Has a television show ever soared so high, only to fall so hard? NBC superhero drama HEROES had a phenomenal first season (spoiled by a fudged finale people disliked), before a creatively disastrous second season alienated the mainstream. Only die-hard fans kept watching its prolonged death throes, before the life-support machine was turned off after season 4. But someone at NBC remembers when Heroes was The Biggest Show on the Planet... so it's coming back next year as thirteen-episode miniseries HEROES: REBORN. But which of the original, leading actors should return?
The only confirmed actor returning in Heroes: Reborn right now is Jack Coleman, reprising his role as Mr Bennett. Ali Larter (who played Niki Sanders) recently spoke about the unlikelihood of her returning to the show because she's committed to Legends, and wants to keep Heroes a fond memory. Zachary Quinto (who played brain-harvesting villain Sylar) confirmed that creator Tim Kring has kept a door open for him, but also wants to ensure his career has forward momentum.
So who does that leave us with?
Hayden Panettiere as cute, invulnerable cheerleader Claire Bennett.
Chances of her returning? Very low. I can't see this young actress agreeing to go back to Heroes, for roughly the same reasons Larter gave the press. It's in the past and she's attached to Nashville now.
That said, given the fact her screen father Mr Bennett is definitely back... wouldn't it be fitting? Or will we simply have to make do with a throwaway line about Claire graduating from college and now living somewhere hundreds of miles away? Panettiere did mention in April that she hasn't been contacted about a Heroes return.
Greg Grunberg as rotund, mind-reading cop Matt Parkman.
Chances of him returning? Before a recurring role in Masters of Sex, Grunberg was in Big Ass Spider!, so I think the chances are fairly good.
Even childhood buddy J.J Abrams doesn't seem to cast him in much nowadays (he was once something of a "talisman" for the writer-director, appearing in most of his TV/film projects), so I bet he's speed-dialling Kring between scenes with Michael Sheen.
Masi Oka as teleporting, time-travelling, Japanese man-child Hiro Nakamura.
Chances of him returning? Hiro was the show's mascot and most adorable character, although he became intensely irritating by season 3. Oh, and his powers also posed a tangle of logic problems for every single storyline.
Still, the only barrier would appear to be his commitments to CBS's Hawaii Five-0 remake he's a regular on. Umm, which films in the actual Hawaii most of the year. Yeah, maybe a token scene with Hiro on a webcam?
Milo Ventimiglia as handsome super-mimic Peter Petrelli.
Chances of him returning? Zero. Ventimiglia hasn't exactly set the world alight since Heroes went off-air, with his most notable projects being Grown Ups 2 and the short-lived Mob City cable drama. But he's a lead in current web-series Chosen (ummm okay), and has a regular role on upcoming ABC sci-fi drama The Whispers.
I doubt he can wriggle out of the latter, and actually tweeted to say he definitely won't be back.
Adrian Pasdar as flying politician Nathan Petrelli.
Chances of him returning? Below zero. SPOILERS: Nathan died in season 4. Didn't you watch Heroes that far? I don't blame you. I guess flashbacks are possible, but I strongly doubt we'll see Mr Petrelli again.
Sendhil Ramamurthy as tedious geneticist Mohinder Suresh.
Chances of him returning? Who else can give prophetic, pretentious voice-overs better than Mr. Ramamurthy? He was the show's go-to guy!
Alas, Mohinder was also one of the worst characters ever committed to film, so I really hope they don't bring him back. He has a role in The CW's atrocious Beauty and the Beast, so let's hope that keeps him too busy to reappear.
There were other characters who became significant players of the four seasons, but I'm not sure anyone cares if they return or not. The actors above were always the linchpins, so Kring would undoubtedly be targeting them for comebacks.
I can envisage Grunberg returning, perhaps with cameos from a few others, but not Panettiere or Larter. The fact Kring's secured Jack Coleman fits with the idea a new group of "supers" will be the stars of the miniseries, as he's always been the show's version of Professor X.