The Following capped off its freshman season with quite the bloodbath — but who's really dead?
At Comic-Con on Friday, the producers showed a sneak peek of Season 2, which picks up moments after Claire (Natalie Zea) and Ryan (Kevin Bacon) were stabbed. Get ready for a spoiler! Ryan quickly dispatches with his ex, Carroll follower Molly (Jennifer Ferrin), before coming to Claire's aid, but it may be too late. The clip ends with Claire appearing to die, though executive producer Kevin Williamson remained coy on her fate during the panel.
Similarly, Williamson wouldn't say whether Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) survived the fire. "I guess he might be alive," he said, noting that the Carroll character will appear in Season 2. Williamson teased that Carroll may be going through a "reimagining," as he figures out where things with the cult went wrong. "Let's face it, that Edgar Allan Poe stuff didn't work out, so he's going to have to figure out a new way and reimagine who he is as a man and as a killer," he added. He also revealed that Season 2 would feature flashbacks to Carroll's early life to see how he became a serial killer.
After that preview scene, the second season will then jump ahead a year, catching up with the surviving characters. There will also be a new group of characters who join the show, though no one has been cast yet. "We come upon Ryan Hardy a year later," Williamson said. "This year, we're taking it away from the FBI. Certainly we have Agent Weston, but the A-story every week won't be so FBI-centric. It'll be more of a character-driven thriller and not so FBI-based."
"We have an opportunity to look at what happened to these characters," Bacon said. "Everyone that we meet next year is in a really different place in their lives. Ryan seems lighter and in a way more at peace than you've ever seen in the show. He's finally able to find something in his life that steps him away from all the killing and the violence." Though Bacon says that that guilt and pain will inevitably resurface.
Ryan will be OK, but Carroll follower Emma (Valorie Curry) will be on the lam next season, where she meets some new friends. "Emma really lost everything at the end of Season 1," Curry said. "Jumping ahead, she'll have to learn to live without that protection and infrastructure of the cult... I'm excited to see what comes of her when she's left to her own devices."
Meanwhile, even a year later, Agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) is still reeling from the loss of not one, but two partners — Debra Parker (Annie Parisse) and Troy Riley (Billy Brown). "There's a mirror between Weston and Hardy in a sense," Ashmore said. "Certainly Parker's death will really affect him. Let's be honest, Hardy and Weston kidnapped and killed a detainee in handcuffs, so there will certainly be repercussions for that. "
The Following will return to Fox in January 2014.