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Comic-Con 2014: ‘The Strain’ Panel Readies For Vampire Time

Comic-Con 2014 The Strain Panel Recap
FX

Do you feel a lump in your throat, or a tingle down your spine? Beware, as Comic-Con 2014 has officially caught ‘The Strain,’ providing a full panel for Guillermo del Toro’s new FX vampire vision! We’re on hand in Hall H for the blood-soaked panel, so find out what ‘The Strain’ has in store for its first season with our full recap from Comic-Con 2014!

  • Welcome to ‘The Strain!’ As the last of Sunday’s Hall H panels, FX afforded the luxury of a two-hour event, the first of which was dedicated to showing tonight’s third episode of the season, “Gone Smooth.” It’s surprisingly literal! It’s gross.
  • With almost all of the entire cast onstage (Corey Stoll emerged in a new, even more impressive wig), series creator Guillermo del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse took time to answer questions on the series, both fan and moderated. In particular, the audience went wild for David Bradley, 72-year old action hero (and wedding ruiner) playing Abraham Sertrakian.
  • Asked about their interest in the series, Richard Appel summed up the panel’s feelings best, saying that humans had their time, and they wanted to discover what happened when “it’s vampire time.”
  • Del Toro acknowledged the vivid and saturated color palette of the series, and maintains a strong hand in production, particularly in designing the VFX. “I become a nuisance as often as I can,” he says. Stoll recounted a story in which the actors were impressed to discover vampire graffiti in the Toronto tunnels they film in, only to learn the production designers had nothing to do with it.
  • Asked about his inspiration for the disgusting worms that caused such a stir in the promotional campaign, del Toro revealed that he got the idea from contemplating heartworms in transcribing his wife’s thesis. “If it creeps me out, I put it in.” Appel in particular extolled the natural basis for the vampire creatures, to which del Toro responded “nature is creepy as hell, man.”
  • Del Toro revealed that FOX had initially developed ‘The Strain’ with him in 2006, only to ask him if he’d think about it becoming a comedy. Del Toro walked away from development, and instead opted for a novel approach with Chuck Hogan. Both rejected bids for adaptation rights until the trilogy had been completed, after which FX was exceptionally open to, and willing to support ‘The Strain’ as a series. “We removed the ‘O’ from ‘FOX,’ and went to FX.”
  • Carlton Cuse explained that the first season added a great deal of material to del Toro and Hogan’s first book, so as to fill 13 episodes total. Still, the plan remains to adapt the first book as the first season, and take two seasons for each subsequent book in the trilogy, ending the series after 5 seasons total.
  • Cuse and del Toro also spoke about the casting process for each character, though curiously, no mention was made of William Hurt’s original casting as Sertrakian, before being replaced by David Bradley. As for Sean Astin, del Toro admitted he was interested to see one of the most famous sidekicks of all time (Samwise Gamgee, ‘Goonies,’ ‘Rudy’) become a betrayer. “What ring, Mr. Frodo? I didn’t know you had a ring.”
  • In particular, del Toro wanted to be sure that Latin culture was being represented among the cast. Wanting to first portray Miguel Gomez’s character as a more stereotypical representation of Latin gangbangers, del Toro added that the character receives much more dimension on his journey toward becoming a hero. Plus, expect a Mexican wrestler character in season 2!

Well, what say you? Are you excited for ‘The Strain”s first season, by all we’ve learned from the Comic-Con 2014 panel? Tell us what you want to see from the new series in the comments!

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