BY BRIAN DE LOS SANTOS
Lately, Mr. Robot executive producer Sam Esmail has refused to be confined in small spaces with his cast, or so says Carly Chaikin, a star of USA's ground-breaking tech drama. And that's because the show's stars, just like its fans, are desperately trying to figure out what's coming next on Mr. Robot's sophomore season.
"Sam gets scared when he's in close quarters with us," Chaikin said. "Literally the entire car ride here, I was trying to predict Season 2."
Fans got a few answers at New York Comic Con on Friday, where Rami Malek, Christian Slater and company answered questions from both the audience and the panel's moderator, Andy Greenwald of Grantland. The show's loyal devotees in attendance have been searching for answers during much of Mr. Robot's short, yet widely acclaimed shelf life.
The USA hit has defined itself as a tech-savvy thriller filled with turbulent plot twists that keep its audience guessing. That's part of the reason most of the conversation Friday was geared to get Esmail to unveil any detail concerning Mr. Robot's second season.
But the show's creator showed everyone just how coy he's been when talking about what's next — just like he's been with Chaikin and his cast.
"When I tell them I don't want to talk about Season 2, they interpret that as I do want to talk about Season 2," Esmail said, with a chuckle.
"Maybe someone should try and hack his computer," Slater quipped.
On top of the numerous questions deflected by Esmail, the cast had a lot to say about the past, present and future of Mr. Robot, some of which we've listed below:
You were supposed to see that big turn coming
If you go back and watch the first season of Mr. Robot, the signs of Elliot's drug-distorted reality become easy to pick out. And that's exactly what Esmail wanted. Rather than turning the show into a Fight Club copycat, in which the reveal of Mr. Robot's identity is presented as the main premise of the first season, Esmail wanted the audience to preemptively arrive at the twist to empathize with Elliot as he discovers it. "We actually telegraphed that one intentionally," Esmail said. "In that moment, while Elliot was going through that realization, I didn't want it to feel like a gotcha moment. I wanted the audience to be caught up with Elliot, and his sort of emotional awakening in that moment."
Rami Malek is nothing like Elliot Alderson IRL
Malek is apparently quite the jokester off the set, a stark contrast from the isolated and shy protagonist he portrays on the show. Malek told an anecdote in which the day before he and Chaikin shot the pivotal scene, where Chaikin's character Darlene is revealed to be Elliot's sister, he filled the entirety of her trailer with what he presumed would be Darlene's favorite candy — gummy bears. "It was a heavy scene and I wanted her to be comfortable, and I'd never shot anything like it before," Malek said. "I'm a cartoon character."
Get ready for a 'dark' Season 2
Attendees did get one tease for the upcoming season. Greenwald asked Esmail to give fans one detail about Season 2 as the panel closed, and he responded with pretty straightforward answer.
"It gets really fucking dark," Esmail said. "Really fucking dark."
Earlier in the panel, Malek told the audience that Esmail had primed him to be "ready" to shoot a season full of challenges. The second act of Esmail's feature-script-turned-TV-show is expected to shift the focus off of FSociety and onto Elliot's troubled past.
"He came up to me and said it's going to be tough," Malek said. "And I was like whoa, he never said that to me last season."
Esmail quickly jumped in.
"Yeah, it will be," Esmail said.
"I'm scared," Malek responded.
What does Malek want to see in Season 2?
"I would like to eat something in the show and change my clothes," Malek said. "And I definitely want a Shayla flashback or two."