Sleepy Hollow at PaleyFest: The Cast on What to Expect in Season 2, the Possible Return of John Cho, Ichabbie 'Shipping, and More

By Kaitlin Thomas

Mar 20, 2014

PaleyFest is a very fun, very exciting celebration of both current and past television shows and when you attend a panel there's a definite feeling of, "Yes, I have found my people!" In that sense, pretty much every single event is a delight, but out of all the events on this year's schedule, the Sleepy Hollow panel was the one I was most excited about. It's been far, far too long since Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills have been a topic of discussion around these parts, which is why I spent the entire 90-minute panel—which kicked off with a screening of the final 10 minutes of the finale that made all of our jaws drop in January—frantically taking notes in an attempt to remember every single piece of possibly interesting information to share with those of you who couldn't attend or watch the livestream.

First, the roster: Gracing us with their presence were executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Len Wiseman, Mark Goffman, and Heather Kadin, plus series stars Tom Mison (who was not wearing skinny jeans), Orlando Jones (who was wearing a "Free Frank Irving" T-shirt), Nicole BeharieLyndie Greenwood, and John Cho. Even Steve the Headless Horseman made an appearance, just to remind us all that he's a BAMF. Well, he was a BAMF until his axe broke on stage. HAHAHA. Who's the badass now, Steve? Anyway, it was a fun evening with the cast and creators and they had a lot to say about what's coming up for Season 2, so let's get to it!

On new characters:

The world of Sleepy Hollow will expand in Season 2. It's hard out there for a horseman, especially one that doesn't have a head, so you can expect to see some pretty cool foot soldiers next season, according to Orci. But don't worry, Ichabod and Abbie—who will presumably both be saved from their creepy doll houses and coffins early on in the premiere so we they won't have to suffer too long—will have some help on their side, too: They'll use Steve's skull to create an opponent to fight him. There's no word on who or what it is, but according to the EPs, it's a "new creation that our team kind of controls, but [also] doesn't." 

On the more human side of things, a few non-supernatural characters will also be introduced, especially now that Irving is locked up and taking the fall to protect his family. "We have to find out who's going to be in charge of law and order in Sleepy Hollow."

On whether or not John Cho will be back:

One of the great things about Sleepy Hollow is that a character can die, but that doesn't mean he or she is gone for good. John Cho's Andy died in the pilot, but returned several times throughout the course of the season. In fact, when Wiseman pitched the role to Cho, he told him that his character was going to die in the pilot, and Cho reportedly said, "F*ckin' A, I'm in." At the time, he didn't know if he was going to return. "I don't remember when I knew what," he said, "but I don't think I knew much when I signed on. It was really a leap of faith. You just have to trust that it's going to go somewhere good. And man, I was right!" When we last saw Andy, he was buried beneath a bunch of rubble in George Washington's tomb, but Cho said, “If I can come back, let’s do it.”

On how Sleepy Hollow first came together:

Sleepy Hollow is unlike anything else that's currently on television, especially network television, and according to Kurtzman, its journey began when creator and producer Phillip Iscove came to him and said he wanted to do a time-travel series without time travel while drawing from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow short story as source material. "It was one of those ideas that was one molecule away from being insane," said Kurtzman. "That's why we responded to it. If you get it right, it's super special. If you get it wrong, you're super f*cked." Kurtzman credits the series' emotional reality as what grounds it and makes it work.

On the series' surprising success:

Some of the cast members shared their reactions to the show being so successful. "I've never really wanted to do anything in my career that you say, 'Oh this is good. Oh yeah, people will dig this,'"  said Mison. "I've always been funneled [and] drawn to things that could go completely ass over tits. [And] this absolutely could have been a horrible experience for everyone watching. But it could have been really, really, really cool, and I think it was the latter." Jones joked about how surprising it always is when a series does really well, because "we always work just as hard on stuff that people hate."

On Ichabbie, 'shippers, and the chemistry between Tom and Nicole:

Both Mison and Beharie seemed a little surprised at the fans' insistence on shipping their characters. According to Sleepy Hollow's EPs, what's on screen is actually just the chemistry between the actors, and they never intended for fans to really take to Ichabbie—the portmanteau for their 'ship. "It really is a friendship, a powerful and honest friendship," said Kadin. "[But] you hope that is at the base of every romantic relationship, too. I think that's why the audience insists on making that leap." Beharie said she does get where the fans are coming from, though. "Tom's a handsome guy. I can only imagine that people are like 'Hook up already! What are you doing Abbie? You're wasting time!'" 

