James Kyson Lee—Ando on NBC's Heroes—will get back to business in the show's upcoming fourth season. Literally.
"He's going to set up a new business with Hiro [Masi Oka], so that's going to keep him busy," Lee said in an exclusive interview Thursday night in Pasadena, Calif., at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "We're back at Yamagato. This new venture that we're starting, it's a handful right now. That's what this volume is about. It's about 'Can we go back to our normal lives and try to continue?' Him and I are obviously trying to take over for his father, my boss, but there's always little villains popping out of the woods, and we got to go fight crime again."
The new venture will remain a surprise, but Lee conceded it is related to superpowers. "I'm going to save it for the premiere, but you'll find out the first episode," Lee said. "You're going to see a giant billboard."
In the private sector, Ando's partnerships might get sketchy. "He's going to partner with somebody that you would never expect on the show," Lee said. "I'm going to keep that a little bit [mysterious], but someone that you totally did not expect."
Unfortunately, the bromance between Hiro and Ando may take a sad turn. "My buddy's dying, so he's got kind of a bucket list, because he wants to do all this stuff before he dies," Lee said. "I'm going to see if I can maybe change his fate a little bit. That's a big theme on our show. Can you really mess with fate? Can you change or alter history? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I'll see. If I could change one thing from the history of the show, then what would it be? That's a good question that I think everybody asks in this season."
With time-travel powers available, it's not a leap to imagine that Ando could visit scenes we already know, from a new perspective. "You're getting warmer, my friend, you're getting warmer," Lee said. "I'd say don't be surprised if we revisit some of our favorite scenarios from when we first started."
Don't get too down about Hiro's illness: You'll still get the usual fun buddy banter between Hiro and Ando. "These guys, we are sort of the comedic aspect of the show," Lee said. "We want to keep it going. Sometimes when you have a death wish like my buddy, you tend to do crazier stuff, so I'm going to see if I can guide him a little bit on the way."
Lee expects to appear in between 12 and 15 of the season's 19 episodes.
"Maybe having a little bit lower expectations than we usually had before, I think it's going to favor the show, because now we're sort of the underdogs," Lee said. "Now we're just doing our thing. The writers are just writing, having a good time, so I think that's why this season will be a fun one. Unlike a movie, which has a definite beginning and an end and they have all this prep time, we have such a short turnaround time, I think the writers got maybe two weeks off in between seasons. I think that was a little too much. You brain's fried. You've got to recharge and come up with more stories. So we've had the time of rest this time, and I think it's helping. I love the writers on our show, man. When they just let them do their thing, that's when it happens."
Heroes returns to NBC on Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.