“Nine rises bigger, badder and better than ever!”
With those words, the cast of resurrected Brooklyn Nine-Nine had a ballroom bursting with fans on their feet erupting in cheers to kick off the show’s panel event at San Diego’s Comic-Con convention on Thursday.
During a fun-filled hour at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, cast and producers had the crowd in hysterics as they dished on their group Whatsapp chats, raised the possibility of getting Beyoncé on the comedy and started spontaneously declaring each other’s remarks ideal names for sex tapes.
But first, the group addressed what moderator, Mike Schneider, described as “the dark hours” -- when the show was canceled by Fox before being picked up for a sixth season by NBC in May.
“We were on a big Whatsapp chat and once we [found out] it was canceled, it was immense sadness,” shared Terry Crews, who plays Sgt. Terry Jeffords. “I didn’t know what was up and down, everything started changing, you started looking at your kids like, ‘They’re not that smart. They need college!’ It was a lot of sadness and a lot of, ‘I love you guys.’ It feels like your family is split up and you know you may never see each other again, so it was the saddest day ever.”
“But then the internet exploded,” added Melissa Fumero (Amy Santiago). “Immediately, all of us [were] texting each other going, ‘Do you guys see what’s happening on Twitter? Do you see we’re trending? Do you see there’s so many people who love our show! Oh my God!’ It was so validating in that moment and so it went from being so sad the show is over to, ‘Oh well, at least there’s this amazing, beautiful consolation prize that so many people feel so strongly about our show.’ Then, that snowballed into, ‘Oh, it might come back.’”
Co-creator Dan Goor had been “madly texting” with Andy Samberg (Jake Peralta) and the studio thinking of “crazy ideas” to convince NBC to pick up the series, when the network said yes late one night.
The save came after loyal fans -- whose passion was evident as one fan tripped herself up in excitement while cheering on Samberg and Crews as they arrived at the venue for the panel -- and celebrities including director Guillermo del Toro, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Star Wars legend Mark Hamill publicly pleaded for the series to continue.
The season five finale centered on Jake and Amy's wedding and the two actors teased that some fun storylines centered on how married life would unfold in season six.
“The beauty of Jake and Amy is they really are friends so it therefore doesn’t change things that much, but opens it up to new storylines about early marriage,” Samberg said, before Fumero added that she’s “excited to see them join their bank accounts.”
Asked where they would have liked their character’s journeys to end had the show not been renewed, Samberg said he saw Jake becoming best pals with Bruce Willis, while Chelsea Peretti said her alter-ego, Gina Linetti, would “become best friends with Beyoncé.” The idea drew summons for Goor to make some calls to the superstar’s team, a prospect which seemingly distracted him as he stuttered through his next question.
One celebrity who is eager to return is Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez, who played Rosa’s (Stephanie Beatriz) love interest, Alicia. Beatriz said it’s a matter of scheduling to get her gal pal back on the show, and discussed having Rosa reveal she’s bisexual on the series.
“Dan is a person who believes in equality and inclusivity and that shows in his writers’ room,” she said. “He was interested in exploring the idea Rosa might be queer [and] asked me what I thought about it. He wanted a bisexual’s voice to be heard in that storyline and it just so happened the person playing the character is also bi and it was a gift. We did it in a really amazing way.”
“What I think Brooklyn is very good at and what you guys love is we’re tackling these issues -- that aren’t really issues, but just things we’re all dealing with -- in this fun way in this idealized world. I was thrilled to be asked to have a voice in this storyline and felt that it reflected a lot of what is the reality of my own life.”
When a fan asked if Beatriz recalled any real-life moments similar to Rosa’s joy when she lays eyes on Alicia, she shared further details about her own experience coming to terms with her sexuality.
“I think that was also the beginning of me realizing that I was not the same as all the words I had for it when I was little,” Beatriz said. “I knew that something else was going on because I could feel my body and brain react when I would see a shiny pony tail swinging and it wasn’t like, ‘I want to put that it in my hair.’ It was like, ‘I want to put that in my mouth!’ [There’s] different things that you are feeling and seeing in the world.”
Dirk Blocker, who plays Hitchhock, noted how the storyline reflected the changes in diversity on television.
“When we started in the industry 4 or 5000 years ago, the only people being hired in television were white guys,” he said. “Now, to be on a show towards the end of our career -- it’s a cool thing seeing the business evolve, even though it’s got a long way to go. To have lesbian and gay characters and an integrated cast is pretty amazing.”
Another fan asked what the cast thought about their previous network, Fox, particularly their news department (alluding to the network’s political coverage), to which Peretti cracked jokes, while Samberg concluded, “I think it was a good moment for us to switch.”
The laughs continued as the cast and producers started spontaneously declaring, “sex tape name” every time someone said something which could have sexual innuendo, like when Goor named yoghurt loving Terry’s favorite flavor as “full fat Greek with a touch of Honey,” and when Samberg declared, “I didn’t know I was involved in this,” referring to a game of trivia against audience members.
However, the sex talk took a more serious turn when a fan thanked Crews for his part in the #MeToo movement, referring to the 49-year-old actor’s allegations that he was sexually assaulted. Crews appeared moved at the remark, nodding in gratitude.
He also shared how special his role as Terry has been to him.
“He’s the mom of the precinct,” he said. “Holt is the dad and we have these wonderful kids and we love them all. Terry Jeffords is me. I’ve never had a character I’ve ever played who is more about me -- [about] his family, friends. I get choked up thinking about these guys a lot because I want to see them win as if they were my own family. Its real. I’ve never had a character who synced up with my life like that -- it's super special.”
See more on the series below.
EXCLUSIVE: Andy Samberg Makes a Hilarious Plea For Bruce Willis to Guest Star On 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'
EXCLUSIVE: Andy Samberg Has Plans to Get the Whole ‘This Is Us’ Cast on ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’
EXCLUSIVE: Andy Samberg Teases 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Changes After Show's Move to NBC