Mison said he had to Google what "shipping" was, and that he discovered it's apparently a good thing. "There's a lot of really nice pictures. A lot of her carrying me." Orlando Jones, master of the internet that he is, interjected that Mison should "Google 'slash' just for fun." In related news, Jones should probably appear on every panel in the future, even for shows he's not on.

On crafting the character of Ichabod Crane:

It's hard to picture now, but Ichabod was originally written as American; apparently the creative team just couldn't find the right actor for the part. "It became clear that we do not manufacture men in the United States," joked Kurtzman. They soon realized it wasn't working because they'd written the character with a British cadence. "Asking American actors to do it didn't feel real. It felt like Ichabod Crane from the Valley." By making Ichabod British, it opened up an entire new aspect to his character and added even more to his backstory. 

Ichabod's posture (and penchant for side eye) was something Mison brought to the role and something he said thought a lot about. Wiseman said that even in his audition, Mison used a stiffer posture and a sideways glance that "felt like [he] had a dirty secret the whole time." A very observant fan noticed that Mison's natural accent is not exactly the same as the voice he uses for Ichabod, and Mison said he worked hard to perfect the voice. "I wanted to get a gruffness of someone who had been buried for 200 years. I worked a lot to learn my voice, and then John Noble appears with that kind of voice and I thought, 'You prick!'" 

On Henry Parish/Jeremy Crane/the Horseman of War's role next season:

Speaking of John Noble, whose character was revealed in the finale to be the Horseman of War and also the son of Ichabod and Katrina—he will continue to play a large role in Season 2, especially now that he's been upped to a series regular (as has Lyndie Greenwood, who plays Jenny). According to the EPs, the fundamental question the characters will face next season is whether or not anyone is beyond redemption and hope. Mison added that Ichabod will have to face the fact that no matter how evil Parish/Jeremy is, he's still Ichabod's son, and it's going to become a question of whether or not he can kill his son should it come to that.

And before you ask, Kurtzman said the team knew exactly where they were headed with Parish, from the very start of the series. "The deliciousness of knowing where we were going at the end, [the] waiting and watching the fan reactions ... We were totally convinced people were going to know halfway through the season what was going on." Don't worry, guys, because both Mison and Beharie didn't see it coming either, so we're either all really big idiots, or the clues really were that well hidden. I'm going to go ahead and choose to believe it was the latter.

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  • NeeUyank Mar 22, 2014

    is it only me, or has someone else felt the same alienation I felt, looking at the cast in regular/fancy outfits? they look like completely different people or the cast of an entirely different show.. and not just Ichabod, seeing Irvine in jeans and shirt; Jenny in a nice dress and nicely done hair, everything looks so weird:)

  • Stikkio Apr 08, 2014

    lol i find him so hot in full ichabod getup but then when hes out of it im just like eurgh no not for me he just looks a bit wet looking at them yeah they do all look weird its just because not used to seeing them as I think only Irvine and the guy from american pie have i seen before,

  • michaelcwiak Mar 21, 2014

    This is the standard "We want to give thanks to our fans without actually giving anything away" type of conference. I take these responses about as seriously as I take a 6-month weather forecast.

    On a positive note, it is nice for the stars and creators to feel the affection the show has developed so far. Even if what Orlando Jones says is true, that actors and such work just as hard on losers as they do on the winners, it must always feel good to have a success.

    I shudder at the whole 'create a body with our head to fight a headless body' scenario. For a outer limits type of show, that is really in the boonies. What's to prevent headless from grabbing his head and going 'nyah nyah?' Its kind of like animating a body around death's scythe and sending it against him: he takes the scythe back and....oops, didn't think that far a head.

    Love the "Free Frank Irving" t-shirt. But I'm not worried at all. He's just taking the Ichabod Crane tour of modern society. In other words, he'll get arrested, spout crazy, counfound the locals and when the unexplainable creatures start tramping through the halls of the FBI headquarters, he's going to get his get-out-of-jail-free card (and strict orders to get out of Dodge and take his creepy friends with him.) Besides, his daughter has now got a 'this soul for rent' sign emblazoned across her forehead. That means her and Jenny are going to be seeing alot more of each other, even if the wife falls to piece over it.

