It's nearly 2016 now, but think back to what life was like 10 years ago. In the fall of 2006, Justin Timberlake was just starting to bring sexy back. The Departed was about to become a box office chart-topper. And, if you turned on NBC at any given moment, you would hear one phrase repeated over and over in an ominous whisper: "Save the cheerleader, save the world." That simple declarative statement basically outlined the premise to the then-new superheroes-in-the-normal-world show Heroes, and the cheerleader in question was Claire Bennet, played by Hayden Panettiere. Now that NBC is bringing this story back for the limited series Heroes Reborn on Sept. 24, is there any room for Bennet? Will Hayden Panettiere return to Heroes Reborn ?
I know, I know, it'd be a long shot. But there are other Heroes alums who are returning, like Masi Oka (who I didn't realize I had missed) and Greg Grunberg (always a welcome presence), among others. What does that mean for Panettiere? Does she have a shot? I wouldn't try and hold your breath about it — after all, you don't have superpowers. While a lot of the action focuses on Noah Bennet, his daughter seems to be missing from the picture. Here are some reasons why you shouldn't expect a cameo.
The End of Heroes
I don't want to spoil anything, but, where do you go from there? Claire Bennet served such a big role in the original series that her cameo, moreso than any others, would be a huge wink to the audience more than it could be plot relevant. And creator Tim Kring must agree, since he's said some big, spoilery things in the press about why, story-wise Bennet's character couldn't be in the new series. (Don't click if you don't want to be spoiled!)
It's not like there's a dearth of Panettiere on TV. If you're looking for her, Nashville's fourth season just premiered on ABC on Sept. 23. Filming Nashville probably makes scheduling a second series, even a miniseries, near-impossible. Though the idea of an invulnerable cheerleading country singer is kind of neat.
Panettiere gave birth to baby, Kaya Klitschko, this past December. As someone who is currently pregnant, even the idea of running around and jumping off of amusement park rides and doing other heroic stunts does not seem appealing. I know they have stunt doubles and everything, but, if it were me, I'd stick with the safe, ground-bound country singer role over the high-flying superhero any day.
It Was Never Really An Option
Panettiere told Cosmopolitan she wasn't even informed of the reboot and found out about it through her cousin. "It was a shock to me," she claimed. "I hope that they don't have somebody else playing our characters; that would be a little dagger in the heart." That won't be happening on Heroes Reborn, and at the TCA summer press tour, Kring explained why some characters aren't returning. "Some of the people did not have the availability because they were involved with other things," he said, before adding the most important factor. "The story was the thing that dictated who would come back."
All Of The Familiar Faces Have Already Been Revealed
Entertainment Weekly has confirmed that a number of big names from the original series will not be returning. "Hayden Panettiere, Ali Larter, Adrian Pasdar, Milo Ventimiglia, and Zachary Quinto are among those who won’t be a part of the new version," EW reported, adding that Kring noted, "Everybody who’s coming back has been in the press.” So, no surprise Panettiere performance is in the works for Heroes Reborn — or at least that's what Kring wants you to think.