Zachary Levi: Heroes Reborn Will Get Back to the 'Gritty,' 'Grounded' First Season

Monday, 06 July 2015 - 3:01PM
Heroes Reborn
Monday, 06 July 2015 - 3:01PM
Zachary Levi: Heroes Reborn Will Get Back to the 'Gritty,' 'Grounded' First Season
Even the most devoted of Heroes fans have been skeptical about Heroes Reborn, if only because many of the most devoted Heroes fans hated everything but the first season. The freshman season of Heroes was groundbreaking, well-written, and thematically hefty while still managing to be a lot of fun, while the second season spectacularly fell apart and the show went downhill from there. But now, Chuck and Heroes Reborn star Zachary Levi wants to assure fans (as a former Heroes fan himself) that the rebooted miniseries will get back to the "gritty" and "grounded" roots of the widely lauded first season.

In a recent interview with EW, Levi discussed the differences between Heroes Reborn and his previous starring role on NBC, the offbeat sci-fi/spy thriller/rom com Chuck, in which he played your typical lovable geek: "For me, my one big mandate was I wanted to play something that wasn't Chuck. I wanted to get away from that kind of archetype and do something that was darker and grittier and heavier - and that's exactly what we found."

Opening quote
This is a very grounded [show] - I mean, it's people with abilities but that's your only consent, the other rules of the world still apply. We are portraying real people but with real loss and real grief and complications you want to always be able to go through it in a way that makes sense in your heart, to bring that character to life in a real way because that's ultimately what the audience is connecting to.
Closing quote


So far, so good, as the sci-fi/fantasy genre is often at its best when it aims to be a straight drama with some kind of speculative element, and deals with that element's impact on people living in a recognizable world. That's one great attribute of the first season of Heroes; it explored the consequences of otherwise normal, recognizable people waking up one day with superpowers. When asked if the reboot is "darker" and "more grounded" than the original series, Levi said,

Opening quote
I think the first season of the original, there was a real dark groundedness. I think that they were definitely having a hard time juggling... It's really difficult to kind of maintain that same hype and power and success of a show, you start sometimes losing a bit of groundedness, but with 13 episodes in this miniseries I think that's kind of certainly what we're trying to get back to.
Closing quote


It bodes well for the show that the creative minds behind the reboot understand that the second season was terrible, and that they should be trying to emulate (as much as they can) the success of the first season. Levi hammered this awareness home when he discussed whether there was a "redemptive drive behind the scenes," and made it clear that Heroes Reborn was essentially an attempt to make up with disgruntled fans:

"I definitely hope that this is something that the fans go, 'Hey, they did it right,' like there was a redemption to bringing us back into this world and making up for what some people believe was a little fall off."

Levi also discussed the presumed-dead adaptation of the acclaimed comic series Y: The Last Man:

Opening quote
No, man. I've tried every angle. I mean Warner Bros. has had it for a while. They haven't been able to crack it. I think they're working on something now, maybe a series.
Closing quote


Y: The Last Man follows an amateur escape artist who is the only male to survive a plague that kills all living beings with a Y chromosome. A film adaptation was in development starring Shia Laboeuf, and when LaBoeuf dropped out, Levi expressed interest in the lead role. The film was officially declared dead recently after years of development hell, but if Levi is to be believed, we can still hold out hope for a television series, which would probably do the complex subject matter more justice anyway. 

And finally, Levi shared a tidbit that warmed my sci-fi geek heart: when asked if Chuck would have watched Heroes while it was on, Levi said, "Heroes is absolutely something that Chuck would watch 100 percent."
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