Saturday, July 25, 2009

Comic-Con Update 2009 - Sanctuary

Just got out of a fun panel for Sanctuary, which airs on Syfy and is heading into its second season. The show, which was co-created by and stars Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis), hasn't gotten me completely hooked on it yet, but it sounds like the new season may be the one in which the show hits its stride.

Enjoy the following notes from the panel (video and more photos to follow later)!

TV Guide moderator: Tell us about the journey of the show over the past two years. Amanda's "gobsmacked" at the support the show's gotten from fans, from when they started promoting the webisodes at a Comic-Con booth two years ago (Sanctuary got its start as a web series before being picked up by Syfy) to getting a second season pick-up. Sanctuary is the first show from a web series to get a second season.

Promo reel is played:
- Lots of clips from last season becuase of the post-production time required for all of their episodes, so they couldn't give Syfy more than a few snippets of season 2 footage
- Montage of clips with the phrases "New Dangers," "New Characters" and "New Relationshiops,"Had a surprising number of clips including Tesla and Watson.

Martin Wood says the 2nd season effects are way, way better than first season. The big discovery next season is that there are Sanctuaries all over the world (fans had heard this news previously). They wanted a "James Bond" feel ingthat the story could take place anywhere. Magnus has build dozens of Sancturaries during her life in places like Mumbai. All the Sanctuaries have a different look -- they did't just recycle the London Sanctuary..

Robin Dunne says that, with Sanctuary, when you pick up a script, you never know what adventure you're going on and with the second season "the boundaries have been pushed so much farther."

The eighth ep si called "Next Tuesday" and is a "helicopter ep" that was "sadistic" for Amanda and Robin. Will Zimmerman and Magnus are transporting a rare abmornal off of an oil rig (in Mexico?).The abnormal wakes up, gets upset and the helicoptor goes down in an oil well in the middle of the ocean, with the helicopter suspended above them and a nest of wires. Amanda, Robin and director Martin Wood spent five days in wetsuits for this sep and they did not use stunt people. According to Robin, by day 4 the water was really crowded with "debris." According to Martin, it was really impressive to see Amanda hold her breath for 94 seconds.
The season premiere includes a big car chase with Magnus behind the wheel, for which they used Damien Kindle's car and no stunt driver. Amanda did her own driving for the sequence and Robin says that his reaction in the passenger seat was not acting -- he was terrified!

[bxA]Also shot scenes for an episode on location Japan. They were there doing press for Syfy Japan and decided to take advantage of the opportunity -- had 76 hours. We'll get to meet the new head of Tokyo Sanctuary and the rebuilt Tokyo Sanctuary- Damien was dying when Martin told us this because Martin was revealing too much.
The scenes they shot in Japani were filmed almost guerilla style - Martin was working the camera, there were no permits and they were writing scenes onsite because they were having fun and wanted to maximize the opportunity. So when you watch the ep, just know that it's really Japan and not just stock footage and CGI.

Amanda directed an ep called "Veritas" in which Magnus goes "completely off her rocker." This ep really showcases Will's loyalty to Magnus -- "when the world turns it's back on her, he can be counted on to stick with her." Damien Kindler says that they wanted to deepen Will and Helen's relationship this season (in a non-shipper way) - they didn't want the relationship to be stagnant and just about capturing monsters.

Accordingg toRobin, "there's a groundedness to the characters this year" and "Will and Magnus are more honest with each other." Will will call her out when needed and tell her things she doesn't want to hear, but needs to hear.
Season two is more about the now instead of flashbacks, but according to Martin we get a "future flash." The future flash ep is "Padua Noctoris" which focuses on a probable future. Amanda says we'll see "Will unlike you've ever seen him before" and that it was "freaky",seeing Robin in character for this ep. It's set in a post-apocalyptic era and we'll see a decayed Sanctuary, Magnus' office destroyed, band -- most frightening --Will with mullet!

There's a new character - a woman of Indian descent who's a freelance op, a "Han Solo type" --and Magnus doesn't trust her in the beginning. The new, very blunt character "shines a light on the Sanctuary" and what they do and whether how they're going about it is right.

Shippers - Magnus held Will Zimmerman on her knee when he was 8! Magnus + Druitt is that character's big love affair ("she likes the bad boys"). There's also Count Olaff who owns a soccer team.
Zap2It questions:

What was up with Ashley in the season one finale? What happens to Ashley reverberates through the Sanctuary and affects the first three eps. It's a very physically and emotionally challenging season for Helen and Will.

Magnus had quite a high body count among her friends during the first season -- will they keep doing that next season? Reiterated that "nobody dies in scifi and they can bring back any if the great guest stars who died during the first season. Also have great upcoming guest stars for season 2. Michael Shanks guest ep. Not a lot of Michael & Amanda screen time.. Gun fight though. Mostly abt Michael and Kate. Michael's & Amanda's characters know each other and are happy when they meet though. Not the "Daniel and Sam show." Callum Blue will also guest and Amanda called him "yummy" before remembering that that was supposed to be an inside voice, not an announcement to the public. very cute!
Will Watson come back? He lived for a long time and they show backstories all the time and "we will see him again if we can get third season going."

Do any of them have any "cool stories" about scars or accidents since they're doing so many of their own stunts? Robin jokingly, but eloquqently replied, "Do you have four hours [to hear about all my injuries]?" Amanda said, "I'm the one woman who should NEVER have been allowed to do my own stunts and yet I have for the past 13 years. I have scars."


  1. Nice summary of Comic Con ladies! I've been on the Sanctuary bandwagon since it was a little indie web series, and I was a part of the Comic Con 2007 promo crew way back when. If there's one thing that has stayed the same for the past 13 years, it's that Amanda Tapping has an innate magnetism. Looking forward to your pictures, vids and S2 coverage!

  2. cn2007 - I was part of the 2007 Sanctuary ComicCon promo Crewn too! Do I know you? :) It's been great to see the wonderful progression and growth of what was this 'tiny' web show in 2007.

    The panel today was fabulous. Thanks for refreshing my memory with the great recap!