'Homeland': Brody will be back in Season 3, but when?

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"Homeland" Season 3 got a big tease during Showtime's July 29 TCA panel. Stars Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Rupert Friend and showruners Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon were on hand to discuss the upcoming season based on the first two episodes that were screened for press. Warning: Season 3 spoilers are included in this article.

The panel opened with a sizzle reel showing mostly scenes from the first two episodes as well as some clips of Brody on the run. At one point he is shown suffering from a gunshot wround, and in others he was a part of what seemed to be a rebel terrorist group. Based on the footage that was shown, Brody seems to have a completely different journey from Carrie in Season 3. She is thrown under the bus by Saul and the CIA in the backlash of the attack on Langley at the end of Season 2.

The cast is currently filming Season 3 episode 6, and Danes teases that Carrie is only now just being incorporated back with the rest of the CIA cast. Danes says she has been "feeling a bit lonely as Claire the actor" as Carrie remains in isolation, but this storyline offers a chance to see how her character tries to find the balance between being on her medication and being the best intelligence officer she can be.

"Carrie is always sitting on her own personal ticking bomb," Danes says. "It's just an impossible dilemma because she's not great on the meds and she's even worse off them, but there's a really great sweet spot."

Gansa won't say when Brody will be back in "Homeland" other than the fact that he won't be in the first two episodes, but at least fans can rest assured that he is coming back. Both Gansa and Gordon admit that there was a time when they discussed whether or not they should continue telling the story of the rest of the Brody family considering Nick is still on the lam, and the unanimous decision between them and the writers was they should continue showing Jess, Dana and Chris' lives.

Without giving too much away, Dana comes to the center of the first two "Homeland" Season 3 episodes. At one point she finds Brody's prayer rug, and her response is to lay it out and kneel in a prayer position.

"One of the things that we tried to do with the story for all of this is show an event that can be interpreted in a number of ways," Gansa says of a scene where Dana is seen kneeling on the rug. "What is Dana doing on that prayer rug? ... All those [possible explanations] are completely acceptable explanations, but the truth is the power of the image transcends."

As for Brody, Lewis says he disappeared into a tunnel system set up by Carrie that puts him on a solo journey for much -- if not all -- of the season. "He's the most wanted criminal in the world at this point, so he has to lay low. I think when you do see Brody, hopefully which will be of interest to the audience is what state is he in," Lewis says. "I hope that when you do see Brody for the first time, it will be interesting."

There's been some speculation that Brody might have actually had a role in Season 2's CIA bombing, and Gansa says that's a stance his wife staunchly holds. "I tell her he's not. She disagrees," he says, acknowledging there could be some truth to that theory.

Gansa hopes there isn't any backlash to Brody not appearing in the first two episodes of Season 3. He says the decision was strictly a function of the story and where it was taking the audience, and that "Brody's flight from America just made it impossible to include that storyline in the first couple of episodes."

Two of the big themes that Season 3 will explore are the cost that being a CIA member exacts on people and what happens when the existence of the CIA is called into question. Both of those questions fall on Mandy Patinkin's Saul, who some might argue acts out of character in Season 3. But Gansa says that the reason why Saul is acting differently than he has in the past is because he's placed in an entirely unfamiliar situation as the new director of the CIA.

"Saul has to make decisions he's not comfortable making," Gansa says. "I think he's actually fearful that he might be the last director of the CIA."

"Homeland" has stretched itself out from a relatively one-season premise to a three-season-long arc. So how much longer can the series keep going? "As long as you'll have us," Gansa says. Green adds, "As long as there's a story to tell."

And though the main cast has survived thus far, the producers aren't ruling out a "Game of Thrones"-style killing spree this season. "Sure," Gansa says in response to a question asking whether any of the main characters will die in Season 3.

"Homeland" Season 3 premieres on Showtime on Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. ET.

Photo/Video credit: Showtime