Hayden Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia

Steve Granitz/WireImage.com, AP Photo/Peter Kramer

Bwahaha! The villains are coming! This season on Heroes, the bad guys are multiplying like bunnies at the Playboy Mansion, and Claire Bennet (aka the Cheerleader, aka Claire-Bear, aka Hayden Panettiere) and Peter Petrelli (aka Jess on Gilmore Girls, aka Milo Ventimiglia) themselves were on hand at tonight's NBC bash to share a little scoop...

Click in to find out what's tramautizing Claire this season, what's worse than Sylar on the big/bad front and what big change is in store for the younger Petrelli brother...

Heroes: Zachary Quinto

NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaseth

About Those Villains... According to Milo and Hayden, we're in a world of trouble with these new villains. Hayden said, "There's many things much worse than Sylar (Zachary Quinto)." He's a tough act to follow, but OK. And Milo said, "I think everybody [this season] is confronting something worse than Sylar. It's something that is going to strike a chord and be close to Peter, what this big obstacle in the road is...[because] it's a threat to everybody; it's a threat to everything. I'm not going to say it's four horsemen or one horseman, but there's gonna be a power that comes in that everybody has to kind of band together to make sure it doesn't run wild."

Band from TV: Speaking of banding together, Hayden said the original cast will be sharing lots of screen time: "A lot of us are working much more closely together—the main cast—which I think is what the audience missed about the second season, and I think what we missed about the second season...that we didn't really get the chance to work with each other. We're all crossing paths this season." Can I get a hell yes?

Heroes, Hayden Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia

NBC/Trae Patton

Hands Off the Cheerleader! Hayden hinted at a big bad that deeply affects our Claire-Bear and changes her future forever: "Something happens to [Claire] that's actually quite frightening to her, and it plays a big part in who she becomes in the future and what happens to her. I wish I could babble about it now because I have a lot to say about it, but I can't. But it's something, yes, that manifests further about her ability that weighs heavily on her emotionally, and mentally, as a person. And I think it would [weigh on] anyone who would be going through a situation like that...I think Claire plays a very important role in what happens, and in that way she can be worse than all of them." She also said of her character's fate: "Future Claire's very different, and it's a very different world. It's kind of, as you can imagine, a world gone a little bit awry. She's a very different person." 

Control+Shift+Peter? Milo Ventimiglia shared a big fat clue about Peter's storyline when the show resumes: "The one thing I can say is that Peter's not quite himself this season...In the second season, Peter lost himself, and in the first season Peter was fighting himself, and in the third season, when I say Peter's not quite himself, he's not quite himself." And just between you and me and the fly on the wall, I can tell you that a newly introduced character has something to do with that change...

Heroes: Jack Coleman, Hayden Panettierre

Chris Haston/NBC

It's Only a Teenage Wasteland: Seems like Claire's still on the teen-rebellion tip this year. The way Hayden explained it was: "As a teenager, even younger than myself, [Claire is] still going through that turmoil with [her] parents, and she's trying to break away, and she kind of starts to this season. She's gotten to the point—and I remember getting to this point, too—where you'd ask [permission], but you knew what you were going to do, regardless what the answer was."

Love Interest for Claire? Remember how I told you West (Nicholas D'Agosto) was almost certainly gone? Hayden all but verified that and even admitted (tacitly, at least) that the fans weren't such a fan of that character. When asked if they were working on any romance for her character this season, Hayden said, "No! Not at all, not yet. I have not read past episode eight, so it could be in the future, I don't know, but I think we tried that and it went...not so much. Personally, I'd rather be interacting with everyone else and be in the core of what's going on, and what's going on has nothing to do with relationships like that, so..."

The Harder They Fall: Uh-oh. Sounds like Peter Petrelli might be cruisin' for a bruisin' this season. According to Milo, "[Peter is] the strongest of them all, that's what everybody says—he's the most powerful of them all, [and] at some point those guys have to fall." Stupid mythological rules! Can't he just kick ass all the time, like he did in the lab scenes in the finale last season? Because that was flippin' fun.

Rest (cover)

Devil's Due Comics

The Long Con: In addition to the Heroes panel at Comic-Con, Milo will be doing a panel in support of his new comic book from Devil's Due, created with Mark Powers and Sean McManus. Milo said, "It's a book called Rest; it's a guy who's down on his life who's introduced to an experimental drug that suppresses the need to sleep. It's just a story that's personal to me. I sleep about four hours a night because there's so much that I have going on in my life, and there's something that we're always trying to chase, and that's having more time."

Also, Masi Oka told me earlier in the night that they're planning to play the whole first episode of Heroes at Comic-Con. Count. Me. In. (Hope to see you there!)

Time for bed, at least until I get my experimental drug shipment delivered! I'll see you tomorrow for the final batch of TCA fun times, but in the meantime, post your take on this Heroic dish in the comments!

—Additional reporting by Jennifer Godwin

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