If you need a reason to love Comic-Con, you would need look no further than to experiences like today's Dollhouse panel.
First we got to watch the infamous lost episode of Dollhouse, "Epitaph One," on giant screens with an audience of fellow fans, and then Dollhouse boss Joss Whedon, who did not come to his reputation as a great storyteller by accident, sat down and talked to us about the future of his dark drama Dollhouse.
Joss was joined by star Eliza Dushku in a glittering gold dress, and the two faced down questions about how "Epitaph One" will change the show, how the cast is changing for season two (a fan favorite Buffy-Angel actor will be visiting!), and what he's really warning us about when he's talking about a zombie apocalypse...
Was any casting news for Dollhouse season two revealed?
According to Joss, Dollhouse season two cast will comprise "old friends...and maybe a couple of other faces you recognize." Joss later revealed some specifics: Buffy and Angel alum Alexis Denisof (aka Mr. Alyson Hannigan) is going to be a recurring character in season two. Yay! (Joss: "Eliza, you will take a blade to him at one point.") On a related note, "If the stars align we might also see a little [Summer] Glau." Come on, stars!
Were there any surprise guests?
Dichen Lachmann, who plays Active Sierra, and Fran Kranz, who plays dangerously smart scientist Topher Brink, both joined the panel midsession. Dichen is so soft-spoken it was hard to hear her but what a beauty! She mentioned she loved the episode where she got to play with all the guns and the one where she was Topher's friend. For his part, Fran Kranz was all agog at the packed ballroom, saying, "Wow...this is very humbling. Thank you so much."
What happens in the first episode of Dollhouse season two?
The three main characters from "Epitaph One" (Felicia Day, the kid and the "funny and mean" redhead guy who is not Joss or Alan Tudyk) all briefly appear in the season premiere.
What impact will "Epitaph One" have on the rest of the show?
Joss implied that the leap forward was in part a consequence of their expectation that they would be canceled, so they are reeling some stuff back in, telling the crowd, "What we intend to do is honor what you've seen here today, but a lot of it were memories." And memory is famously fallible.
What happens to the people whose faces were sliced up by villain Alpha?
In season two of Dollhouse, Victor's (Enver Gjokaj) scars are healed, and Whiskey's (Amy Acker) discovery that she is not who she thought she was is explored.
Will the whole human bondage aspect of the Dollhouses be explored further in season two?
Joss: "As you can see from this lost episode, everything turns out fine." (Joss is being sarcastic. Actually everything burns down in "Epitaph One," but it looks cool.)
Did Joss have a wicked comment about another genre TV show?
When a fan asked if the writers were concerned that reworking the show drastically would cause general Dollhouse system failure, Joss said, "As long as we don't send anyone to feudal Japan, we should be fine." For those not clear on the matter, that was a Heroes slam.
Did Joss say anything crazy and profound about our lives today?
Why, yes, Joss did say something crazy and profound about our lives today. Someone wanted to know if Joss had a thing against giant corporations and Joss said, "Have you been in America? I like to consider myself a great documentarian. The entire structure is designed to mess with your minds, to combine selling you things with entertaining you to keep you in line to make you think that you need the things they want you to need and to stay away from the things that they want you to stay away from, to keep them in power, to share none of it. This is all happening. There are lights in the darkness. The art that we get to create because of our powerful patrons let us is one of them, but sometimes, yeah, it's like running the daycare on the Death Star. The truth is there is power and manipulation that is controlling almost all of our every thought, and that is why I love this show so much." So say we all...
Check back in coming days for much more from Dollhouse at Comic-Con, including (hopefully) a video of Joss and Eliza Dushku's backstage press conference. For now, please post in the comments if you're excited about the relaunch of Dollhouse!