The cast of the CW’s upcoming Nancy Drew hit the stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday (July 18) right after a sneak preview of the pilot — and if the completely packed ballroom wasn’t a hint that this show is going to be one to watch, the cheers as the episode faded to black were enough to have anyone convinced.
Without spoiling too much, the pilot introduces Nancy (Kennedy McMann) and the four Horseshoe Bay locals who will be in her orbit: Nick (Tunji Kasim), George (Leah Lewis), Bess (Maddison Jaizani), and Ace (Alex Saxon). When a woman is mysteriously murdered outside of the diner where Nancy, George, Bess, and Ace work, they all become suspects, and since Nancy can’t ignore her sleuthing senses, she sets out to figure out just what happened. But the case may not be so cut and dry — it seems supernatural forces could be at play.
After the screening, McMann, Kasim, Lewis, Jaizani, and Saxon took the stage alongside executive producer Stephanie Savage, showrunner Melinda Hsu-Taylor, and writer/EP Noga Landau to talk about what we can expect from the anticipated series when everything from morning booty calls to innocent home invasions and criminal pasts to actual ghosts are fair game.
“Nancy Drew isn’t perfect in the year 2019,” Landau said. “She was always prim and she did everything right in the early books, but now she’s complicated, you know? She has tragedy, she’s lost things. She has complicated relationships with her family and her friends.”
Hsu-Taylor added that the updated character, who was first introduced to audiences in 1930, now “makes a lot of mistakes.” She’s also not going to be solving mysteries solo anymore. The show is “very much an ensemble,” and it’s already clear that every major player is hiding their own game-changing secret — which each actor couldn’t help but tease.
Saxon played up Ace’s outsider status, while Lewis commended the softer side hiding behind George’s tough exterior and Kasim noted the skeletons inside Nick’s seriously dark closet. As for the titular character, “Nancy doesn’t have any secrets,” McMann said, sparking laughter from the rest of the panel.
The murder-mystery will be a surprise for all — devoted fans of the books included. Savage promised that no singular book will be presented over the course of the season, and rather the story will pull Easter eggs and story bits from all of their favorite novels.
Later, the cast joined MTV News correspondent Josh Horowitz to divulge more about the show, where they compared the vibe to a combination of Scooby-Doo, Twin Peaks, and a dash of Veronica Mars. But with the show scheduled to air immediately following Riverdale, he had to ask: Will the shows make good companions?
“It’s cool that we have this small-town group of friends doing things together, juicy romance and mystery, and all that,” McMann said. “But I think that we have a lightheartedness. We have a real snarky humor, and these are characters that are older. There’s no high school drama. These are all characters that are 18 to like, 22.”
Lewis added that they’re “much different characters,” once again teasing that “all of them have their own specific mysteries.”
Having seen the pilot, I'd be willing to guess that although the shows are different, Riverdale fans are going to want to stick around after Archie and the gang sign off for the night.
For more from the cast of Nancy Drew, check out the video above. The series premieres October 9 on the CW.