the exorcist season 2

It was the last panel of New York Comic Con, but The Exorcist panel — consisting of actors Ben Daniels, Alfonso Herrera, Kurt Egylawan, John Cho, Zuleikha Robinson, with executive producer/writer Jeremy Slater and showrunner Sean Crouch—still commanded a packed room that was bursting with superfans of the small screen adaptation of the classic horror film. Despite the show’s shift to Friday nights, each and every audience member was clearly a dedicated fan (especially proven by how they raised the roof for each panelist announced on stage), and was psyched to see what they were going to reveal about the new season. Myself included. Just two episodes into the season, I can already tell that the show is moving into some interesting territory—especially with priests Tomas and Marcus (Herrera and Daniels) going rogue together.

Our anticipation was spiked after watching the sneak peak of the next episode, which introduces us to a new victim of demon possession in France for Tomas and Marcus to exorcise. And guys, there’s blood, vomit, and some truly scary stuff. But in addition to the general discomfort of watching a show like this, each of the characters goes through a bit of an evolution this season, which Herrera attested to. “Tomas wants to get his hands dirty this season.” In regards to the narrative, Slater added “Evil had larger designs this season.”

Daniels, who by the way wore Marcus’s signature black leather jacket, notes how Marcus is at an impasse with his faith (similar to Father Karras from the original film). “Marcus lost his relationship with God. He’s in this unstable situation, in which God has moved his attention to Tomas and away from him. So there’s a bit of jealousy there.”

And Egylawan says that his Father Bennett “thinks he can fight this evil from inside the church. Folks will soon find out that he will seek help from a nefarious character.” This is interesting because my own gripe with the show has been how the storylines seem a bit fragmented. This season we have Bennett rallying the pulpit, Tomas/Bennett, and Andrew (Cho), who’s introduced this season as a foster dad to troubled teens. So, it’s a lot. But Slater assured us that it will all come together soon. “The goal is that all stories will intersect this season.”

By the way, Cho, whose storyline is still a mystery to us as he just started this season, got a huge applause from the audience. I don’t think I’d be overstepping to say that his celebrity has garnered a whole new batch of fans for the show.

And he’s loving every minute of it. “I’m having the time of my life,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous experience working with this cast. We help each other get to some difficult and strange emotional states. Things aren’t going to go well for [my character] Andrew. I think his sin is loving too much.”

But even though I’m a John Cho superfan, it was the addition of Robinson’s character as the first woman priest that I found most interesting. Robinson, whose character’s name is Mouse, is not in the clip from the next episode that they showed, so I think we were all wondering what role she plays. And I am so hyped to see more her. “I’m excited for everyone to get to know her because she is so complicated,” Robinson said.

According to Slater, we learn about her entire backstory by episode 8 this season. He is also really happy with her addition to the show, which already defies diversity standards pervasive across the genre. “Every time there’s an exorcist show, we run the risk of being a boys club. We don’t want women characters to exist strictly as hosts for demons. It’s refreshing to come to our show and see different faces, genders, and cultures. There is a remarkably underserved audience that deserves representation.”

Another really fascinating thing about the show, other than the fact that it really does do a good job expanding on the themes and characters from the original film, is how it explores the church from the inside—and not always in ways everyone will find comfortable. In discussing Bennett’s character, Slater said, “Why destroy a Catholic church when you can run it from within?”

Though the show has moved to Friday nights (usually the first sign of a show’s demise), there is clearly a significant fanbase for the show—marked by die-hard horror fans like myself who want to make sure genre remains on the small screen. Herrera said that the audience goes far beyond who we saw in the packed room. “The social media audience has been incredible.”

And speaking of devoted fan bases, Herrera couldn’t get away without at least acknowledging the other show he’s on, Sense8 (which Netflix has sadly put on life support). He was a bit cagey about it, but he did say, “I heard Lana [Wachowski] say she wanted to do a third season and maybe that will happen.”

That’s a good enough answer for me. Here’s hoping that fans continue to rally around The Exorcist as they have with Sense8. I mean, who wouldn’t want more Herrera?

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