Good news, Heroes fans: All could soon be right with NBC’s embattled drama now that acclaimed season 1 scribe Bryan Fuller has rejoined the show. As we first reported here last week, the writer-producer returns as a consultant in the wake of ABC’s cancellation of his Emmy-nominated quirkedy Pushing Daisies. Below, Fuller reveals his plan to make Heroes super again.
Where did Heroes go wrong, in your opinion?
It became too dense and fell into certain sci-fi trappings. For instance, in the ”Villains” arc, when you talk about formulas and catalysts, it takes the face off the drama. You have to save something with a face; otherwise you don’t understand what you’re caring about. We’re also altering the structure so that there’s a very clear ”A” story. But it is a big ship; it’s going to take a little while to turn it.
How long will it take?
The ”Fugitives” arc [kicking off Feb. 2] really is a fresh start. All of the characters are back in their real lives. You see Peter as a paramedic. Claire is looking for colleges. We get away from the world of formulas and quasi-magic. I think one of the great things about the first season is that the metaphor for their abilities was very clear. Those metaphors have gotten too complicated.
Any plans to trim the sprawling cast?
People will die. And some will return. Matt’s wife [Janice] comes back. We’ll find out what happens when you have a superbaby.
Who gets the final say: you or series creator Tim Kring?
Tim. I’m a consultant. My job is to help facilitate the vision of the show, and the vision has been a little inconsistent. But ”Fugitives” is such a great sea change. I think people who have been critical of Heroes will come back. — Michael Ausiello
The Black Eyed Peas haven’t released a record since 2005’s Monkey Business, but frontman Will.i.am hasn’t exactly been slacking off. The sometime CNN hologram and recent Grammy nominee is prepping their spring 2009 album, The E.N.D., with super-top-secret recordings with U2 in London (”I can’t say anything!” he swears). He’ll also portray a mutant in the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine; he’s signed a ”seriously dope” new electro duo, LMFAO; and he just started an interactive website, Dipdive, to showcase his in-progress solo recordings. ”We’re being aggressive,” he says, ”and trying to redefine what an album is. I’m moving away from the record business and starting the experience business.” — Leah Greenblatt
M. Night Shyamalan has found the cast for The Last Airbender, his upcoming live-action film based on the popular anime-inspired Nickelodeon series. The youthful group is mostly filled with unknowns who are likely to be household names by the time Paramount opens the first in its potential three-film franchise in July 2010. After an open casting call in Texas, Shyamalan discovered karate star Noah Ringer and offered him the part of Airbender‘s 12-year-old hero, Aang, an Avatar with superpowers who must stop the Fire Nation from destroying the world. Twilight‘s Jackson Rathbone has been asked to play Aang’s pal Sokka, while Nicola Peltz (Deck the Halls) will star as his sister Katara. Genial singer Jesse McCartney, meanwhile, is negotiating to play against type in the role of the Fire Nation’s evil prince Zuko. — Nicole Sperling