    I'm not quite sure about the whole shipping confusion. It's not like anyone really believes Mr. Mison and Ms. Winters are romantically attracted to each other either, so why make a point about it? I do think the show will miss a golden opportunity if they leave it as a best-friends type of relationship. Again, what makes them witnesses with a capital W if it all boils down to best-buds?

    Here is the thing: lets say the show does leave it as Ichabod and Katrina as the main couple. Imagine if you were at a party and you didn't know anyone there. You walked in and noticed Ichabod Crane talking with Abbie Mills and then you noticed him talking to Katrina. Would your first thought be a) Ichabod and Abbie must be friends, Katrina must be his wife or b) Ichabod and Katrina are friends and Abbie is his wife/girlfriend. If you have better chemistry with your friends than you do your wife, you REALLY need to look up the ingredients of a successful relationship. And as of Season 1, the writers have failed to convince me of Ichabod and Katrina as being anything other than a writer's version of a romantic relationship, Yolanda's tearful testimony notwithstanding.

    As for Jeremey/War's moral dilemna, that's old news. Seriously, isn't the the entire point that by making War his son, it hinders Ichabod's ability to cause him harm? Are we supposed to fall for the dying-father-saves-the-son trope (Star Wars, get BACK in the closet,) what about Steve and the rest of the gang? I still think Moloch wins if even one of the four horsemen survive and the two Witnesses are toast. This show is going to require people to come out of this with scars, but sacrificing just because isn't going to cut it. If you can't deal with the game as it is being played (Moloch, EVIL, ie manipulative) you aren't going to get very far.

    "Thank you for choosing Sleepy Hollow Airlines. We are currently cruising at 144,000 feet (darn gauges must be broke.) If you look out the window to your right, you'll notice an island where a bunch of plane crash survivors were recently discovered. We'll be trying to avoid the aliens in this area but with tv writers and their inability to handle complicated plots, you never know. If we are required to ditch, your seat may be used as flotation device for what is left of your career. Have a nice day and, once again, thank you for flying Sleepy Hollow Airlines."

  • Stikkio Mar 21, 2014

    I must be the only one who doesnt want them hooking up and its the reason I like it so far is because he is married and he cant really go there because he is a good guy and I hope thats where it stays

  • sylaine Mar 21, 2014

    You're not the only one who doesn't want them to hook up. They have a great friendship. TV sometimes makes you think that it's not possible for men and women to have that without it resulting in romance - there's enough of "will they/won't they" shows, we don't need another.

  • RebeccaVeight Mar 21, 2014

    Love, love, love Sleepy Hollow, the craziness & the great characters. And the constant surprises. Also no one mentioned of Ichabod's "troubles" with the modern world (cell phones, McDonalds, shower etc)? Those are soooooooo funny

  • mekare06 Mar 21, 2014

    that hair. whut.

  • gmanBegins Mar 21, 2014

    Keep it 5 by 5 Hollow Crew!!
    Love this show..Wating eagerly for its return..

  • trizkidankoma Mar 21, 2014

    it is a great show with amazing character but to me every evil creature created on this show is beautiful esp the Headless Horseman.

  • ionee24 Mar 21, 2014

    Most diverse cast on TV, and most amazing fantasy show on network right now.

    I love everything for the ghosts to Ichabbie, from the Captain to the horseman and every little single curse in between. Thanks so much for believe this could work because it so does to me!

  • Ankh49 Mar 20, 2014

    first of all 'eugh' are people really shipping Icahbod and Abbie? that would be weird and gross! They are obviously just best buds. secondly - its not often that a tv show surprises me nowadays but I did not see the Jeremy twist coming until it was too late. I mean I suspected that Jeremy would show up sooner or later and that he wasn't going to be a good guy, but didn't suspect that there was something ' a bit off' about Noble's character until the last episode even then I didn't think he would turn out to be Jeremy until Jenny picked up that sign. well played Kurtzman, well played.

  • MandySCG Mar 20, 2014

    Can't wait for this show to come back. I never dreamed it would end up being so good.

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