Eric and J.J. talk about working with an epic rock soundtrack on Revolution.
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Show creator Eric Kripke talks about Nora’s mythology and the fun of writing for “bad guy” characters.
Revolution showrunner Eric Kripke doesn’t want to hold onto the NBC drama’s central mystery — What caused the blackout? — too much longer. And he’s giving some hints about what the answer might entail.
“We’re talking very seriously about revealing [what caused the blackout] before end of this season,” Kripke tells EW. The answer is something that’s passed muster from a physicist consulted by the producers. So expect what caused the blackout to be at least somewhat scientifically plausible.
“The sweet spot is to find an answer that’s actually scarier than what you were thinking,” Kripke says. “Like, ‘Oh wait, this is not even just about electricity.’ And that’s what we’re designing. I don’t see any reason to withhold it much longer.”
Billy Burke, who plays Miles on the breakout drama, says Kripke’s blackout answer has managed to assure the actors, who have had many of the same questions about why certain technologies no longer function as fans. “We’re asking those questions on a daily basis,” Burke says. “We have conversations on set all the time — ‘What about this? What about that? Wouldn’t that work?’ There always seem to be a technologically sound answer for the questions.”
One fan question about the epic power loss that’s been asked since the pilot — Wouldn’t steam engines work? — was answered in a recent episode that showed a steam train. Another recent episode featuring a thunderstorm resulted in a debate in the writers room over whether lightning would still work (it does).
A giant Revolution revelation makes creative sense. Fans of the show don’t tune in each week for nuggets about the blackout mystery, so it’s really unlikely answering that question will result in a ratings drain. Whereas holding onto mysteries too long sometimes annoys viewers. The show’s characters, frankly, have bigger things to worry about. Noting that the blackout occurred 15 years before the show’s main storyline, Kripke asks, “How much are you sweating what happened in 1997?”
Eric Kripke and the cast talk about the mythological what if posed in “Soul Train.”
Revolution is a J.J. Abrams-produced show, which typically means all talent involved stay tight-lipped about what happens next, but creator Eric Kripke has actually been rather open about the fate of Charlie, Danny, Miles, et al. During a conference call with journalists on Thursday, Kripke was rather forthcoming about what we can expect to happen next on the new post-apocalyptic show.
Warning to those of you still catching up on your DVR: SPOILERS AHEAD about Revolution’s first four episodes – plus, of course, some teases about episodes yet to air.
No answers yet about why the blackout happened, but he did give us a sense of when we can expect to find out why the world suddenly lost all electrical power. Fresh off the news of a full season pickup, Kripke talked about why he decided to kill off Maggie, when we will see Miles and Monroe come face-to-face and his approach to secret-keeping and -revealing.
The cause of the blackout may be revealed before the end of season 1.
Kripke said that the show’s writers are still discussing how early to reveal why the lights went out, but there’s a distinct possibility we’ll know before the first season ends. The creator’s philosophy on revealing answers and wrapping up storylines before moving onto a bigger one is not unlike his approach to his other show, Supernatural. “For me the longer you drag out an answer, the more pressure there is that that answer is the greatest answer ever given in the history of man,” he said. “I would prefer we answer questions quickly and then ask more questions. Answer a question and then open a door to a whole other bigger room.” As for what will be in that bigger room, Kripke promised that the truth about the cause of the blackout “leads directly to a bigger and scarier mystery.”
But until fans learn the cause of the blackout, Kripke says, “You should look for clues everywhere,” including that shot of planet Earth in the pilot. That gradual sweep of darkness across the world, starting at a specific point was intentional. “What you saw in that globe shot is an accurate representation” of how the lights went out, Kripke said.
Killing off Maggie makes the stakes very real
Revolution‘s latest episode featured the death of a character who fans previously expected to be a long-running regular. Kripke explained his thinking behind the decision to kill her off so early: “I sort of have a bad habit in the shows I run of killing off the people that I love. And I think Maggie was one of those. We decided internally very early on that it was really important to show that this world had very real stakes and that it was truly dangerous because you’re not close to hospitals, you’re not close to paramedics, you’re not close to help. We very quickly realized that the scariest thing we could do was to kill the doctor among them.”
The search for Danny will end in episode 10.
Charlie’s quest to save her brother is a “prologue to a much bigger story,” Kripke said. “We never had any intention of keeping the search for Danny going forever… By episode 10, we will have played that prologue out, and it’s time to begin the next chapter of the show and explore much more why, in fact, the show is titled Revolution.”
Episode 10 will also feature a confrontation between Miles and Monroe.
For now, the show has only featured Miles and the man who would become General Monroe in flashbacks. But an encounter between the two will occur in the same episode that the search for Danny ends. “They confront each other for the first time in years, and we think it’ll be pretty explosive and emotional,” said Kripke, who also described the two men’s relationship as “tragic in a Cain and Abel kind of way.”
