The 500 or so fans who packed the Paley Center’s tribute to True Blood on Saturday in Los Angeles were treated to a fourth season sneak peek in which Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), Hoyt (Jim Parrack) and Pam (Kristin Bauer) encounter a protest by anti-vamp religious nuts outside Fangtasia. Hoyt defends his love for his undead date with words and fists and Pam, per usual, steals the scene with a couple of wicked quips about “post-Russell Edgington society.”

But other than the clip, Blood creator Alan Ball and the drama’s 16 cast members were loathe to share spoilers with the crowd, including details on the show’s main love quadrangle between Bill (Stephen Moyer), Sookie (Anna Paquin), Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Alcide (Joe Manganiello). When pressed to divulge the overarching theme of the fourth year, Ball put on his deep serious voice and answered, “the duality of existence.” “I come up with a stock answer each season although we don’t really think in terms of themes,” Ball continued. “The theme is true blood, more true blood. We just want to have this fantastic, escapism, emotional, sexy, romantic, terrifying journey with them because that’s really fun.”

EW did manage, however, to sift through the misdirection, vague diatribes and jokes to unearth some spoilerific nuggets to tide diehards over until June when the drama returns. So WARNING! If want to remain blissfully unaware of season four plot points, we suggest you stop reading NOW:

  • Sookie and Bill’s break-up will stick … at least for a little while. “It is hard not to think of them as soul mates when they are in real life,” said Ball. “[But Bill’s] betrayal [of Sookie] is so deep that I don’t think she sees a way back from that. That’s why we need 17 seasons.” Sookie’s desire to find comfort in Alcide was mentioned as a possibility although Manganiello reminded us that his character’s ex “Debbie is still at large.”
  • Eric is still very much in the running for Sookie’s affection. Meanwhile, his amnesia might give him a reason to log lots of time with the telepathic fairy under the guise of trying to piece his life and memories back together. Skarsgard said witches are to blame!
  • Paquin said Sookie comes back from her finale field trip to fairyland with Claudine “different” but still unable to control her “microwave fingers. “She’s still very new at all this fairy stuff.”
  • Bill is involved in a “bite-off” with Queen Sophie-Anne. Teased Moyer, “It’s not just the two of them in this fight.”
  • Gary Cole (Chuck and The Good Wife) will visit Bon Temps, while Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter’s Aunt Petunia) plays Marnie. She’s a “a witch among other things,” explains Ball. Other new characters include some witches, vampires, a handful of shifters, a new werewolf, a couple of humans, a child, a gator and a rattlesnake.
  • Eric’s dead maker Godrick will be back! “One of the great things about having characters who have been around for thousands of years is that you can go back and see them at different points in history,” explains Ball. “Or they can appear in people’s dreams. Vampires dream too.” A Bill/Eric flashback was also promised. In fact, both Skarsgard and Kristin Bauer rallied Ball to go back in time to see Eric and Pam of the past in a future episode.
  • Sam Trammell (Sam) and Rutina Wesley (Tara) alluded to the possibility of new loves this season but fear happiness will be short-lived. Layfayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Jesus (Kevin Alijandro), along with Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Terry (Todd Lowe) and Jessica and Hoyt will remain together for the time being. “The fairy tale can’t last forever,” Woll sighed. “But maybe reality is better.”
  • Despite Skarsgard’s pleas, Ball prepared viewers for the return of the king of Mississippi. “We specifically made the choice not to kill him,” the creator teased. “I don’t know when but there are definitely plans to bring him back. He is gonna be pissed.”
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