Heroes Reborn: Jack Coleman Talks HRG and the Post-Marvel World

Jack Coleman, the man behind the horn-rimmed glasses, sits down to discuss Noah Bennet, TV revivals, and the new season of Heroes.

When I first started covering the Television Critics Association press tours in 2006, the biggest new show on the circuit was Heroes and getting scoops from the cast was a top priority. Eight years later, here we are again, with NBC and the cast of Heroes meeting and greeting the Television Critics Association at their summer party.

Heroes Reborn will see a mostly new cast, but some returning heroes include Greg Grunberg, Masi Oka, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Jimmy Jean-Louis, and Jack Coleman. Coleman of course is Noah Bennet, the fan-favorite also known as HRG, because of his signature eyewear and shady season one appearances.

Heroes Reborn picks up one year after a terrorist attack has wiped out known people with abilities, including Bennet’s adopted daughter Claire. Claire’s disappearance trouble’s HRG considering her power is to heal from any injury. Coleman told me about Heroes Reborn in his coy, mysterious HRG ways. 

Den of Geek: Is getting the glasses back like Indiana Jones putting on his hat and jacket with his whip?

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Jack Coleman: Yeah, it’s kind of awesome actually. I told people the first go round that the glasses do most of the acting. So just putting them back on was a wonderful, familiar feeling. The first time I put them on, for the first hour or so felt a little like Halloween dress up. Very quickly it came back to the character, the heart and the show.

Is Noah grieving when we meet him again?

Noah is trying to get to the bottom of what has become of Claire because he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know where Claire is. He’s not sure what has happened to them. So there are things that are unclear in his mind, pieces he has to put together to figure out what has happened, to find her.

So he still thinks there’s a chance she’s out there?

He knows that he doesn’t know what has become of her, where she is. So he’s trying to get to the bottom of it.

Does it feel like season five to you?

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No. It feels like season 1A because it’s so new, all these new guys, so many new stories, new characters that it feels like, I’m not going to say the first season because everyone says it’s like the first season. There’s only one first kiss. That first season was the first kiss. You can’t have that again, but there is such a sense of discovery and a newness to what we’re doing and who’s doing it, that it doesn’t feel like just a continuation.

Were you surprised in the first run when HRG became the rock of the series?

Yes, pleasantly surprised. I also understood, the one thing I understood from just reading the pilot was if this guy is hunting people with powers and his daughter is one of the prime people with powers, there’s a real potential here for growth. I understood that. I had no idea that I would become so intrinsically linked to everybody’s story.

Now when they came back to do Heroes Reborn, was it more familiar that HRG would be at the center of it?

I didn’t know that I would be the center. Tim told me early on the spine, the story. It’s really the function that HRG served the first go round was connecting all these different people in their stories and their characters. It was just sort of a natural extension.

You’re a TV veteran. Did you ever imagine a time where shows that went off the air would be brought back?

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Not in my wildest dreams. After the first six months, maybe a year, I thought there might be a miniseries to wrap it up. Five years later?

When you see other shows doing it, is it equally surprising that Full House is coming back, X-Files is coming back?

If you look at the trajectory of movies, so many movies are remakes of previous movies or television shows and comic books. There is a hunger familiar products and name brands that people know. So Full House, X-Files, there’s a built in audience, clearly. I think it’s just a natural progression.

Do you think any of the other shows you were on might be ripe for a comeback?

Do you have one in mind?

Maybe Dynasty?

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I think Dynasty would be prime for a comeback. I think the time could be right for Dynasty, but again, like Heroes, it would be mostly a whole new cast. I could see Joan.

And you!

Me as Steven Carrington all those years later… I’d like to come back and play Blake. That would be fun. But I think if they do it, they have to have Joan because Joan is still 25 years old. She looks amazing. She’s ready to go.

Is HRG still able to be as manipulative as he was in the beginning when he was in control?

The short answer is no because he doesn’t have the apparatus, the company, behind him. The longer answer is yeah, because he still has those skills. He still is a pretty ruthless operator when he needs to be and a shrewd operator as well. He can be very manipulative and he can be very convincing. He just doesn’t have the whole apparatus of the company behind him.

Is Heroes any different in a post-Marvel world, where they have a whole cinematic universe?

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I think everything is different in a world in which we see so many superheroes. The thing about Heroes that’s always different is it was never about the cape or the costume. It was about the story and the characters and relationships. So I would say that the real difference is more technological in terms of what we can do now on television technically, that we couldn’t do eight years ago. But in terms of how it serves the characters, I don’t think Heroes has changed that much.

Heroes Reborn premieres Thursday, September 24 at 8PM on NBC.