebook page, where there was a very active discussion. And it was frustrating, because fans would ask why the characters didn't do a particular thing, or express a desire for a storyline to go a particular way. "Things that people wanted were out of my control," said Rosenbaum. "I would say, 'I was going to do that, but I couldn't do that because of reason A, B, C, or D."
Rosenbaum says that he had a lot of external constraints on the storytelling on V, and it sounds like they came from the network. "I've never had this experience before. When I was on The Shield and Chuck, we did the show we wanted to do." But with V, "I had to adjust my storytelling style, and not do the show I wanted to do... I've never been in a situation where there were more constraints on the storytelling than there were on V."
In particular, "I was asked to slow things down tremendously," says Rosenbaum. "That was hard for me to do, because that's not my instinct." But as the show's second season went on and the number of episodes in the season got reduced, "everybody started saying, 'Maybe Scott's right and we should speed it up.'"
The season two finale is finally the show Rosenbaum wanted to be making from day one. "What's beautiful about the last episode is there's a sense of desperation that's palpable," and that feeling "should have been there from day one." The good news is, the game-changing ending to season two means there's no going back. If the show comes back, there's no way anyone can argue that the story shouldn't move forward.
Mitchell sounded a similar note, saying the final six episodes of season two were moving in the right direction: "I want active. I want vicious. I want people struggling with their moral compass. I don't want people sitting around talking." Adds Mitchell: "I felt like the second half of our second season deserves a pickup, and I don't say that lightly. I didn't feel that way about the first season."
Another thing that happened due to time constraints: A lot of Hobbes' storylines got cut out of the show, and his character got "short-shrifted," says Rosenbaum. Even in the final episode, there were scenes filmed where Erica found out that Hobbes was a traitor who helped kill her husband, but those scenes all had to be cut out.