Grace and Randall will be prominent characters in the second half of the season.
Grace has indeed been kidnapped by the mysterious Randall character we saw a glimpse of in episode 2. Grace and Randall will next appear in episode 7, and then in the second half of the season they “begin to play a huge, huge part in the main storyline of the show,” Kripke teased.
In next week’s episode: a family reunion
In episode 5, titled “Soul Train” and scheduled to air on Monday, Oct. 15, Danny will arrive in Philadelphia, where Monroe is keeping Rachel imprisoned. “Now General Monroe has Rachel where he wants her because he doesn’t care about her own well-being, but of course she cares about the well-being of her son,” Kripke said. Expect at least a few answers about the blackout in that episode: The plan to torture Danny to get his mother to talk works, and Monroe, along with the audience, will learn a bit of what Rachel knows about why the lights went out.
TheInsider.com: Firstly, what was your goal with Revolution?
Eric Kripke: My goal in creating the show was to bring to a grand, sweeping epic to television. A real heroes journey. To say that I’m obsessed with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings is an understatement. I wanted to gorge myself on the heroes myth. I wanted 20 Arby’s sandwiches at once. We’re using the television medium to have the time to delve deep into every character and have a wide tapestry in which to create this journey that’s exciting, romantic, adventurous and swash buckling while also giving us characters to love.
Insider.com: So that would make Charlie Luke Skywalker?
Eric: Charlie is Luke or Frodo or Dorothy. Miles is Aragorn or Han Solo. Although, Aaron is also half-Frodo, because he’s carrying the ring.
Insider.com: The reveal that some semblance of electricity still exists — was that something you ever toyed with holding onto for a few episodes?
Eric: We did. The discussion came down to putting it in episode 5 or the pilot. When you’re making a pilot, you don’t know your fate as a series, so the ultimate decision came down to this awesome piece of world reveal there. We wanted to blow people away so they keep watching. Also, it shows the audience the beacon on the horizon. Everyone knows the show is about a bunch of heroes struggling to reunite their family but they’re also trying to turn the power back on. That moment gives the audience hope that they can achieve it.
NBC’s lineup needs some extra voltage. But can “Revolution”be the show that will give prime-time dramas a much-needed jolt?
Electricity-related puns aside, this costly, after-the-lights-go-out drama is probably NBC’s biggest bet this year, not to mention the most-anticipated new fall show, according to Facebook and Twitter data. “Revolution” is so key to the beleaguered network’s hopes that executives are plugging it into the high-visibility 10 p.m. Monday spot opposite a pair of popular-but-somewhat-vulnerable crime shows, CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0″ and ABC’s “Castle.”
“Everyone knows how frustrating it is to be in a blackout,” Eric Kripke, the show’s creator and a writer-producer best known for CW’s “Supernatural,” said in a recent interview. “I think everyone senses somewhere deep in their animal instinct that we’re overextended. We’re precariously balanced…. None of us knows how to find food and water if we need to.”
Abrams, who is an executive producer on “Revolution,” cannot guarantee a show’s success, of course. But his involvement doesn’t hurt.
He was the mastermind behind “Lost” and “Alias,” two influential TV dramas in recent years. “Lost,” a rambling desert-island fantasy that ended a six-season run on ABC in 2010, became the ur-text for serialized storytelling on TV, its plot an intricate (and, detractors would say, ultimately pointless) farrago of mysteries, red herrings and recurrent motifs.
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Take a look at the ‘Revolution’ panel during this year’s Comic Con from July 14, 2012 courtesy of Warner Bros.
SAN DIEGO – NBC’s new fall drama “Revolution” explores what life would be like if all the power suddenly went off for good. And at the Comic-Con pilot preview and panel for the show, it seemed as though life might imitate art. For a solid minute or two after the pilot ended the house lights refused to come on, even as a Warner Bros. TV representative was attempting to introduce the panel.
It wasn’t planned, but it felt like the perfect way to make the audience feel like they were in the world of “Revolution,” at least briefly.
That delay caused the panel to be even more rushed than usual, and even though cast members Billy Burke, Giancarlo Esposito, Tracy Spiridakos and JD Pardo were all on stage, it was executive producer Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”) who fielded most of the questions from moderator Michael Schneider of TV Guide magazine.
[Also of note, but not really touched on at the panel: The pilot screened at Comic-Con was the original version before co-star Andrea Roth was replaced by "Lost's" Elizabeth Mitchell and certain scenes were (or will be) reshot. And it's executive produced by J.J. Abrams, but unless I dozed off at the wrong moment, his name wasn't mentioned once.]
Here are the highlights:
1) “Revolution” won’t set up mysteries without knowing where they’re going
“I can promise you we have the answers,” Kripke vowed. “The mythology will move forward at an aggressive pace. We’ll answer questions and ask new ones. It’ll be a fun, rollicking show.”