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Heroes, Cast

Mitch Haaseth/NBC

Save the cheerleader, save the world. But what happens when you don't save the cheerleader?

It sounds like Heroes fans may get the answer to that question as it was revealed by creator Tim Kring that Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) is dead when the series returns with the limited series event, Heroes Reborn, this fall. 

"She died a year prior to our story starting," Kring said at the 2015 Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday. "That sort of gets into the mythology that's attached to the original show." 

And new viewers will learn of the old mythology through HRG (Jack Coleman), Claire's father, as Kring explained the returning character "gets to uncover some of that mythology for us."

Heroes, Hayden Panettiere

Dean Hendler/NBC

While Panettiere won't be reprising her iconic role in the revival, many familiar faces will be returning, including Coleman, Greg Grunberg, Masi Oka, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Cristin Rose and Noah Gray-Cabey. Not returning? Milo Ventimiglia, Ali Larter and Zachary Quinto.

But Kring said the decisions about which original stars would return were dictated by what the story needed.

"Some of actors did not have the availability because they were involved with other things...something completely out of our control," he said. "The truth about how and when we approached different actors was really what the story dictated…the story was really the thing that dictated who would come back."

Still, fans won't be seeing characters like Hiro and Mohinder in every episode of the 13-episode revival, with Kring confirming, "None of the former characters except for Jack's character is in every episode. All the characters that return are peppered in and out of the show."

MORE: Get your first look at Heroes Reborn!

The characters that do come back "fold in in ways that really move the story forward" and their powers, namely Hiro's time-traveling abilities and Angela's dream-prophecies, will prove to be "very useful." 

New cast members joining the Heroes family in Heroes Reborn are Zachary LeviRyan GuzmanRobbie KayDanika YaroshJudith ShekoniKiki SukezaneHenry Zebrowski and Gatlin Green. And Kring said he always envisioned the show "to be very elastic. I always saw it as a show that could repopulate itself."

Heroes Reborn premieres Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)