'Sleepy Hollow' Gets a Modern Twist Inspired by Another Classic Tale: 10 Highlights From the Drama's Comic-Con Debut

Steven Bryan
Fall TVJuly 22, 2013

If the San Diego Comic-Con 2013 crowd is any indication, Washington Irving might become the most popular writer in Hollywood — not bad for a dead guy! Irving wrote the short story that inspired the upcoming Fox TV series "Sleepy Hollow." Introducing the pilot episode to a capacity crowd in Room 6A, executive producer Alex Kurtzman said the show was "written for the San Diego Comic-Con [crowd]."

10 things revealed during the Comic-Con screening and panel:

1. The plot contains elements borrowed from another Washington Irving classic, "Rip Van Winkle."  Ichabod Crane, played by Tom Mison, is wounded during the Revolutionary War and awakens nearly 250 years later inside a cave.

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2. Credit for the series, Kurtzman said, goes to co-creator Phillip Iscove who wanted to do a modern day "Sleepy Hollow." "It felt extremely organic," Kurtzman explained. "But ['Rip Van Winkle'] also allowed us to jump forward to the future without having to do time travel."

3. People lose their heads — literally! — in the series. During the pilot, at least two familiar guest stars feel the Headless Horseman's ax. Based on the pilot, there will be plenty of blood.

4. Ichabod Crane has a lot of catching up to do. He slept through the Civil War and can't understand why women are now allowed to wear trousers.

5. Mison said he read the original "Sleepy Hollow" story and had been terrified by it. "You always want to be cautious when you are approaching something that comes from a much-loved book," he told the attendees. "The idea of taking a character that is already established and throwing him into a completely different situation, that can't be anything other than exciting."

6. Nicole Beharie plays Detective Abbie Mills, who plans to leave Sleepy Hollow for FBI training in Quantico, Virginia. The appearance of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman prompt Abbie to stay.

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7. The chemistry between Abbie and Ichabod is quite apparent, even though she originally thinks he's crazy. "Abbie is sitting in the same seat you all are sitting in, sort of evaluating what's happening and taking in this guy's claims. It doesn't make sense to her," Beharie said.

8. There is a blood link between Crane and his headless adversary.

9. Certain Bible passages predict that Ichabod and Abbie were destined to team up to catch the Headless Horseman, but executive producer Len Wiseman told the crowd the show is not about tracking him down each week: "In the mythology, once we unveil some of the mystery, we find that the Headless Horseman is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."

10. The original story was only 17 pages, which co-creator Roberto Orci said was a great jumping-off point: "You're going to find out as you go through, there was a whole other side to the Revolutionary War for freedom. It was about good and evil. It's about bringing things that are in history that aren't talked about — like George Washington was a Freemason.

Here's what the cast of "Sleepy Hollow" had to say at Comic-Con:

Check out all the TV stars at this year's Comic-Con