'The Following' at Comic-Con 2014: What to expect in Season 3

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the-following-comic-con-panel-2014.jpg "The Following" Season 2 could have ended quite differently.

Two different endings of Season 2 were shot so the cast and crew weren't spoiled, and no one knew which one was the one that would air. The audience at Comic-Con 2014 got to see the different, never-before-seen alternate ending, which actually ended with Mark sharp-shooting Joe before he can get taken off to jail. The final scene? Ryan holding Joe's hands as he takes his last breath, and his last word was, "Ryan." 

After watching that intense, alternate ending, the cast and showrunners took to the stage for a Q&A about Season 3. Here's all the highlights from the panel:

-- Executive producer Kevin Williamson says we don't know if Joe will even be in Season 3, if he's still alive, if he's dead or anything. "It's all a mystery," Williamson says.  

-- How will Ryan be coping with a new lease on life? "Next season I will truly be in a better place in my life," Kevin Bacon says. "We're going to jump ahead and we're going to see someone who is truly at peace with who he is. Then, once you have a nice, smooth lake you have the opportunity to drop in a big rock."

-- So what kind of bigger rock can we expect? "We're making good on that promise that Ryan made to Joe that he was going to make happier memories and he does," new executive producer Jennifer Johnson says. "Ryan finds love and he starts in an incredibly happy place. And then we're going to challenge that, episode after episode after episode. That's going to be his challenge, can he hold onto that happiness that he has found. We're going to throw a bigger, more complicated villain at him. We're going to turn the title on its head. We're bringing it back to the psychological mystery."

-- What's coming next for Mike and Max? "It's safe to say we do jump ahead a year," Shawn Ashmore says. "There's this ray of light in Mike's life, but these two won't have an easy relationship. Not to mention I have murdered people in front of Max's eyes in cold blood. Lily deserved it, but still. I think it's going to be potentially difficult for these two to make it work."

-- Everything won't be perfect for MIke and Max's relationship. "We're going to see them away from each other for four months for a reason we'll see in the first episode," Johnson says. "But they're dealing with young love."

-- So where will Ryan be professionally when Season 3 begins? "When Season 3 picks up one year later, Ryan Hardy will have been looking at every case out there to make sure they're not Joe Carroll-related or Joe Carroll follower-related," Johnson reveals. "Mike will be working alongside Ryan. In the first episode, a brand new threat will hit New York and the entire city will go on lockdown. Mike will go to Mendez and ask to form a task force to address this new threat."

-- Where is Mark when the series returns? "In the most unexpected place," Johnson says. "Keep your eyes peeled in the first half of the premiere. He's hiding in plain sight." Luke's death will definitely affect Mark in deep ways, Sam Underwood teases.

-- Bacon revealed quite a bit about his new love interest, though we don't know who will play her. "What we know is that they're happy together," Bacon says. "She is a doctor and we're living together. She has a daughter. So I'm actually trying to experience some domesticity. Along with this inner struggle to pull myself together I'm also taking on a pretty giant adjustment being a dad."

-- Williamson finally reveals a (kind of) answer to the big Season 2 finale cliffhanger: Who's driving the car that picked up Mark and the dead body of Luke? "It's a character we have not met yet," Williamson says.

"The Following" Season 3 premieres in 2015.
Photo/Video credit: FOX