"Everything is a series of lasts." "We're going out the way we want to go out." Those are the words of stars Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter in the farewell video that opened Dexter's final session at San Diego Comic-Con.
Showtime's serial killer drama closed Thursday at the annual pop culture confab with a fitting end: a panel in the massive Hall H, where the cast and creators said goodbye to the fans that helped make the show the standard by which other serial killer dramas are measured.
To help celebrate, Dexter brought back a few faces from its past including showrunner Clyde Phillips, Lauren Velez (LaGuerta), Erik King (Doakes) and Julie Benz (Rita), with Hall -- introduced last -- bringing many in the cavernous hall to their feet and a sea of flashbulbs lasting through the first moments of the hourlong session. John Lithgow, one of Dexter Morgan's best foils, did appear during a light-hearted taped segment. "I wish I could be with you all today but as you know, I'm dead. … Not a day goes by where someone doesn't recognize me as a psychopath, I thank you for that."
Executive producer Sara Colleton said that despite the production wrapping on the series finale last week, it hasn't hit her that the show is truly over. Hall noted that while he's mentally aware that the show is over, "our bodies, five months from now, will start knocking at the door wondering why we're not doing Dexter again."
"There's some unconscious part of us that hasn't accepted or recognized it yet," Hall continued. "Five or six months from now, there will be some wave of something we'll all experience."
Former co-stars joined current cast members -- including Desmond Harrington, David Zayas, Aimee Garcia, Yvonne Strahovski -- present, repeatedly thanked the fans for the support and said that while their characters may have been killed off, they're still part of the family -- and recognized on the street.
While the cast was careful not to tip its hand about how things wrap up, returning guest star Strahovski offered one tease on Hannah's impending return. "Who knows if her motivation is going to be revenge or love," Strahovski said. "It's a mystery."
Hall, meanwhile, noted that Dexter will continue to re-examine his relationship with his late father, Harry, whom until this season he believed to have created the code by which his Dark Passenger was crated.
Carpenter (Deb), whose journey has been the backbone of the series, said she's always rooted for her onscreen foster brother -- even though there have been days where Deb has wanted to kill him. "I've always wanted to defend him because in a weird way it's been about protecting my life," she said.
The actress also reiterated that she would indeed like Deb to perish at the end of Dexter. "I wanted and want Deb to die," she said. "As an actor, it's because I love her. It's a little like how Michael treats his victims: I want her to go to the bottom of the abyss instead of in my head for eight years after the show is over to wonder 'what if?' and I'm calling [showrunner] Scott [Buck] to write her a scene."
Hall harkened back to the conclusion of Six Feet Under and noted that there's a sense of closure that comes with that. "At the end of Six Feet Under, we all got to die, which as actors, we all got to put it to bed," he said.
As for what's next, Hall said he was open to doing TV again after he learned during Six Feet Under to never close that door.
The sentimental cast, which closed the panel each sharing what the show -- and Comic-Con has meant to them, also revealed the setpieces they kept for themselves once production wrapped. Hall took Dexter's watch and lanyard and wanted to take some blood splatter paintings from his character's wall, but Carpenter beat him to the punch. Garcia kept Jamie's necklace; Harrington joked he took all of Quinn's fake gold; Strahovski took home the black orchid Hannah gives to Dexter. Carpenter, meanwhile, couldn't pin it down to one thing: "I took a lot!" she enthused from the stage. Zayas, meanwhile, kept one of Angel's trademark shirts and hats.
In terms of the buzzed about spinoff, when a fan asked if there could be a show centered on Dexter's young son, Harrison, Hall came armed with a fitting response: "In 25 years there's going to be a new series called Harrison, and Dexter will have died and I'm going to be his dead, internalized father."
Comic-Con runs July 17 to 21 in San Diego. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for more from San Diego and come back Sunday night for more Dexter coverage.