With a giant banner looming over Comic-Con from the nearby Marriott and marketing all over the San Diego International AirportLegends made a splash in its geekfest debut before a word was spoken or a clip was played on today’s panel. Not that the upcoming TNT spy thriller didn’t seal the deal with the 1,000 plus fans in Room 6A  of the Convention Center – especially when the star Sean Bean showed up, kind of.

Before the short panel got under way, the audience was treated to a full preview of the first episode of the TNT show introduced by Bean himself. Via video, the actor apologized for not being at Comic-Con but joked that “maybe that’s a good thing” for the crowd’s safety as the former Game Of Thrones and Lord Of The Rings star is of course one of the most killed off actors around. “If you were me, one does not simply avoid death on a daily basis,” Bean deadpanned to howls from the fans in the room.

The gritty and highly stylized episode started by showing Bean’s Odum undercover in an infiltration of an anti-government militia that goes wrong. The pilot was directed and executive-produced by David Semel and written by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who developed the plot with Gordon and consulting producer Mark Bomback. TNT put in an initial 10-episode order for Legends last May.

Based on the novels of Robert Littell, the Bean starrer centers on FBI agent Martin Odum and his ability to develop a new identity for each assignment. While his career is a ragged success, Odum himself is in increasingly rough shape personally as he discovers he might not actually be the person he believes himself to truly be. After the screening ,EP Howard Gordon was joined on the panel today by actors Ali Larter, Morris Chestnut and Tina Majorino as well as fellow EP David Wilcox.

LEGENDS PIC“I think Martin, Odum, Jack Bauer, Carrie Mathison and Fox Mulder are all trying to define who they are and what they are doing,” said Gordon today of the Sean Bean character on the show and characters from several other shows he’s produced. “And in this case, it really ups the ante of who am I?” added the Homeland, Tyrant and 24: Live Another Day EP. That was part of the appeal for at least one of the actors getting on board. “The thing about this show is its really edgy, dark and intellectual and character driven but it’s fun as well,” cast member Larter added.