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Hayden Panettiere: Will she return for the 'Heroes' miniseries?

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(Read caption) Hayden Panettiere starred on the NBC series 'Heroes.'

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Superheroes have ruled at the multiplex for the past decade, and comic book properties are hitting television in a big way, from the CW’s ongoing hit series Arrow and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the upcoming Gotham, The Flash and Constantine. Before all this, NBC’s Heroes was arguably as instrumental to the dominance of superhero stories as Marvel’s Iron ManBryan Singer’s X-Men movies or Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.

Heroes premiered to great acclaim in 2006, making stars out of the previously unknown Hayden Panettiere (who has gone on to star in ABC’s Nashville) and Zachary Quinto (who went on to play the young Spock in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot). The show followed a group of people who develop super powers, exploring the ways these powers corrupted or inspired them and the conflicts that arose in their wake. The show won an immediate cult following and exploded across popular culture, only to see ratings and critical reception tank hard, leading to cancellation after four seasons.

Still, that brilliant first season remains beloved by fans, and now we have a report from Deadline that creator Tim Kring is bringing Heroes back to the network as a 13-episode miniseries event. Titled Heroes: Reborn, the limited run is set to air in 2015, with all new characters and storylines to appear online in a digital series before the new series premieres.

As for whether or not any members of the original cast could return, NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke had this to say in the official press release:

“…we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.”

Furthermore, the show will be “appropriately shrouded in secrecy” as the 2015 air date approaches. The resurrection of Heroes comes soon after our first look at the next phase of Fox’s 24, which returns to the airwaves this May. We’ve recently detailed the reasons that everyone should really love reboots and remakes, and the return of an iconic show like Heroes with its original creator at the helm could really pound this point home.

On the other hand, Tim Kring – who went on to create Fox’s short-lived Touch - is credited as executive producer on all 79 episodes of Heroes, and arguably owns the lion’s share of the responsibility for how quickly Heroes appeared to jump the shark. Still, Kring has had plenty of time to reflect, and plans to “add to his original concept.” 

Interestingly, we heard some similar news just under a year ago – a fifth season could have premiered exclusively on the Xbox, with very similar details, including “new stories and heroes, while mixing in cameos from the original series’ cast.” This is the real deal, though. Heroes was unique in the way it utilized the comic book structure – each season consisted of two main volumes, with many inter-connected story arcs (too many, eventually) – without drawing directly from any established property.

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This 13-episode format also mirrors the current run of most cable series, a hint that NBC is attempting to prove that they can match Starz, AMC or HBO in quality. The network’s critically-acclaimed Hannibal (created by former Heroes writer Bryan Fuller) arguably does just that. Can Heroes really stand its ground in this post-Marvel and DC Cinematic Universe world?

Anthony Vieira blogs at Screen Rant.


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