The cast of Superstore kicked off their Comic-Con@Home panel with a “Comic-Con 2020: The Essential at Home Guide” instructional video that looked very much like a dated Human Resources video you would watch during a new-hire orientation. It was very much on-brand for the NBC workplace comedy.
The video included cast members Laura Ash (Dina), Ben Feldman (Jonah), Mark McKinney (Glenn), Colton Dunn (Garrett), Nico Santos (Mateo), Nichole Sakura (Cheyenne) and Kaliko Kauahi (Sandra) adapting to an at-home version of Comic-Con. This included Feldman talking to an audience of stuffed animals, Ash camping out in a non-existent line to Hall H and Sakura cosplaying as Pikachu.
This was a fun lead in to the virtual panel moderated by Ash. When the Zoom screen popped up, someone was noticeably missing (besides America Ferrera): Mr. Dunn. Turned out he had the wrong time and was scrambling to sign on to Zoom for the panel. Once he signed on under his Zoom pseudonym “Leon Buttersmuggers”, he was welcomed by his co-stars with a sarcastic ovation of slow claps. Besides having the wrong time for the panel, he admitted it took him a while to sign because he was tending to an important task: cooking bacon.
The cast kicked things off by reflecting on their favorite moments from the past five seasons. Ash was excited that we got to meet Dina’s dad played by Dean Norris while Kauahi enjoyed the times where the Cloud 9 crew banded together to fight against something. Santos loved breakroom scenes, Sakura celebrated all the guest stars, and McKinney was thrilled to direct. Meanwhile Feldman, out of everything that has happened in the series, enjoyed all the food they were fed.
Fans of the show were able to submit questions via social media and when asked what they are most excited for the upcoming season 6, Dunn responded, “Just starting to work. Leaving my house and going somehwere else to do something!”
He continued, “So much has happened in the world and our show has always kind of reflects what’s going on in the world and what’s going on with people who work in retail and those types of jobs. Those stories are important to tell right now because those people didn’t go home — they had to keep going to work.”
The fifth season of Superstore was cut short when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a lockdown in the country. The season finale was supposed to be a two-parter and was going to be America Ferrera’s final hurrah. However, with the coronavirus, the comedy was forced to pivot to other plans. The episode titled “California Part 1” ended up being the season finale and centered on Amy (Ferrera) and her move to Zephra for a corporate job in California.
The cast remembered how it was during the top of the pandemic when Hollywood was starting to shut down. “I try to think back on season five and only can think about that last week and a half or so,” said Feldman.”At the beginning of what was going to be the second to last episode, [the pandemic] was pretty bad, but keep shooting. By the Wednesday of that week, it was like ‘What are we still doing here?!'”
He added, “I remember shooting the last scenes with America — we were constantly trying to make sure whatever we were shooting was going to be a good enough ending if they ended up stopping production. We had no official word until we wrapped that episode.”
Meanwhile, Santos recalled the moment when he got the call that they would be shutting down production and they were asked to clean out their trailers. “I remember finding four rolls of toilet paper in my trailer and I said ‘I’m going to take these home with me’ and I looked in the store if they have more,” Santos joked.
“I want to point out that I was the first to panic,” McKinney said. “I panicked weeks before! I told everyone to get toilet paper and hand sanitizer.”
Ash added, “It’s wild to think where we were in terms of the show… in terms of the world a year ago and where we are now.”
Co-showrunners Jonathan Green and Gabe Miller Zoom’d into the panel from the writers room for season 6 to talk about the planned season 5 finale — which was supposed to include some big crowd scenes. “It was crazy figuring out huge crowd scenes — and it wasn’t very responsible,” said Green. “It became clear we weren’t able to shoot anything for the last episode.” Luckily, a finale aired and the cliffhanger of Amy leaving to California was perfect as it will spill into season 6.
Green and Miller also shared some fun storylines that didn’t make to the series. Miller revealed there was one storyline in season one where Jonah would have been a corporate spy. Many of them involved Sandra’s wedding and her stress while planning it.
“We liked the idea that she would gradually over the course of the season go bald and by the time we got to the wedding she would actually be bald at her own wedding,” Green said as the cast laughed.
“We’re all Hamilton fans in the [writers] room and there was a pitch that Carol… the way that she would sabotage [Sandra’s] wedding would be by showing up and singing ‘Satisfied’,” said Green. “We thought it would be a funny way of giving you the musical episode you always wanted.”
As the panel ended, Ash said, “Our show portrays a lot of essential workers who would be called upon in a situation we’re living in the world right now. We just want to say we are so grateful for all of your work and going out there and helping the rest of us stay safe.”