An highly anticipated panel during the 2009 Comic Con was the second panel for the HBO show “TRUE BLOOD”. Fans lined up the night before and waited all day for the start of the evening panel. The excitement was evident as fans jockeyed for good positions in the 4,500 seat venue.
Many cast members and the creators came out to talk about season 2 of this hit show and the possibility of Season 3. In attendance were: Alan Ball (creator), Charlaine Harris (writer of the original books), Stephen Moyer (Bill), Anna Paquin (Sookie), Rutina Wesley (Tara), Michelle Forbes (Marianne), Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette), Sam Trammell (Sam), Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica) and Alexander Skarsgard (Eric).
Stagehands brought out bottles of “Tru-Blood” and set them on the panel table prior to the event. “Tru-Blood” is the synthetic blood substitute that the vampires drink in the show and in the books. Series creator Alan Ball announced that a real “Tru-Blood” drink will be released this fall to coincide with the end of the second season. The drink will be a blood orange flavored soda and will come in the same bottles that are used as props on the show!
A short teaser reel of upcoming footage from the rest of the second season was shown and then the panelists were announced. The room erupted in applause and screams as fans who had been waiting for so long, finally got a glimpse of their idols.
The moderator asked creator Alan Ball to speak a bit about the show and what we can expect for the rest of this season and next. He revealed that there will be a third season and the announcement from the network would most likely come before the end of this current season. The “TRUE BLOOD” pilot was tested by HBO before it aired and tested highest of any pilot since “THE SOPRANOS”. When asked how he felt about the show, Ball said, “This is the most fun I have ever had working on a show. I hope this series has a long life. The characters in a show evolve and change over multiple seasons and I want to see these characters evolve.”
The floor was then opened up for fan questions and there were many.
Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) was asked by one fan what he liked about his character and in what direction the character was headed. “His hustle is supreme. But he is starting to figure out that his hustle is not going to work to get him out of every situation. He is re-thinking how he has been living his life and if he is still going to still try to use that hustle.”
Anna Paquin (Sookie) celebrated her birthday by attending the Comic Con panel. She had this to say about her character:
” I like that Sookie always says what she means. I like that she is always willing to jump in and help, even to her detriment. I dislike that she is a bleached blonde because I could spend less time going to the salon getting my roots dyed!”
Fan favorite Alexander Skarsgard who plays Vampire Eric was asked about how the character has changed from the first to second season. “Eric wasn’t in a lot of the first season. He just showed up in a few scenes to show up and boss Bill around. I had to defend Eric to people who kept asking me why he was such a bad guy. He’s not a bad guy. He’s a bad ass of course. But he is very loyal and very devoted to the people he cares about.”
One of the most intriguing facets being explored in the current season is Eric’s relationship to Lafayette and his devotion to Godrick, the vampire that made him. A fan asked about this relationship and how it was meant to be taken. “Eric and Lafayette and Godrick are all gay lovers and spend summers in Fire Island” jokes Alan Ball, which earned a huge laugh from the crowd. “I’m kidding. Lafayette is scared to death of Eric – with good reason. Eric is intrigued by Lafayette and may have plans for him in the future.” The relationship between Eric and Godrick is one of a deep love. “Godrick is the most important person in Eric’s life. He has known him ever since he was born as a vampire. He really is to Eric what we say in the show -father, brother, son. Eric loves him. I don’t think it is a romantic love but it is very deep.” This depth of affection will continue to come through in the rest of this season as Eric, Bill and Sookie are in Dallas trying to locate Godrick and his kidnappers.
Skarsgard likes this new dimension to his character. “Eric has always been an entrepreneur, a businessman. He has always operated without emotion. Now, he is going to Dallas (to help find Godrick) strictly for love.”
How much do the Sookie Stackhouse novels, written by Charlaine Harris come into play in the series and how much input does Harris have over the show. She puts it succinctly when she says “I don’t tell Alan how to do his show and he doesn’t tell me how to write my books.” Miss Harris is certainly one to tell it like it is! The books are a great source material for the actors but “at some point you have to leave the book behind and make the character your own” says Alexander Skarsgard. “It’s nice to have 8 or 9 books to have around as background for the character”. Charlaine Harris announced that she has just signed a contract to continue to write the series for several more books, so fans will continue to have Sookie and crew in print as well as on television.
One fan wanted to know if we would see a half-vampire/half-human baby on the show….as there is in that “other” vampire series “Twilight”. Ball says condescendingly “No. On our show they are either vampires or not vampires.”, earning a huge round of applause from the crowd.
Alan Ball summed up the night when he said “We have as much fun making the show as you do watching it!”
If you haven’t yet checked out this amazing show, TRUE BLOOD airs on Sunday nights at 9pm. The second season runs until September 10th and you can check out previous episodes on HBO on demand.