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SYFY WIRE The Mandalorian

WIRE Buzz: Handmaid's Tale character changes; The Child's E.T. connection and more

By Tara Bennett
Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

As the Emmy voting season winds down, industry news portal, Deadline, hosted a virtual day of panels featuring the creators, writers and actors of many Emmy nominated series. Contenders Television: The Nominees gave Television Academy voters a chance to hear from those who are on this year's ballot, with winners to be revealed on the September 20, 2020 Emmy Awards to be televised on ABC.

Major players, and Emmy nominees in the genre space, were also featured, including The Handmaid's Tale, The Mandalorian, What We Do in the Shadows, Star Trek: Short Treks and Watchmen. And despite the fact that future seasons of all the shows are still entirely dependent on how COVID-19 prevention efforts are faring in different production hubs around the globe, there were some interesting tid bits gleaned from each of the series. 

First on the schedule was Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale panel with actors/nominees Samira Wiley (Moira) and Alexis Bledel (Emily) and Bradley Whitford (Commander Lawrence). With scripts being crafted for their upcoming Season 4, Wiley and Bledel shared that their already rebellious characters were in for more changes as the battle against Gilead escalates from within. 

As an exile in a free Canada, Wiley said that Moira's been a conduit for escapees for two seasons, but there will be more of a balance of person and calling to come: "I’m really excited to see the different sides of Moira. We saw her being in love in season one and season two and seeing Moira as the person, side by side with Moira as the activist. I’m excited for that journey.”

Bledel shared that Emily will be healing after such a rough third season of manual labor and loss, but look for a whole new scenario for her to experience. "She has to 180 again and again, which is incredible to get to do so she’ll do that once again.”

FX's mythology expansion of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's vampire mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows, hit new heights in terms of critical and audience popularity in Season 2. With a global pandemic inspiring audiences to look towards more lighter fare, series executive producers/writers, Paul Simms and Stefani Robinson, said they were primed to offer the silliness and, oddly, the relatability that people needed.

Robinson said, “I think what makes these characters relatable is the fact that they are roommates. And that’s an experience that most people have probably had at some point or another in their lives—living with other people, bickering, sharing space.”

Season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows hopes to shoot new episodes in the late fall in Toronto if production in Canada remains viable and safe. 

With any details about Season 2 of The Mandalorian remaining locked down, creator/writer/executive producer, Jon Favreau, director/executive producer Dave Filoni and Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson appeared on their panel to talk about the debut season of the first live-action Star Wars television series. In particular, the origins of the show's unequivocable "star," The Child (or Baby Yoda to the zeitgeist), Favreau shared that it was Filoni who first sketched the concept of the adorable green critter that stole the galaxy's heart. 

Favreau said the sketch tied together the iconography of Michelangelo's “The Creation of Adam” and one of Spielberg's greatest characters: “Dave had done a sketch of kind of a Michelangelo/E.T. moment, and that was a source of inspiration. Then, Doug Chiang and the whole art department started generating drawings of it, and the Legacy [Effects] people built it.”

And with that, a merchandising goliath was born!

In the CBS All Access Star Treks: Short Treks anthology panel, executive producer Alex Kurtzman talked about how the series serves as a story incubator and bridge amongst the ever-growing television universe on the streamer.

In particular, Kurtzman said the Short Treks Season 2 episode, “Q&A," is a set up for the upcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds prequel featuring the Star Trek: Discovery incarnations of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) and first officer Number One (Rebecca Romijn) on the USS Enterprise.

And Kurtzman talked about the animated Short Treks episode, “The Girl Who Made the Stars,” which not only brought animation back into the Trek-verse before the new Star Trek: Lower Decks series, but it also expands on a deeply personal moment in Michael Burnham's (Sonequa Martin-Green) childhood that ties into the opening of Star Trek: Discovery's second season. 

Kurtzman said of the format: “I love the idea of using the shorts to run an experiment, which is how we can tell a satisfying Star Trek stories in a shorter form, often the kinds of scenes or the kinds of stories that would be happening on the ship but wouldn’t necessarily make it into the main episode?”