Hiro Talks 'Heroes' - Masi Oka on Season 3

For Hiro Nakamura, absolutely nothing is cooler than having superpowers! While his fellow Heroes initially struggled with their new found gifts and where they originated from, Hiro immediately embraced his ability to slow down time or jaunt into the past and future.

However, with great power comes great responsibility and on more than one occasion, the former office worker has found himself not only on personal quests of fulfillment but having to save the world. Now as the forces of evil gather in season three of the NBC series, Hiro is once again in the thick of things. Actor Masi Oka recently spend time with the press to discuss the dark side of Heroes and what tomorrow holds for his beloved character.

Newsarama: Are you happy with the scripts you’ve seen for Season 3? What can you tell us about the relationship between Hiro and Daphne, which looks like it could be a big positive.

Masi Oka Yeah, absolutely. I’m very excited. We’re already shooting episode 12 so we’ve gone pretty far. There are a lot of great shocks, twists, and turns. The pacing is overall really fast and a lot more action so it’s been a lot of fun. With Hiro and Daphne, Daphne is kind of the quintessential nemesis for Hiro. As Batman gets his Joker, Hiro gets Daphne. It’s like a joke I use all the time but I see them more like a Wile E. Coyote and a Road Runner scenario except she says more than "beep beep" and not as many Acme gadgets, although you will see Hiro fall on his face a lot.

NRAMA: As Hiro gets more information and experience, is it hard to keep the balance of the happy, naïve, enthusiastic person we met in the beginning with the weight of the experience and the tragedy that he’s had?

Oka: Absolutely. I think that’s an important balance to have and the writers are very conscious of that. What makes Hiro great is his enthusiasm. He’s only discovered his power so it’s a little bit different. One thing we know about Hiro is that he’s always going to be very pure. No matter what it is, he’s going to do what he feels is right in terms of saving the world. His naiveté might have gone away because of all the tragedy he’s experienced, but his purity and sense of morality will always stay the same. That’s something we’ll see and his childlike sensibility. There will always be some sort of wonderment.

NRAMA: Did you believe that the fun side was maybe lost last season for your character?

Oka: I don’t know if it was completely lost. We interjected it where we can. In Feudal Japan, there was a lot more fun to be had with Kensei’s dynamic. When we got back, it was very grave when he found out about his father’s death and when you deal with your father’s death, it’s difficult to make light of that. It’s a comic book style of storytelling so we do want to be able to put in light moments where we can, when appropriate.

NRAMA: In one of the flash forwards this week, we saw Ando killing Hiro. It seems like he obviously doesn’t trust his best friend as much as he did in the past. Do you think they will get back to where they were before? And do you think they’re making all of the Heroes this year a little bit darker than in the past?

Oka: I think so. The writers wanted to introduce a little bit of a different dynamic between Hiro and Ando just to start things off. We will see them back to their original selves, hopefully very soon. Because this is a season called "Villains", or the volume is called "Villains", we wanted to kind of put in seeds of doubt in terms of every relationship we’ve had and shake up the status quo. That’s definitely an intentional part of the writers to put that in.

NRAMA: In the future, we see Hiro being killed by Ando. Is there any chance that Ando is doing the right thing and Hiro is maybe in the wrong?

Oka: I think it’s a little ambiguous. Originally when we shot it got edited down to be a little bit more ambiguous. The way it was written was it was supposed to be Ando actually on the evil side.

NRAMA: What can we expect from round two between Adam and Hiro? Or round three?

Oka: Round three? Well, let’s see. I think the promos that came out and the episode descriptions already gave away that Adam Monroe will be coming back. So we know he’ll be coming back. How? Why? Well, that we don’t know yet but that one I probably can’t spill too much on. But there will be a Hiro/Adam Monroe round three.

NRAMA: The other thing is a lot of the characters have gotten a better handle on their powers as time has gone by. Are we going to see a leap in Hiro’s powers or see him use them in new or unique ways?

Oka: Possibly. The writer’s are definitely very creative about how Hiro uses his power. It’s a very strong power. Theoretically, Hiro could just go back in time and fix everything. It’s very difficult in terms of plot like when Daphne stole the paper. Why doesn’t Hiro go back five minutes earlier and make sure he doesn’t have it? There’s always ways around it unfortunately. We’re kind of at a point where Hiro doesn’t go back in the past because he knows it’s going to destroy the time/space continuum. Something wrong could happen.

