Just got back from my very first day ever at San Diego's Comic Con (the whole thing is bananas and I love it), where I had the severely obnoxious fortune of moderating the Dexter panel (you can hate me; I would), and I think it's fair to say that we were all putty in Michael C. Hall's hands.

Check out the totally professional pix above (by renowned photographer Natalie Abrams, aka our intern), and then click in for some musings from the panel and a first look at new footage from season three...

  •  OK, for starters, you should know that even a bumper-to-bumper, five-and-a-half-hour commute to Comic-Con can't dampen the spirits of one Mr. Michael C. Hall. He arrived in the backstage greenroom a bit fatigued but none the worse for wear, just as sweet and sincere and mild-mannered as always.
  • You should also know that if your name happens to be Michael C. Hall and you are of aforementioned mild-mannered demeanor, you should not attempt to wander around the hallways amid thousands of die-hard Dexter fans all by your lonesome to try and find the restroom facilities. (Confession time: As MCH attempted such a feat, I subtly alerted a Showtime rep that he needed an escort, which clearly solidifies your hatred of me if you were in that hallway. Sorry. Can I make it up to you with a kiss and a hug from my new Dexter bobblehead? He's sitting right here next to me as I type this, nodding approvingly...)

Sorry, now the stuff people other than me care about:

  • According to executive producer Clyde Phillips, the major themes for season three are "family values" and the evolution of Dexter as a man. "He's playing catchup [emotionally], and he may be catching up faster than he planned." By the way, the former of those two things is a major hint about the shocking reveal in the season premiere.
  • Everyone seemed to think that Dexter and Rita's relationship troubles of yesterseason are behind them, and they even have a shot long-term. (And I'd certainly say so given the hot Dex-Rita sex scene we saw in the new season-three trailer!) According to Michael, "I think that relationship has legs...I think it's hard to argue with the fact that the relationship, in its way, really works," and Julie Benz joked about Rita's acceptance of Dexter's mysterious ways. "I honestly believe every man should be a hobby. Some men like golf..." Some men like ax-murdering. Hey, as long he puts the toilet seat down, right?
  • Julie also said there are no current plans for her to rejoin the Whedonverse with a guest spot on Dollhouse...but she would absolutely love to (Joss, are you listening?). She mused that  Darla and Rita share a similar wounded history: "They both were abused by a man, and Darla went left and Rita went right."
  • Some poor misguided (and very funny) soul asked if there would ever be a Dexter-CSI: Miami crossover, and Michael C. Hall said, "He is a blood-splatter expert. It'd be funny if I got called in on a CSI episode and all I did was just show up and help them solve a crime." Zuiker, let's make it happen!

Want to see the season-three trailer? There's a totally bootleg version below, and I'll be sure to post a legit copy as soon as it surfaces. For now, however: Enjoy!

Oh, and if you are at Comic-Con on Saturday, stop by the Chuck panel and say hi if you can. I'll be moderating that afternoon's session (3:30-4:30) and chances are, it'll be more like a Zachary Levi-Josh Gomez improvisational comedy show—which is always a good time.

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