Everyone’s favorite serial killer killer paid San Diego’s Comic Con a visit on the virtual event’s final day. Moderated by Kristin Dos Santos, Showtime’s Dexter: New Blood panel included original showrunner and executive producer Clyde Phillips (Blindsided: A Mystery, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), executive producer Scott Reynolds (E-Ring, UTF), director Marcos Siega (Chaos Theory, Pretty Persuasion), new cast member Julia Jones (Westworld, Longmire) and, Dexter Morgan himself, Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Safe). Within the full forty-five minute panel, the group discussed where the original series left off; where the revival picks up; and, what viewers can expect as Dexter’s story comes to an end. You can check out the entire panel discussion below.
Dos Santos began the panel discussing how the revival came to fruition and why this moment in time was right for the character’s return. Hall opined on how the idea of a return to Dexter’s world was always present.
“Because of the way the show ended, it’s been a possibility, up in the air, for quite some time,” Hall explained. He described how it never felt like the right time for certain narratives. But in regards to this storyline, Hall felt enough time had passed for it to be crafted. He also sighted collaborating with Phillips and Siega again as being a huge motivator for him to “take the leap of faith” with this character again.
Phillips mentioned how once a year he would read an interview where Hall was asked if he’d ever return for another season of the show. With Hall’s answer never being no, Phillips would reach out with different scenarios on what a new season would look like. But, they could never get the “right take on it that would satisfy Michael and, we think, satisfy the fans,” Phillips explained.
“Finally, I got a call – July 1, 2019 – from Gary Lavine who is the president of Showtime saying ‘We think now is the time, can you come up with something’,” Phillips stated. He and his writing assistant drafted their ideas, presented it to Hall, and they decided to proceed on what is now the official Dexter revival limited series.
— Dexter on Showtime (@SHO_Dexter) October 14, 2020
Dos Santos then proceeded to remind viewers where the season eight finale left the beloved character. Reynolds ran through the gambit of situations that plagued Dexter in the final episode: Prepared to run off with Hannah, Dexter aimed to settle a score with a vaolatile serial killer. In this attempt, his sister Deb Morgan, was shot and killed. At the same time, a hurricane was brewing to strike the Miami coast. Once the storm subsided, the Floridian was somewhere isolated in Oregon surrounded by the sound of chainsaws.
Reynolds described how this particular use of the chainsaw beckoned to Dexter’s own traumatic past with the murder of his mother. It was also a hint to the real-life legend of serial killers that have come to plague the stretch of land from southern California to the Canadian border. The finale seemed to question whether Dexter arrived to this area to be amongst fellow killers, or a method to force his hands from ever killing again.
This question propelled the conversation to the present-day Dexter, who by evidence from the latest teaser trailer, is living in a close-knit community in upstate New York. After playing both of the teaser trailers, Dos Santos played a game of “hot and cold” to see if she could verify a few spoiler-free facts about the new season. The panelists were able to confirm Dexter is living by a new alias, Jim Lindsay, in the fictional town of Ironlake. He appears to be the manager of a hunting gear shop and is in a romantic relationship with the new chief of police, Angela, who is played by Jones.
On his new identity and surroundings, Phillips stated Dexter’s new name is an ode to author, Jeff Lindsay (Darkly Dreaming Dexter), who penned the book series on which the show is based. As far as the setting, placing Dexter in this small town was a way to place the character in another world away from Miami.
Hall described it as Dexter “exercising the power of restraint.” Given he is in a town where everybody knows everybody, he isn’t able to exorcise his demons as he used to, which could be seen as a “self exile” or “penance” for the lives lost by the choices he made in the past. Hall described Dexter’s suffering came “not because he’s a serial killer, but because he indulges in real life.”
“He can’t have his cake and eat it too,” Hall stated on how Dexter’s belief he could straddle the fence between normalcy and his inner blood thirst is what caused the most chaos in his life.
Other gems from the conversation included possible casting of original series characters and the production methods the cast and crew endured. Phillips confirmed the return of some original cast members “that will make some people’s head explode.” It was previously announced that both Jennifer Carpenter and John Lithgow would be reprising their roles as Dexter’s sister Deb and the Trinity Killer, respectively.
The panelist also described how the crew – under COVID protocols and extreme weather conditions – filmed many of the episodes simultaneously. Phillips stated they were tested daily and had on-set COVID monitors who would alarm any crew members if they were standing too close. They also operated within zones, with the actors all under “Zone A” given they had to have the most time spent interacting with another person unmasked.
“[It] impacted the scripts only slightly,” Phillips told Dos Santos. He described how it mostly only impacted a few crowd scenes to be rewritten. He stated the team was “relatively un-impacted because we’ve been so careful.”
Siega, who directed six of the ten episodes, described how they had to shoot most of the exterior scenes in early January and March to capture the real winter elements. At times the windchill would descend the temperature from a nice 19 degrees to 9 in the middle the day. Then by July, the team was given the task to record the interior scenes making sure to pay close attention to scene continuity.
The panel ended with the exclusive release of a new teaser trailer, showcasing more of Dexter’s new life as Jim, the town he has chosen to inhabit, and the temptation that he can never quite escape. Via the series official Twitter account, Dexter: New Blood will premiere Sunday, November 7 at 8 p.m. ET only on Showtime. Check out the trailer below.
— Dexter on Showtime (@SHO_Dexter) July 25, 2021