NBC believes in recycling: Paper products, bottles and cans and television shows. Sometimes, that works to their advantage — see, for example, the critical favorite “Hannibal.” But at this point, it’s hard to be optimistic about the network’s recently announced plans for a 2015 reboot of the superhero drama “Heroes,” which made a big splash when it first premiered in 2006, then fizzled out into obscurity. (“Heroes” technically ran for four seasons — did you even remember that there were three?)
There is one bit of good news, though: Jack Coleman, who played the morally ambiguous but ultimately redeemed Noah Bennet (better known by his nickname of Horn Rimmed Glasses), will be returning for “Heroes Reborn.” Which, I suppose, means that “Heroes Reborn” is actually happening.
Since “Heroes,” Coleman has been an erstwhile guest star on shows like “The Office,” “Castle,” “Scandal” and “Burn Notice,” and it’ll be nice to see him land a slightly steadier gig; plus, HRG was easily one of the show’s more interesting characters. So, if there must be a “Heroes” reboot, who else from the original cast do we hope returns? And more importantly, who do we hope is too busy to come by? Our answers are below — limited largely to characters who, by the end of the original series, were still officially alive.
Minor spoilers for Seasons 1-4 follow, but our analysis focuses on the first two years of the show — because if “Heroes Reborn” is going to succeed, then it needs to recapture the magic of its initial premiere.
Hiro (Masi Oka)
Wait, Who Was He? The Japanese pencil-pusher who suddenly finds himself with the ability to move through space and time. Traveled around a lot with his best friend Ando (James Kyson). Eventually, got a really cool samurai sword.
Should He Come Back? Yes. Once you got past the basic fact that his name was literally HERO, the character’s nerdy glee in discovering his superpowers (“YATTA!!!!!”) and Oka’s charms as a performer made him one of the more memorable characters of the series. (Kyson was also a lot of fun — it’d be a shame if only one of them made it back.)
Likelihood? Oka currently has a steady gig playing doctor on “Hawaii 5-0,” but if he could handle the commute between Oahu and Los Angeles, there’s always a chance.
Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia)
Wait, Who Was He? The floppy-haired young man with the ability to soak up the powers of others.
Should He Come Back? Yes, though hopefully with more of a purpose beyond complaining about not being able to control his powers. Also, it was cool when we saw him in an alternate future and he had a big scar across his face. He should have a scar this time.
Likelihood? Beyond some supporting work in film, Ventimiglia’s most high-profile project right now is the Crackle digital series “Chosen.” He could probably make the time.
Sylar (Zachary Quinto)
Wait, Who Was He? The creepy main villain of Season 1, who had the ability to absorb the powers of others via a little brain surgery, became the show’s breakout character (largely due to Quinto’s strong performance and eyebrows) and a more complicated player as the show continued.
Should He Come Back? Sure. By the end of Season 4, Sylar was identifying himself as a hero; if he came back, he’d be an intriguing anchor for the action.
Likelihood? Low, low, low. Quinto currently has a serious career on both stage and screen, including “American Horror Story” and no shortage of indie work — also, he’s the new Spock in “Star Trek.” He’s a bit busy right now.
Claude Rains (Christopher Eccleston)
Wait, Who Was He? With the power to turn invisible, Claude was first an agent working for Primatech Paper. After being betrayed by the organization, he went underground, emerging reluctantly to serve as a mentor for Peter Petrelli while the latter struggled to get control over his powers.
Should He Come Back? Yes, in a perfect world. “Heroes” was already starting to flounder during its first season, but Eccleston’s brief run of episodes re-energized the show, most importantly jump-starting Peter’s arc and easing the transition to his big hero moment in the season finale. Claude helped get Peter back on track, by the way, by repeatedly punching him in the face. It was great.
Likelihood? Low. Not just because Eccleston is currently starring in HBO’s “The Leftovers” — more because Eccleston’s Invisible Man faded away (for lack of a better term) after only a few memorable appearances in the first season.
Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere)
Wait, Who Was She? The cheerleader, whom if saved, would also save the world. (You might remember there being a commercial or two featuring that tagline.)
Should She Come Back? No. While the character was at times the emotional heart of the show, there’s only so much that can be done with a girl who can never die.
Likelihood? Panettiere now lives in “Nashville” on ABC — the odds of her making even a cameo appearance on a rival network’s show feel very, very unlikely.
Niki/Jessica/Barbara (Ali Larter)
Wait, Who Was She? Niki was the Internet stripper with a heart of gold but also super-strength, a cute but annoying son, secret identical sisters and a murderous split personality.
Should She Come Back? Niki? No. Please. No. Niki never really gelled as a character (or as characters), and was largely ineffective/annoying/offensive to women and strippers alike. Technically, Niki was written off, and there were other sister characters introduced with superpowers — however, the specter of Niki is ever present.
Likelihood? Larter’s last major project was “Resident Evil: Afterlife.” She’s certainly not busy.
Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy)
Wait, Who Was He? The geneticist who goes searching for answers about superpowers, then eventually gets superpowers himself.
Should He Come Back? No. If only because Mohinder’s storyline became so complicated that to try and encapsulate it for returning fans and/or newcomers to the show would require its own set of superpowers.
Likelihood? Mohinder was, at the end of the day, a key player on the show.
And Ramamurthy, who was on the CW’s “Beauty and the Beast” attempt, is now technically available following that show’s cancelation. [UPDATE: That was an error — “Beauty and the Beast” was renewed through 2015.] So, it wouldn’t be a huge shock. But is there anyone who’s genuinely hoping to see him again?