'Bates Motel' Comic-Con panel: Season 2 will lay the series' groundwork
"Bates Motel" was met with much pomp and circumstance during its first ever San Diego Comic-Con panel. Fans turned out in full force for a panel that included Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga, Nestor Carbonell, Olivia Cooke, Max Theriot and producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin.
Farmiga just came off an Emmy nomination for her role as Norma Bates in "Bates Motel," and she discussed her approach to the character on the panel. "The approach to her is just in her defense. She is the mother of a child with mental issues, and there's no way that a parent can say my child has a mental illness without their spirit imploding," Farmiga says. "I always approach Norma with a great sense of compassion and reverence."
Ehrin adds, "She doesn't think she's doing anything wrong. She loves him."
There was a brief moment of panic when it seemed as though something bad had happened to Highmore, but really it was just part of a video skit that showed Highmore getting a bit too in character as Norman Bates on the Universal Studios lot. He then made an appearance on stage and immediately delved into talk of Season 2.
"It certainly set things up nicely for Season 2, doesn't it?" he says of the murder at the end of Season 1. "A nice end to be resolved. ... People always ask me what's going to happen as if I know."
Season 2 might explore a storyline that Farmiga suggested to the producers, and Cuse's one-word tease of the topic simply was "sandman." Cuse also promises that there will be more taxidermy in Season 2, with Norman "stuffing bigger animals this year." In addition, "there's some new romance for Norman and Norma this year -- and not with each other, okay? Not yet, no. There are some limits," Cuse says.
It's unclear if that romance will be with Cooke's character. "I can't keep being rejected all the time," she says, though cautions, "The what-could-be and the what-if is better than what actually happened."
One of the elements of "Bates Motel" that Cuse kept discussing was how the show's creative team tried to make it clear that they weren't beholden to a direct prequel to "Psycho."
"We will do our own version of this story, and that for us is just very exciting," he says. "It's not going to end well, but the path there is just super fun -- for us."
So how long will this story continue on? "'Bates Motel' is a story with a beginning-middle and end, and we want to tell the whole arc of this story," Cuse says. "By the end of this season we should have a pretty good idea of how long this story should last."