By Megan Daley
Updated October 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT
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The Containment panel at New York Comic Con kicked off with another screening of the pilot, as The CW gears up for its midseason premiere. Containment focuses on the city of Atlanta as a mysterious and deadly virus takes hold, forcing a mandatory quarantine.

From Vampire Diaries and Originals boss Julie Plec, the upcoming series was inspired by a Belgium show, Cordon.

“I watched it and I was just obsessed with it, it’s so powerful,” said Plec of the series. “It is scary but sad but beautiful. Tension is everywhere but there are these great, great human stories. I just loved it and it kind of tapped into everything I’ve always loved as a reader or as a fan of stuff – plus, [it included] everything I already do which is try to dig into, sort of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.”

Plec was joined onstage post-screening by Chris Wood, Claudia Black, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, and David Gyasi along with EW’s own Samantha Highfill who moderated the panel. Wood and Black have previously worked with Plec on Vampire Diaries and Originals, respectively.

“Nothing can prepare you for working with Julie,” Black joked. “There’s something extraordinary, having been in the business all these years, [about] having a female boss, because the culture gets created from the top down. So, it’s really inspiring to be a part of it.”

Wood described his character, Jake, as very “different” from his Vampire Diaries role, Kai. But fans can get excited for Wood’s upcoming onscreen romance with schoolteacher, Katie (played by Kristen Gutoskie). Although, it isn’t easy building up a romance when there’s a quarantine in place with a serious “no touching” policy.

“It makes it more exciting that there’s this definitive restriction of how close they’re allowed to get,” Wood said. “And physicality is an essential way to express the connection that they have. At some point in the season, if the sparks continue to fly, that’s going to be something that’s going to be in their way.”

The cast teased that season will definitely be as intense as the pilot — Gyasi’s joked Lex might not actually smile until episode six. But as Plec noted, “You get both the experience of watching a horror movie and a beautiful, nice character drama at the same time.”

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