'Revenge' panel offers clues to show’s mysteries
The timing of PaleyFest's panel Sunday at the Saban Theatre made for especially dramatic discussion, since the show -- currently in the midst of a hiatus before airing the final five episodes of Season 1 -- is at a major turning point.
“ ‘Revenge’ begins now,” actor Gabriel Mann told Show Tracker in the press tent before the panel. Creator Mike Kelley built on that claim, suggesting that the show's inciting incident is in Episode 15. Many things will shift for the show as summer ends in the Hamptons, Daniel Grayson goes on trial for murder, and more things go wrong in Emily Thorne’s massive plan to take vengeance on those who framed her father for a horrific crime.
Presented by the Paley Center for Media, the panel of cast and executive producers supplied fans with plenty of teases of what’s next for “Revenge.” Read on for 10 highlights from the panel, but watch out for spoilers.
1. Josh Bowman is happy to be alive, but he was never in any danger of being killed off. “Mike was saying it might be me, it might not be me,” Bowman said of whether the murder victim on the beach in the pilot was really his character, Daniel Grayson. Kelley has said that he’s changed his mind a few times about who that is, but he told PaleyFest attendees that it was the plan all along to have Bowman’s character survive.
The British actor first learned the good news for his character when he turned to the last page of Episode 15’s script at a table read. In celebration, at the panel he supplied the audience with a little singing and dancing as he belted out “I Will Survive!” and showed off his disco moves.
2. “Revenge” is about to blast back to 2002. An upcoming episode will take place at the New Year’s Eve party captured in Lydia’s photo and also will flash back to 1990. “It’s [Emily’s] first glimpse of these people who destroyed her family,” VanCamp said. “It solidifies what her father was telling her in these journals.” To Mann, though, the episode “really all about Nick [Wechsler]’s hair,” he joked about the Jack Porter actor.
3. The stars see the reasons for the “guilty pleasure” label -- sort of. Henry Czerny (Conrad) agreed with the media’s choice term for the show, but said in the press tent, “It depends on who you are really.” His on-screen daughter (recently revealed to not be his biological daughter), Christa B. Allen, said, “Why feel guilty? I guess I kind of get why, like, middle-aged men might feel guilty. It’s a little indulgent, a little dramatic, but everyone can relate. Come on, life is dramatic.”
4. Emily/Nolan shippers shouldn’t hope for anything other than a sibling dynamic. But things will change between the two characters, as Mann (Nolan Ross) told Show Tracker: “Our relationship is going to be put to the test in every single way.”
Mann made it clear on the panel that he wants something more than a brother-sister relationship for the two scheming characters, but Emily VanCamp (Emily Thorne) and Kelley have other plans. “We obviously share this deep love for my father, so in a way there’s a sibling aspect there. There’s that kind of rivalry,” VanCamp said, with the creator saying he agreed with that assessment. Mann responded with mock whining: “No one understands me!” he said, hanging his head.
5. Madeleine Stowe loves playing Victoria just as much as fans love watching her. The fan favorite character has become a favorite role for the actress. “It’s a ball,” Stowe said. “It’s really great to be able to be heinous and twisted and loving and compulsive .... I love that she’s a mess.”
But as much as she adores playing the show’s villainess, she has certain requirements of the role. She recalled telling Kelley, “Mike, I’ll do anything that you want [with this performance]. I’ll kill. I’ll maim … as long as we understand where she came from, what her origins are.”
6. The actors influence the show’s writing. Some of the ideas for Victoria’s origin story have come from Stowe herself. She told Show Tracker that she can’t reveal the specific ideas of hers that viewers will soon see on the screen, “but it’s really warped and very different.”
Allen said that some of the ideas for her character that she’s pitched to the writers are “coming into play … I think that’s one of the reasons our show works: because it’s such a family making it.”
7. For Emily Thorne, it’s all about slow torture. Her revenge plan is not to swiftly take everyone down. “At one point,” VanCamp said, “there was this idea that they might end up in a really sticky situation -- Victoria and Emily -- and that I would actually potentially save her because I wasn’t done with her, which is so twisted!”
Kelley assured fans that Emily will soon turn again to her list of people she deems deserving of red X’s: “The list will expand. The list is alive,” he said.
8. Fans will eventually find out the story about Emily’s mother. Kelley promised fans, “We’ll find out certainly more about what happened to her mother.” Prompted to reveal more details, he only said, “If it’s not impossible, it’s on ‘Revenge.’ ”
9. Consider PaleyFest a place for story ideas. Talk of Emily and Victoria’s relationship led Kelley to say, “Oh my God -- I totally just thought of a padded cell episode with just you two.” Mann’s suggestion of a hurricane episode had the creator thinking aloud, “It would be cool to do a hurricane episode with a panic room or something.”
10. The finale will not disappoint. Whether “Revenge” gets picked up for a seemingly guaranteed second season or it ends this spring, Kelley wants to keep the viewers satisfied (a similar attitude to the mantra “Don’t mess with the fans!” Mann shared in the press tent). The show will wrap up some story lines, as Kelley said, “I want to make sure I’ve satisfied all the people who have invested their time and care into the show.”
But he also revealed that, in quintessential “Revenge” fashion, “Obviously, we’re going to end on a cliffhanger.”
-- Emily Rome
Photos, from top: Emily VanCamp, left, and Madeleine Stowe at the pivotal fire and ice party featured in the first and 15th episodes of "Revenge"; Emily VanCamp at PaleyFest. Credits: ABC; Dan Steinberg / Associated Press