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