Today at the TCA summer press tour, the cast and executive producers of Homeland faced some very reasonable questions about next season, including: Since Brody’s on the lam, why are we still hanging out with his family? Can we expect major character deaths this time? And what is up with the suspenders, Rupert Friend? The panel happily answered what they could, danced around the rest, and left us with a superb story about Anne Hathaway’s kindness and/or desperate need for approval. (You be the judge.) Here’s an accounting of all the action. Mild spoilers ahead:
Brody will be MIA for the first two episodes, at least.
Said Damian Lewis of the character's whereabouts: “He’s disappeared into a tunnel and exfiltration system that Carrie has effected.” That means he’s neither seen nor heard in the opening episodes at all. Producers say he’ll be back (of course, he's got an Emmy!), and Lewis said the state in which we find him will be the interesting part. “He is the most-wanted criminal in the world at this point.”
The Brody family, meanwhile, will be front and center.
Asked by one journalist why producers chose to keep them in play even with Brody temporarily out of the picture, showrunner Alex Gansa said they asked the series' new writers what they thought. “There was a consensus that there was interest in Jess and Dana and Chris,” he said. (They were especially interested in Dana, who’s been seriously affected by last season’s events.) The same went for Brody, a character the writers had originally intended to kill at the end of season one – not that he couldn’t still die mid-way. Joked Lewis: “I’m on a stay of execution, I’m not sure for how much longer.”
Anne Hathaway tried to make it okay with Claire Danes before she did the cryface on SNL.
Asked what she thought of last season’s Homeland parody, Claire Danes gave us the super great backstory. “I’m friendly with Anne,” she began, “and I got a series of texts from her saying [in a high-pitched voice] ‘Hiiiiiii, um, so I’m hosting SNL and, um, I really hope we’re still friends ... ’” Then Hathaway sent her a big bouquet of flowers, again, before the thing had aired, at which point Danes said she thought, Ooooooh, shit. She ultimately decided not to watch it. “I enjoyed the flowers,” she continued, adding that she was genuinely flattered in a “oh boy, we’re relevant, we’re cool, we’re cool enough to make fun of” kind of way.
Carrie on the outs with everyone, again.
“It’s pretty bleak in the beginning,” Danes said. When the season starts, Carrie will have gone off her meds, landing her in isolation for what the actress called “a good chunk of the season.” Things have really soured between Carrie and Saul, too, but Danes expects them to come to their senses soon enough. “Both Saul and Carrie share an enormous, profound amount of guilt for this loss. So even though they are estranged from each other, they are also very deeply connected."
The CIA will be on trial.
Of course the agency’s got some problems following a terrorist bombing that kills hundreds of its own. The season picks up 200-some days after the season-ending explosion.
Saul’s unhappy being in charge.
Gansa said Saul's been comfortable being on the sidelines, and with his promotion to director of the CIA, he'll have to make some very “uncharacteristic” choices. “We just find Saul in a very difficult spot. The man who loathed to make decisions is forced to make the most important ones in his life,” he said. “He’s fearful he might be the last director of the CIA.”
Producers to critics: backlash, shmacklash.
Some of you didn’t love last season, and the producers are aware. “I wish the backlash never happened, but it didn’t really influence the way we [approached] season three,” Gansa said. “Our eleven Emmy nominations are a nice comeback.”
Friend’s suspenders remain a mystery.
Danes wanted to know about the getup too. "Is this your rumspringa?" she asked. Friend laughed for a long time but wouldn’t answer except to say if he told us, he’d have to you know what.