The stars say: Think it's hard to figure out Heroes now? Wait until next season

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

As always, the season finale of NBC's Heroes teased the next one: Sylar shape-shifted into Nathan's body, and Adrian Pasdar played a bewildered "Nathan" who started to show signs of Sylar's old watchmaking skills. This bothered Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose), who just wanted to take her son out to lunch.

At the Saturn Awards on Wednesday, Pasdar said that he's not going to play Sylar so much as play somebody trying to imitate Nathan. (Pasdar took home a Saturn Award for best supporting actor on a television series.)

"That's the irony," Pasdar said. "I don't feel like I'm playing Sylar. I feel like I'm playing a guy who's playing Nathan. You see what I'm saying? I'm not trying to act like Sylar. Sylar's trying to act like Nathan. A little tic ... here, a little compulsive, obsessive behavior somewhere else."


In a separate interview at the awards ceremony, Rose suggested that it might only get harder to follow who is playing whom on Heroes: The upcoming "volume five" has Sylar and Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) morphing into a variety of of co-stars and day players. "I just read episode 403 yesterday," Rose said. "What happens then, my mind has been so baffled, but it's a lot of fun. Yet another huge change comes for me in episode 403."

Nathan Petrelli began as a corrupt politician who was willing to let New York explode. He ultimately sacrificed himself to stop his brother, Peter, from blowing up, but later worked with the government to capture people with abilities. Pasdar suggested that his journey in the next season will finally redeem Nathan.

"I think there's going to be a good redemptive nature to his behavior this year," Pasdar said. "Somehow we're going to try to get out from underneath the dark cloud that surrounded the first couple years of his perception of what his power might be, his ability. It's nice to think it might end a little lighter. It might end with a martyrdom kind of behavior thing in order to sacrifice [himself] to serve the world."

As for that crazy episode 403 Rose mentioned, it includes the usual Petrelli parental issues. Nathan will be managing his shape-shifting, and their interaction will revolve more around Rose's Angela. "It's classic Mama Petrelli," Pasdar said. "It's more on her consistent behavior than it is on mine. I have a little bit of a shift going through my character, so she's more solid. It more resonates around her gravity pull than mine."

Rose added that the new season will spend comparatively less time with all characters. "All the stories are much smaller than they were, so each episode will be fewer people," Rose said. "So it'll be smaller stories for everyone, but I'm happy that they write my name in the script."

Both actors defended the changes in the writing staff, most notably the abrupt departure of Bryan Fuller for a second time. "Actually, there haven't been that many changes," Pasdar said. "People come and go. The core of the writing group has been there from day one. The show will end up being remembered for what it is, not for what people thought it might become or wished it had. The show is the show. You have to work with the mechanics that you're given, and we have some tremendously talented writers that work very hard every day to sculpt and craft the show. So it's my job to say what they interpret as the character. The arrivals and departures, I love Bryan Fuller. He's a good friend."

Rose confirmed that she is still working with writers who have written Angela since the beginning, with only one new addition she has yet to meet. "Well, Adam [Armus], Nora Kay [Forster], Aron [Eli Coleite] and Joe [Pokaski] are still there, and Michael [Green]. A new gentleman, I think his first name is Carlos, is coming in, but I have not met him yet."

Heroes returns Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT non NBC.