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Comic-Con '08: Will Shirley Manson Survive 'Terminator'?

Josh Wirth may have jumped the gun today when he revealed that a major character on Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will die this coming season. What’s more, it’ll be a character played by one of the actors sitting on the Terminator panel here at Comic-Con. But more on that later…

Terminator fans have some pretty high standards for what they feel is their franchise. But from the sounds of the applause during the new season’s trailer and the introduction of the cast and crew during their late morning Q&A session, that standard is currently being met.

While there was plenty of applause for season regulars Lena Heady, Thomas Dekker and particularly Summer Glau, the audience went nuts for Shirley Manson, the front woman for the band Garbage and the newest edition of the cast. Playing a corporate CEO with a dark side, Manson is taking her first foray into acting with Fox/WBTV series. 

Executive producer Josh Friedman, who moderated the panel, recalled the weekend before Manson started shooting her debut episode he called her to ask how she was doing, and Manson replied "I’m sitting on the toilet," literally defecating herself. "I’m not quite so terrified, but I’m still pretty terrified," she revealed. "I was literally shaking the first day on the set."

Friedman asked the inevitable singing vs. acting question, and Manson explained that singing is a "selfish profession," since "everyone has to follow along," but as an actor, "you have to pay attention to everything around you all the time."

Brian Austin Green, who last season did not get such a warm reception when he was announced as a member of the cast, took the gracious route when commenting on some fans’ initial alarm at his participation in the show. "I want to thank everybody that hated the fact that I was cast, but embraced the character," Green said of Derek Reese, the man from the future who marvels at a pre-apocalyptic world. "That’s the reason I’m still here."

Friedman shot down any thought of a soundtrack featuring either Manson or Dekker, who last year penned his own song about his character. "Shirley is here to act, and that is what she is here to do," he said firmly, noting that the shows uses a score almost exclusively, and does very little needle drop.

But things got a little jittery when Wirth decided to share a secret for the upcoming season: One of the people on stage is going to die! Actor Richard T. Jones was particularly flummoxed. "Who is dying," he jokingly demanded to know (but was it that jokey?). Friedman noted Wirth might have wanted to save that for later in the panel. 

Unlike their show, there is no time machine available for Friedman and Wirth to go back and undo Comic-Con minor faux pas.

By Christopher Lisotta

Christopher Lisotta has written for several publications, including TVWeek, The Advocate and L.A. Weekly. He is covering the 2008 International Comic-Con for Broadcasting & Cable.