In terms of powering up, let’s see. I don’t know how much more Hiro can really power up teleportation and time travel. I think he’s more accurate with his time travel now. That’s something and the teleportation maybe could go even further. It’s just having more control over them. Actually, there might be a couple of things that are different in terms of how he uses his power. Maybe he could do a dimensional warp. 

NRAMA: Will we be seeing any face offs with Sylar again like in the first season?

Oka: I think you will always see a face off. There is going to be a lot of face offs, not just with Sylar but a lot of villains with heroes, a lot of heroes with heroes, and a lot of villains with villains.

NRAMA: Can you talk about any challenges that you’re having this year as an actor? Is there more stunt work for you?

Oka: There’s definitely a lot more stunt work. It’s a lot of fun being put in a harness and just walking in the air. I feel like Mary Poppins. That’s not a pun, but I think the biggest issue is also trying to gage where it’s appropriate in terms of putting in that humor, and that’s where I rely on the directors and writers to say “That’s a little bit too much.” There’s also the level of English that Hiro has mastered because I don’t want him to be completely masterful of it. You want room to grow too.

NRAMA: Awhile back, Tim Kring said he could understand why fans were a bit disappointed with season two and how it all turned out. What have you seen so far that would give season three the same tone and story as season one? And what did you think of season two?

Oka: Well, season three is definitely more fast paced. It’s basically the writers’ answer from the feedback we received from the fans. They wanted faster storytelling, a lot more action, and a lot more of the original characters. I think the writers took those words to heart and delivered something the fans wanted.

My reaction to season two was I thought the writers made a bold choice. There were a lot of expectations. The writers decided to go in a different route than expected by the fans to shake things up and to basically make a bold choice. I don’t think the fans reacted the way the writers hoped for. We make the show for the fans and that’s what is really important. We took that to heart and the back half of season two was back on pace to what we originally intended. What made season one great was a back storytelling and a lot of twists and turns. Season three is going back to what fans wanted. 

NRAMA: In season one, you seemed to have a lot of fun with Hiro’s Blog and that has disappeared. Are you going to bring that back anytime soon?

Oka: That’s actually all on me because the Heroes Blog is something I wrote and then I would pass it on to a producer to just make sure it’s okay. To be honest, I’ll take the blame for that one because I dropped the ball in terms about doing Hiro’s Blog in this season. Last season, it didn’t make sense because he was 400 years before in time.

NRAMA: Yeah, we let you get away with that one.

Oka: You know what? I mean, I talked to the NBC.com folks because I am actually interested in doing it again. If we can make it work, I’ll find a way to start writing again because it was actually really fun.

Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time as I had in Season One so it’s just a matter of balancing time. I don’t want to farm it off to other people to write it for me and just put my name on it because I know a lot of other character blogs are done that way.

NRAMA: You were a comic book and sci-fi fan before you were cast on the show. What have you enjoyed about the online comics, graphic novels, and having your image drawn by legendary comic artists like Alex Ross, Tim Sale, and Michael Turner?

Oka: Oh my God! It’s such an honor. The online comics on NBC.com are absolutely brilliant because even when we had the writers’ strike, they had original content every week. It’s a great way to give the fans a continuity and some back story to a lot of the things that we don’t get to see on the air. It’s a great way of filling in the gaps. That’s where a lot of the fans’ imagination can grow. That’s a great thing to see in the comics and I love seeing it. And just to be drawn by these folks, it’s such an honor. I got excited when I had a caricature drawn of me at a bar mitzvah. Now to have these amazing legendary artists draw you… who would have thought it? As a comic book reader, it’s something that you’re very proud, happy, and grateful of. At the same time, you have these action figures and now bobble heads. What more can a guy ask for? Maybe underoos.

NRAMA: Have you read the book about Charlie and Hiro called Saving Charlie?

Oka: Yeah, I thought it was great. It was a great way to fill in that story. I learned a lot about my character through that. You know, Hiro actually gets pretty randy in that one. Ultimately, if there is an end for Hiro, my poetic ending for him would be to live in an infinite time loop, living his life, and living his time with Charlie over and over and over again. There’s definitely something sweet about that love story. I think it’s very hard for you to top that.

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