HEROES (Probably) Returns, but without 'Origins'

The 'Origins' spinoff is dead, but NBC's Heroes is getting a third season, maybe even featuring Kristen Bell...if the proposed SAG strike doesn't kill it.
Heroes is coming back this fall with an expanded third-season opener, reports IAN SPELLING at SCI FI WIRE.

"On Monday, Sept. 15, we'll kick off with a Heroes clip show to try to bring back the audience and [then air] a massive two-hour Heroes film," Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, told advertisers in New York on April 2.

Season Three will be a total of twenty episodes, with the back ten to begin in February 2009.

Heroes has endured a bumpy ride over the last year, following early acclaim (and Emmy nominations), and the pressure is on for a full return to form with the new segments.

But Silverman confirmed that the heavily hyped, much-anticipated spinoff, Heroes: Origins, has been scrapped.

"We were taxing our creative team to do too much around that," he said. "We wanted 35 Heroes [episodes] and 12 Heroes: Origins, each of which was supposed to be a mini-movie and backdoor pilot. We reached far and challenged our people, and we decided it was better to focus on keeping the Heroes mothership as strong as possible."

"While I'm excited for the third season (in which our protagonists will fight their equivalent of the Legion of Doom), I am sorry to hear that Origins was scrapped," lamented TV SQUAD's BRAD TRECHAK. "They had some real talent behind that spin-off."

Originally conceived to help eliminate Heroes repeats, Origins had lined up directors and writers--including feature-film vets Kevin Smith, Eli Roth and Michael Dougherty--before NBC dropped the idea.

The abbreviated Season Two generally is considered far inferior to One, and the hastily-prepared December finale necessitated by the Writers' Strike was considered (even by creator Tim Kring) to be a mercy killing.

"Heroes could well be the show that the writers' strike actually ended up helping," wrote SIMON BREW at DEN OF GEEK!

And since the production team has had plenty of time to relax, noted Trechak, "I think the third season will be a significant step up."

But things still could get worse before getting better. In February, the Screen Actors Guild hinted that there is potential for a strike when member contracts expire June 31.

Speaking with fans at March's Eclipse event in the UK, Heroes star Sendhil Ramamurthy (Suresh) admitted that the possible SAG strike could put the series down for good. "Hopefully producers and SAG will get together and sort something out. My last scene was filmed on October 23 so I’m hoping we’ll get something together cause I’d really like to get back to work."

Kristen Bell (Elle, left) also wants to return to Heroes, and negotiations apparently are underway to bring her electric villain back into the fold.

"If I don’t come back, it will be because we didn’t work it out," she recently told MoviesOnline. "I want to go back. As far as I’m concerned, I am going back. I’m not under contract but I’ve had such a good relationship with them and I’ve had so much fun doing it and had such a great storyline."

According to Bell, she had already shot two episodes, pre-writers' strike, for Volume 3, "Villains," which has been moved to Season Three.

Heroes will air Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Meanwhile, in the UK, BBC Two has scheduled the second season of Heroes to begin on April 24.

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