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TNT’s The Last Ship SDCC panel released more than just a mutant microbe

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Sep 3, 2019, 7:19 AM EDT (Updated)

The crew of the Nathan James may have escaped the human strain of the virus that threatened to obliterate them and everyone else on Earth. But as we found at SDCC's The Last Ship panel, with the virus mutating to infiltrate the plant kingdom from which it spawned, the crew must now embark on a literally epic adventure that reflects Homer’s magnum opus The Odyssey.

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Sailing to the Mediterranean will be anything but a vacation for Chandler and his mates. Now that the killer virus, known in this incarnation as the “red rust,” has wormed its way from human veins into the food supply, their quest to find the primordial seed resistant to this microbial menace is fraught with more than just bio-threats. The anxious crowd in Hall H found out from executive producer Steven Kane that there are more Big Bads than just the virus. Human villains can prove even more dangerous—because if you kill whoever is desperately searching for the antidote, everyone dies.

“Jackson Rathbone will play a really delicious villain for us, a Greek mafia guy who shakes down fishermen for their take and runs these fight clubs for his enjoyment,” Kane teased, “but there are others they come across in Morocco and Spain and Algeria, and we have a few surprises.”

This could explain why Chandler gets in the ring for a gladiatorial showdown.

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If you’ve been wondering about Slattery and Sasha, Adam Baldwin and Bridget Regan offered some revelations that are only going to up the speculation factor. Baldwin admitted that former executive officer turned P.O.W. Slattery misses Chandler, and has been just as traumatized as the rest of the crew by the massive human losses experienced in the wake of the virus and its multiple mutations. While he hopes to re-acquaint himself with his C.O. and friend at some point, he leans on crewmates like Balen and Burke for strength and support, because his mission must sail on.

“We all suffered the losses of our families and friends by the millions,” Baldwin said, “so he and his crew are struggling with our tragedies and with survival and Slattery’s family—there’s a way that he explains things about his lost family that are really interesting.”

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“When Chandler walked off the ship at the end of Season 3, it was really kind of a shock,” Regan admitted. “Sasha isn’t a character who sits and thinks about how she deals [with challenges], and none of the characters on the show are; they all find it easier to focus on the task at hand fed by the adrenaline of the fight and keep working.”

She’s also having trouble getting over Chandler. For that I really can’t blame her.

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Kane then shocked everyone with the RoboCop reveal. You’re not seeing things: Peter Weller, aka RoboCop, will be coming aboard in all-human form this season after there was some talk about him directing, which ultimately ended with Kane convincing him to be on camera. His character will supposedly be an interesting foil for the rest of the crew.

The cast also gave a shout out to the hundreds of dedicated Navy servicemen and women who have shaped the show into something believable. They feel that the production of The Last Ship has taken on a military ethos of work from that influence, from defense and battle strategies all the way down to putting command pins on the right side of their uniforms. There will even be a Navy-exclusive screening at the base where it is filmed, just down the street from Comic-Con's San Diego Convention Center, and there is no reason to doubt the reaction will be as positive as it has been in previous seasons.

“The fact that any veteran would dig our show just makes it more fun,” said Regan. “We’re doing something right if [they] are enjoying it."

Season 4 of The Last Ship takes to the sea on August 20 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.