Dominic Monaghan was the not-so-surprise guest at the FlashForward panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego, confirming a rumor that had been circulating ever since he showed up in a commercial on ABC.
Producers David Goyer and Marc Guggenheim had avoided a question from a fan earlier in the panel about Monaghan's rumored role in FlashForward, but they eventually unveiled the star as the actor who will play the character of Simon in the show.
FlashForward, which starts Sept. 24 on ABC, is based on the idea that everyone on earth experiences a black-out at the same time, during which they see what will happen to them six months in the future.
"If you knew six months from now that you were going to be with a different person, would you try to seek that person out? Or if you knew you were going to be dead, or if you knew you'd have a different job, what would you do differently?" Goyer said.
While the through-story in the series has an investigative element that focuses on main cast members, there are an infinite number of other stories to be told because the "vision of the future" phenomenon affected everyone on Earth.
"That's 6.8 billion potential stories to tell," added producer Brannan Braga. "We just saw great potential. Not just for stories with our core characters, but a show that could go all over the world."
Each episode will feature at least one not-seen-before flash forward, Guggenheim explained. "We'll never show you a flash forward that didn't happen," he said.
Presumably, Monaghan will be one of those additional flash forwards, as the show runners confirmed his character will not show up until the second episode. But if the positive fan response to his introduction at the panel is any indication, he'll be sticking around for awhile.
Monaghan packs some geek cred with the audience at Comic-Con, not only because of his recent appearance in X-Men: Wolverine Origins, but his years playing the now-deceased character Charlie in the ABC show Lost.
However, Goyer made it clear that while FlashForward may also be a character-based, serialized show with sci-fi elements, it isn't exactly like Lost.
"Nothing is ever going to be the new Lost. I love Lost. I've seen every single episode," he said, although he admitted he first took the show to ABC because the network was the home of Lost. "I said, 'if they were courageous enough to put that on the air, then they'll be courageous enough to put this on the air.'"
Goyer said that in a "post-Lost world," ABC was more understanding of the vision behind FlashForward, although it was important to the network that there be a specific plan in place for it future seasons.
"They also said, in a post-Lost world, this is a unique idea, but do you have any idea where it goes?" Goyer said.
The show's producers emphasized that they do know where it all goes, and in fact, by the end of the first season, the characters will get to the point in time that was seen in their flash forward.
"The claim that we're staking is that by the end of the first season, we catch up to those six months," Goyer said.
The "flash forward" date seen in characters' visions will be April 29th, and the show will actually have an air date that corresponds to that day.
Goyer said that the day in the show that will be April 29 will most likely fall sometime in late April, so it may line up, although it will take more than one episode to tell the story of that date.
"Then the final episode will probably show what happens on April 30th"
because there is an aftermath story, Goyer said, adding that there is a plan that will take the show past their flash forward.
But also like Lost, FlashForward will be a finite series, the show's runners said. When asked how many years it was going to take to tell the complete story in FlashForward, Goyer said the show's length will depend on how successful its first season is.
"In order for us to really tell the story, we need as little as three [years] and it can accordian outward," he said, indicating that the flash forwards of other characters could be added to the middle of the story.
After the audience was shown footage from the pilot, the cast was introduced, including Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Courtney B. Vance and Christine Woods.
The footage focused on Fiennes' character, an FBI agent whose vision of the future includes an investigator's bulletin board, complete with pieces of paper and pictures and other clues.
"Every little micro-flash you saw in Joe's flash forward are stories that have been planned out," Goyer said.
One of those flashes showed a paper with the name "D. Gibbons," which Goyer confirmed was a nod to Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons. Goyer is well-known at Comic-Con not only for his co-writing credit on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but also for his years as a comic book writer. Guggenheim is also immersed in the world of comics as he currently writes Amazing Spider-Man for Marvel and Resurrection for Oni Press.