Beauty and The Beast lead actress Kristin Kreuk and executive producer Kelly Souders came out to WonderCon on Friday, March 29 to show their appreciation and thanks to a capacity filled ballroom of fans who avidly believe in them and their show. These were just a few of the people that are keeping this show alive, determined to keep it off the “sure to be cancelled” list like many other bubble shows in this stage of the TV season.
Smaller events like WonderCon have real value because it gives the stars and producers of a TV show a golden opportunity to send appreciation to loyal fans supporting their show. These kind of opportunities are not common as you may think. San Diego Comic Con, the most popular venue for these sort of panels, has issues where demand for tickets is overwhelmingly greater than capacity, not to mention the vast number of TV shows, movies, comics, video games, and other entertainment sources running panels at the same time. This all results in impossibly long lines and halls that fill up way too quickly, it’s a virtually impossible for average fans and a show to connect in a meaningful way. With WonderCon, there’s none of that hoopla and barriers to fan admittance. All you need is a ticket, and they’re pretty affordable not to mention in adequate supply. So when your favorite show announces it’s appearance, everything is ripe for a much better fan/show experience. That was clearly the case for BATB fans.
I’ll give the warning now, below are a few spoilers for upcoming episodes of Beauty and The Beast, even if I’d more call them teasers. If you don’t want to know though, you might want to come back later.
The first part of the panel was a presentation of the 18th episode, “Heart of Darkness,” followed by a fan Q&A. The previewed episode, like several of the more recent ones, continued the blend of romance, action, and a few surprises that keep the fans in that room and beyond very happy. The show has gone through a fitting transformation, drifting from it’s procedural formula early on into a deeply romantic mythology show.
“I think it’s a first season thing,” said Kristin Kreuk at the show’s press conference before the panel. “Trying to find what the show is. We started in many ways as a procedural in many ways and now we’re not. Now it’s really a romance and mythology show. That’s been really interesting to watch. I know that the writers have had quite the task of building that mythology quickly.”
Kelly Souders agreed that the show has had quite an evolution in this first season, and she’s quite pleased with how they’ve been able to move forward in the later part of the season with some great storytelling. “In those first few, you’re really trying to introduce the character to people, introduce the concepts so they get familiar with it. As you progress, in this last group, it rockets, it never stops, every single episode. For me, I leave every single one this way. It gives you a privilege to do a little bit more diving into who they are, diving into their past, diving into some mistakes that they’ve made, sort of push the characters further, push the story further, you pick up steam and keep going. This last group (of episodes) is really great.”
A big topic in both the panel and the press room was how the show put the two leads together relatively quickly, avoiding the common “Will they or won’t they?” that other shows love to drag out. Kristin Kreuk is very happy that Catherine and Vincent are in a relationship now. “I think the ‘will they or won’t they’ is fine and everything and there’s a certain energy to that does go away. We all know there’s a certain energy to the beginnings of something. But I really am interested in how these two actually relate because that’s what love us. Over time, through difficulty, how to you have this, and they have a lot difficulty. But I love them. They can be funny with each other, they are really honesty with each other, they both can screw up and discuss it, and I like that. They’re really a team.”
She also loves how they are involved in a true romance, rather than just being sexy. “I just want this to be loving as possible. And that’s what we tried for. And that makes it less awkward because I’m really bad at being sexy.”
Then there are the recent developments, which is certainly keep everyone on their toes. What now since Tess knows the secret? “There’s more hands on deck,” said Kreuk. “Tess obviously doesn’t know as much as about the situation. But I’ve always wanted to see Tess and JT engage with each other. I have since even before we started the show. Those two characters would be so funny together because they’re kind of similar and they’re both so biting in their humor. So there’s some good scenes with them. It becomes Catherine and Tess as a team again and JT and Vincent as a team and sometimes Catherine and Vincent are a team. I like that about our show, that friend/team dynamic.”
Will anyone else find out, like Heather? Kreuk says not yet. “I think with Heather, with Darius dying, it kind of put that whole thing out of her mind. So you’ll see Heather again but it’s going to be more about their family, because there’s more stuff about their family that’s going to be revealed. It’ll be Heather and Dad, especially when we get into this episode called “Anniversary” which is the anniversary of her Mom’s death. Does Catherine want her sister to remain in the dark? Obviously, ultimately no, but for everyone’s safety, which is Catherine’s primary concern, it’s better if Heather is in the dark. But that’s going to be hard for her, and that will be harder as the season goes on.”
And there’s Evan, who becomes a real problem in the episode previewed and in episodes to come. “Evan’s connection to Muirfield is going to be problematic,” said Souders. Kreuk was a little more descriptive. “Big problem. Massive, huge problem. It’s going to be a really big issue for them and Catherine is going to feel a lot of guilt and responsibility for it because she’s the one who didn’t tell him and she’s the one that handled the situation poorly.”
We even got some teasers on what the new place will be like for Vincent. Does Catherine have a say? “She tries,” said Kreuk. “She gets shot down (laughs).”
Souders was certainly impressed with the place. “You will see them settle in to someplace really beautiful that our design department did an incredible job with.”
In the panel, Kreuk also echoed a friendship with the other actresses off camera. She’s become great friends with Nina Lisandrello, who plays Tess. There’s also a camraderie and goofiness that happens among the cast on the set. “All of us sing, often,” Kreuk revealed.
All in all it was a great afternoon for Beauty and the Beast fans, but there is still one big question looming. What about season two? The show is on the bubble for The CW, and has been losing almost half of its lead in from the network’s top rated show, The Vampire Diaries. Fans have every reason to be nervous, for pundits are giving the show’s chances 50/50. Despite looming possibility of cancellation, Souders is really excited about the finale planned. She doesn’t know anything about renewal though. “Fingers crossed, I’d be picking it up.” Will the finale be satisfying either way? “No. Only if there’s a season two. Come on, that’s the only way we’re going to be satisfied.”
I sense from the energy in that room, the fan campaigns will be kicking in full swing now. Given the fact that Kreuk and Souders both praised their “Beasties” at the panel, fan efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Here’s a few other soundbites from the press conference:
What attracted Kreuk to the role? “The role itself I thought there was potential for an incredibly strong woman. I think Catherine is becoming that more and more. I really like her.”
Any thoughts of co-habitation with Vincent? “No thoughts of co-habitation yet. That would be too difficult, how would she explain that one? Let’s give that a couple of seasons.”
On the concern of Catherine and Vincent’s physical relationship and his mutated DNA: “It’s like you’ve been in the writer’s room. It’s what we talk about all the time. Definitely the two of them getting closer, and more intimate and physical together is an issue that you’ll see it comes up a little bit, and then down road it comes up some more. You don’t know what happens with that DNA. It’s freaky stuff. You don’t want to test the waters.”
Our two press room interviews can be found in their entirety below:
And here’s video of the panel:
Beauty and the Beast airs on The CW Thursdays 9pm, following The Vampire Diaries.