Natalie Zea Signs On for The Following Season 2 — And Yet Almost Didn't

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The Following Season 1 RecapClaire Matthews is a survivor — or is she?

Natalie Zea will return to The Following for Season 2, after signing an eleventh-hour deal with the Fox drama. Her comeback, however, could be short-lived.

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Speaking with TV Guide Magazine, Zea would not disclose how long she’ll be sticking around the Fox thriller, indicating that the near-death events of the first season’s cliffhanger could lead to a goodbye arc or a new storyline.

Zea — who will appear on CBS’ Under the Dome later this summer — was very close to not returning at all for The Following‘s sophomore run, leaving Claire on the chopping block.

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“My concern, and [creator] Kevin Williamson’s concern, was always, is there more story to tell with Claire? And we both discovered that maybe there wasn’t,” Zea tells the magazine.

As such, Joe Carroll’s ex was set to be killed off at the close of Season 1 — TVLine can confirm that the finale was edited two different ways — but Fox execs pressed to resurrect the character, according to TV Guide Magazine‘s sources.

Following fans, are you glad Claire survived?

Comments (44)

  • I like her, and depending on how it’s written I’m fine with the character coming back, but FOX execs really thought she was THAT big a draw that they insisted on her coming back?

    Comment by George – July 11, 2013 07:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t think this bodes well at ALL for the series itself. It seems to me that one would *know* whether there was “more story to tell.” The fact that there was dispute about it, or at least discussion, to me suggests the writers have not upped their game one whit, and that is a very bad thing.

      Comment by Annie – July 12, 2013 09:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She’s okay-I didn’t find here as clueless as Teri Bauer. The Following’s problems had more to do with their own writers, not Zea.

    Comment by Derek Johnson – July 11, 2013 07:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Honestly, Claire became the least cringe-inducing part of that show in the final episodes because she was so bad ass and kept stabbing the annoying Joe with whatever was on hand. Every time she clocked him or stabbed him, I cheered. And then the finale didn’t even have the common decency to kill him off.

      Unless the reviews for Season 2 are amazing, I will not be returning to this show, which is a shame because Shawn Ashmore is one of my favorite actors.

      Comment by Zayne – July 12, 2013 08:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love Natalie Zea, but Fox is clueless. They’ve ruined more good and great shows with their meddling in their relatively short existence than the three majors since their black-and-white beginnings.

    Comment by nabocane – July 11, 2013 07:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I quit The Following after the first handful of episodes because the storyline dragged on too long. It got way too boring. Maybe this could be the beginning of a new storyline.

    Zea is much better as Claire than Winona, though. I was surprised by her.

    Comment by Barbie Furtado – July 11, 2013 08:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Bring Claire back (Zea), Ryan was so in love with her and thats what was so special to a lot of people was the possibility that they would end up together. And…find out that Joey is actually Ryans biological son, not Joe Carrolls. Bring her back, the sooner the better!

      Comment by Louise – February 4, 2014 12:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think that the following likes killing people off so maybe what they should do is keep people the fans like and keep natalie zea. Kevin Williamson always has good ideas but friggin messes it up when he uses the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again….

    Comment by shuayb – July 11, 2013 08:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I actually thoroughly enjoyed The Following until the season finale… Which was alright but the way they ended it makes me skeptical of season 2 until I actually see it… And I’d be shocked if Purefoy didn’t return but how are they going to write that? Alias could pull off that kind of stuff but it was a more fun show and in this seems it seems like it would be hard to do without being cringeworthy but I have hopes it will be good.

    Comment by Cory – July 11, 2013 08:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I read from an interview with the writers that Crazy Joe could be back in flash backs.

      Comment by Sandy O. – July 16, 2013 03:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I rather her be dead. Hell they could kill of almost everyone and I’d be fine with that.

    Comment by Midori – July 11, 2013 08:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They killed most of the characters I really liked – namely Jacob and Paul – so this show might have some trouble catching me again.

    Comment by steve o (@ravenwing263) – July 11, 2013 08:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If some how Bacon, zea, and purefoy all survive I’m officially done with this show. That makes all the cliffhangers in the finale worthless and put there for the sake of shock. Which is what many suspected the writers were only interested in in the first place

    Comment by lisa – July 11, 2013 08:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree about Zea. Are we supposed to believe that the female serial killer in the final episode was not able to kill at least one of Zea or Bacon?

      Comment by johnhelvete – July 11, 2013 09:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m fine with Claire coming back. I want Carrol back too.

    They already killed off Roderick, one of my favorite TV characters to come along ever, so whatever, I guess.

    Comment by Teag – July 11, 2013 09:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Don’t forget she’s on Justified, too.

    Comment by SilverTabby – July 11, 2013 09:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I prefer her on Justified, love the Winona character, and wish she’d go back as a show regular instead of a recurring character. Not enough Natalie Zea on Justified in my opinion– hope she’s back lots for season 5 and says goodbye to the horrible show The Following.

