Ghosts makes SDCC debut – Panel Recap

This year Ghosts made its San Diego Comic Con debut. Not only did it have an interactive offsite event, but the show brought the cast and creatives together to discuss season 1 and look ahead at season 2.

Executive producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman joined stars Rose McIver (Sam), Utkarsh Ambudkar (Jay), Brandon Scott Jones (Isaac), Richie Moriarty (Pete), Asher Grodman (Trevor), Rebecca Wisocky (Hetty), Sheila Carrasco (Flower), Danielle Pinnock (Alberta), Roman Zaragoza (Sasappis) and Devon Chandler Long (Thorfinn) for the panel which was moderated by Matt Walsh who guests starred on the show as Hetty’s husband.

Walsh kicked things off by acknowledging that the series was adapted from the British show of the same name and asked why Port and Wiseman wanted to remake it. Port said because “there was a reason to adapt”. He loved the idea that they could teach people about American history through these characters whilst they also enjoyed the comedy. Wiseman immediately recognized the success and quality of the original and said that within 5 minutes of watching it he was sold. He loved the tone and spirit of the British version so really wanted to maintain that for the American version.

The actors then discussed how they got involved with the show and their audition process. Grodman was the first person to audition and found out that although casting directors thought he did a great job; they didn’t believe he would get it as he was first. Obviously everything worked out for him in the end. Despite it also working out for Jones, he revealed that he ate a lot of Taco Bell after his audition because he thought he had messed it up. Long spoke about the discomfort he felt in his audition. Stating that he is a big guy and that the room was very small, he said that he felt like he was “giving a lap dance”. Moriarty ended up auditioning against a comedic hero of his which made landing the role an even bigger victory. Carrasco decided to really channel her character and just pretended that she had no idea what was going on. Pinnock took it a step further and ended up dressing as she thought the character would – buying a fur from Amazon and wearing a hat. She was asked not to wear the hat in her second audition and highlighted the irony that her character now wears a hat on the show. Ambudkar got involved with the show because of McIver – the two being long time friends and her knowing it should be him sealed the deal.

McIver, a Comic Con veteran thanks to series iZombie, was consistently praised by the panellists as a great leader and a complete professional. They all complimented her ability to deal with her unique shooting schedule being the only one that can communicate with the ghosts and the living. She spoke about the technical challenges the show had and how quick paced it was, lauding the crew in helping her performance. Ambudkar summed up her role by saying “Rose is the Michael Jordan of the team”. He also spoke of his admiration for Moriarty, revealing that he saw him in a performance of Hello Dolly and that inspired him to try acting.

Throughout the panel, Ambudkar showed that he is a big fan of his fellow cast, the show and SDCC as a whole. He said that even if he wasn’t there for the panel he would be in San Diego anyway as he loves all things Comic Con and attends every year. He even brought out his children who were cosplaying as Trevor and Flower. Further discussing the fondness, they all have for each other, Zaragoza said that being on the show genuinely didn’t feel like work as they all love each other. More proof of the cast camaraderie was shown when attendees were treated to a never before seen gag reel from season 1. They spoke about how Grodman was the one that broke and laughed the most but that once Pinnock started laughing she would be in a tears and would need a long time to reset.

Walsh next asked about their favourite episodes. Wiseman highlighted the DnD episode as it is a huge part of his real life. His family got into it during the pandemic so being able to celebrate it on the show was really special to him. Zaragoza also loved the DnD episode as he is a big fan and plays regularly. His DnD character is based on Stitch (from Lilo & Stitch) and his friends were really excited for him to be involved in the storyline on the show. Zaragoza also spoke about how the episode where they delve into his character’s Lenape background as a standout. They cast his real-life dad to play his dad, and he really appreciated that there was a Lenape consultant in the writers’ room so that the depiction would be accurate. Grodman chose the Trevor-centric episode as his favorite due to it being a good commentary about how we treat each other and said that “being pantsless is an honour”. He revealed that it was even more impactful because it was based on Port’s father outlawing hazing at a fraternity. McIver stated that the prom episode was her favourite as the balloons and decorations really made everyone feel the magic.

Magic is a good way to describe the season as a whole. An adaptation is never easy to do and yet they’ve not only succeeded in paying homage to the original but also created their own new unique series. This was evident when a highlight reel of season 1 was shown. Zaragoza reflected that the show had so much heart and Wisocky said that the show is great because the characters can experience really important things like feminism in a childlike idiotic way which is fun to play but also to watch. Walsh even revealed that the legendary Mark Hamill is a fan of the show.

So what’s next after the success of season 1? Fans got to see a very small video promo of season 2. The producers revealed that we would get to see Alberta singing in a jazz club, there would be a story involving a tree as old as Sasappis, a connection with a ghost that lives at the Farnsby house, and of course more backstory for everyone. Port said that season 1 had a very natural destination which was opening the B&B. Now that it’s open season 2 will focus on the struggles that the young couple face in maintaining their own business. Struggles which are exacerbated by the presence of the ghosts. Wiseman joked that he wanted to show Flower’s death in season 2 but there weren’t “adequately trained” bears and wondered if he could get the bear from The Revenant. The cast then discussed who they would like to see guest star on season 2. Pinnock wants Lizzo to play her great great great granddaughter and Wisocky would love the cast of the UK version to bring it full circle.

As the panel drew to a close, Walsh asked them to sum up their SDCC experience. Jones said it best – “A great time with great people hosted by a great man”.

Ghosts season 2 premieres on 29thSeptember on CBS.

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