It'll be a while before HBO's True Blood comes back for its third season and we all find out what happened to Bill (Stephen Moyer). But if you can't wait that long, we talked to executive producer Alan Ball and writers Raelle Tucker and Alexander Woo, who probably told us more than they should have about what's going to happen:
We spoke to the writers before they participated in a panel at at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Spoilers ahead!)
Bill won't be back for a while.
Ball confirmed that the arc of Bill's kidnapping will last "about six episodes." That sounds like just enough time to put Sookie (Anna Paquin) through the wringer, but not enough to try viewers' patience. Plus, we'll probably still get to see Bill deal with his captors in episodes 1-5.
Meet the Merlottes.
Shape-shifter Sam (Sam Trammell) will find his family this year, and Tucker gets to write their characters a lot in episode two. "I'm getting to write Sam's family, which is a lot of fun, and, really, I feel really satisfying as a character arc," she said. "I really am glad that he's taking this journey and he's learning about himself. I find that interesting. They aren't the brightest people, maybe. At least they appear that way. They're fairly dysfunctional, but like anybody else, they have their good things about them and not-so-good things. They're still getting to know each other. Sam's still getting to know them, and so are we."
Werewolves sink their teeth into Louisiana.
Werewolves are coming to True Blood, and Ball offered a preview of what his wolf-people will look like. "They're just wolves," Ball said. "It's just people who can turn into wolves, but they're slightly bigger and much stronger. Their eyes glow orange a little bit."
There's even more supernatural stuff.
It's not just vampires and werewolves. Woo is most excited about the expanding world of season three. "The entire world is going to get a lot bigger," Woo said. "Not only the human world, but in Sookie's eyes, she's going to see the whole supernatural world. Luckily, since this show is through Sookie's eyes, as an audience we'll get to see a much larger supernatural world."
Sookie will explore her own powers.
Sookie's powers have gone from simple telepathy to some kind of hand-glowing power. Tucker confirmed that Sookie's powers continue to expand in season three. "I think that Sookie is conscious of her abilities more this season than she's been, and she's questioning them more," Tucker said. "We're going to be exploring that more this season."
Meet the Vampire King.
Ball said the Vampire King of Mississippi is coming in season three. He provides a contrast to Sophie-Anne, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana (Evan Rachel Wood). "He's older," Ball said. "He's much more mature. He's much more methodical and grounded. She's kind of crazy. To me, she's kind of like Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan, where she has a very short attention span and she's very, very egomaniacal and very self-obsessed and doesn't really think about her actions, whereas the Vampire King is very much an adult. He has an agenda. He has things he wants to achieve. I think he's much more formidable than she is."
Jason will stay out of trouble.
In two seasons, Sookie's brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten), has been accused of murder and got caught up in a cult. Season three will find him keeping a low profile. "I think Jason's path this season is actually about not getting into trouble," Tucker said. "It's about trying to stay out of trouble. I think it's going well for him."
Sophie-Anne might get into more trouble.
Wood is signed to return for more episodes in season three. Since her recreational activities include orchestrating the sale of vampire blood, things could go very badly for her. "Well, Sophie Anne, when last we left her, she was sort of behind this selling of V as a recreational drug on the streets, pretty much," Ball said. "That's not something a vampire authority figure should be doing. If higher-up vampire authority figures figure that out, they're not going to be happy."
There's a new biker gang in town.
Season three will introduce a biker gang called Coot's F--k You Crew. Tucker said the new characters are still evolving and won't be what you expect. "The one thing I will say is that they are very mysterious," Tucker said. "They're a group who's been around a lot longer than you think. I don't want to say too much about them right now, because I think that we are in the early stages of figuring that out."
A new character called Tommy Mickens brings the hurt.
Woo is writing the new character of Tommy Mickens, who will make a huge impact on our favorite characters. "Tommy Mickens is someone I don't want to reveal too much about, because I don't want to ruin the surprise," Woo said. "He's a completely new character, but he plays very prominently in the emotional life of at first one and then, later, several other of our characters. He'll be the first domino to push the rest."
Headgear plays a major role.
Helmets have become a joke in the writer's room. Tucker explained how the writers became aware they were relying too much on protective headgear. "There've been several moments that we've been pitching things and thought, 'Oh, well, maybe she could be wearing a helmet, and that would protect her. Maybe he could wear a helmet in that scene,'" Tucker recalled. "Suddenly we realized we had a whole bunch of characters wearing helmets for no particular reason. So we thought, oh, that's the theme of the season."
Sorry, ladies, Eric is still a tease.
Fans keep demanding more screen time for Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), but the writers won't indulge them. "You know, what's funny is that he's in the first two books; he's a fairly minor character in Sookie's universe," Tucker said. "There's a lot of fan pressure that they're supposed to be this big romantic thing, which actually in Charlaine [Harris]'s books doesn't happen until much, much further down. I think if we did that, we'd probably bore them all to death. I think part of the magic of Eric is some of the mystery of Eric and the inaccessibility of Eric. I think you don't want to turn them into the nice romantic love interest who's in every scene. I think his danger is important, so not just throwing him up whenever somebody wants to see his bare chest is actually a more disciplined approach."