Sleepy Hollow goes into its fourth season after some major changes that essentially constitute a soft reboot, but though nearly the entire cast has been revamped and the premise somewhat adjusted, a familiar face will be returning to the Fox show: John Noble, who played Henry Parrish/Jeremy Crane/The Horseman of War in the first and second seasons.
No details on how Henry Parrish’s return is possible – the character was killed off at the end of season 2 – but Noble was revealed at the end of a still-unreleased season 4 sizzle reel showed to fans attending the show’s New York Comic-Con panel that brought the convention to a close this afternoon.
In attendance for the panel were stars Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane), Lyndie Greenwood (Jenny Mills), Janina Gavankar (Diana Thomas), and Jeremy Davies (Malcolm Dreyfuss), as well as Executive Producers Len Wiseman, Albert Kim, and Raven Metzner.
In what might have been a response to the fan controversy over the death of Abbie Mills and the departure of her actress, Nicole Beharie at the end of season three, the producers were careful to make it clear that despite the changes, the show is getting back to basics in many ways. What is important, said Kim, “is that that we stay true to what the spirit of the show was.” That means “everything we thought was important… the humor, the horror,” and other elements underpinning the supernatural series.
Part of that will come through new character Diana Thomas played by Gavankar. As the producers put it, she’s there in part to bring back “to be sort of the grounding force… to reintroduce this idea of how weird this universe is.”
Gavankar also talked at length about how her character came together. “We’re all very complex people and we don’t have to constantly talk about their race,” she said about her character, an Indian-American single mother. However, Gavankar did want to represent the vast diversity of the Indian community worldwide, which influenced how her character’s name came about. “There are over a billion Indians on this planet, we have a diverse set of last names. And since we’re talking about biblical histories, it would be interesting to make this girl Christian.” Noting that there are millions of Indian Christians, Gavankar said “we changed her last name to [give] her a very Indian Christian last name.”
Among the panel’s other highlights:
* At the start, Lost and Ant-Man star Evangeline Lily came out on stage with the cast of Sleepy Hollow. It wasn’t a reveal that she’s joining the show, however, as Lily was there only to show support for “my good friend Jeremy,” meaning Davies, with whom she appeared on Lost.
* It was announced that Benjamin Banneker will be a character on the show. A freeborn African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer, Banneker was an important but oft-forgotten figure of the Revolutionary War period who was part of the survey team that helped create Washington, D.C., opposed slavery, and corresponded with Thomas Jefferson on the subject. He’ll appear in the show’s flashback scenes.