      Comment by Mareesa – July 12, 2013 06:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree and let me add that Justified is my favourite American TV show. It has style, content, novelty, character, wit and humour. What’s not to love?

        Comment by annastine – July 17, 2013 11:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Unless, she does die and we only see her in flashbacks.
    Seems Joe as god to his followers where KB tracks him, is a one note story.. Sustainable for a season or two.. But if they flashback to more of the beginnings and how Joe got his followers to follow and show the downfall of KB’s character, Well you could drag that out for more like 3-4 seasons.

    Comment by DarkDefender – July 11, 2013 09:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really hope that Natalie Zealand decides to stick around for a while. I cheered every time she stabbed Joe with a kitchen utensil.

    Comment by JakeK – July 11, 2013 11:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • OK she’s been a pain to bring back at times on Justified. She’s a pain to bring back on the following.

    Why do I have a feeling we will hear the same thing from her next show?

    Comment by Warren – July 12, 2013 03:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • How do you figure? She’s fulfilled all of her contractual obligations. I don’t think its wrong to inquire whether or not you will actually be utilized storywise before signing a contract to return. The writing on season 1 of The Following was basically terrible and she was extremely underutilized. What’s wrong with making sure that isn’t the case for Season 2? Actors want to ACT. She wasn’t being utilized too much on Justified either. And wasn’t a *pain* there. They welcomed her back with open arms as a guest star.

      Comment by K – July 12, 2013 12:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Great comments. Completely agree.

        Comment by Mareesa – July 12, 2013 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Unlike Natalie Zea, I will not be returning for season 2 of The Following.

    Comment by Kim – July 12, 2013 03:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love her, and I hope that she has more scenes on Justified this season than she did last season. I missed her. Her character on The Following was too repetitive for me (up until the final scene, of course).

    Comment by NCSouthernBelle – July 12, 2013 03:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Well… the Raylan-baby should be arriving this season so we should see more of her I would guess…

      Comment by drhenning – July 12, 2013 07:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I watched Season one but for the life of me cannot remember how it ended. That’s either my memory or how unimpressed I am with these shows anymore. Unsure if I will watch season 2.

    Comment by Lorraine Wrede – July 12, 2013 05:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • when she’s on screen , I like her, but man, just make up your mind. its like she’s trying to do anything BUT Justified. Ands that show is is phenomenal.

    Comment by kevin – July 12, 2013 05:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just hope she can find time to have Raylan’s baby on Justified.

    Comment by Jane – July 12, 2013 05:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think her best role was the psychopathic nymphomaniac she played opposite Thomas Jane on Hung.

    Comment by RichieS – July 12, 2013 06:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Does this mean she’ll be on Justified more? I hope so.

    Comment by Diane – July 12, 2013 06:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think it’s pretty smart of her to come back for a handful of eps. Take the money and run before this ship sinks.

    Comment by Jon – July 12, 2013 06:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Claire is sort of a motivator for the struggle between the two main characters, Ryan and Joe. There is still a lot that can be explored about her and Joe’s connection years back before Joe went psycho. I however don’t see much left further to be said about her and Ryan’s relationship. After the stabbing Ryan just may change his heart about his love for Claire,.,

    Comment by Luvenine – July 12, 2013 09:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maybe Fox execs become weary of Kevin williamson killing off so many potentially interesting characters so wantonly. Charlie had great potential but was offed too soon. He kissed his boss’s beloved wife (Claire) and Joe could have given hell to him instead of having killed him so lovingly.

    Comment by livingston – July 12, 2013 09:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He killed off EVERY dynamic character on the show!!! Such a waste. The writing was terrible. No character development, nary a win for the good guys and the character most viewers despised the most lived. Kevin Williamson screwed this show up soooo bad!!! He should have kept Roderick and Jacob and killed Emma. I don’t have much faith in things improving in season 2. I feel as if it’s just gonna be more of the same. Williamson is too hung up on shock value scenes and with that ends up ignoring any kind character development.

      Comment by K – July 12, 2013 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Really think this would have been better as a miniseries. The writing was abysmal toward the end of the season and the whole thing just felt sillier and sillier.

    Comment by Kristina – July 12, 2013 12:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Natalie looks so much like Ellen Pompeo in the pic accompanying the article

    Comment by Whoop – July 12, 2013 03:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ugh! I hope she’s only recurring. I want her on Justified more. I don’t care if it’s just 4 episodes instead of 3, I just want her back on that show!

    Comment by Dee – July 14, 2013 07:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m a woman, and my husband and I watch this show together. If Claire is killed off or not on the show anymore, I’ll likely stop watching. There were three female characters last season, and they killed the female detective so that leaves two – Claire and the psycho. If the only woman left on this show is just a psycho murderer, there’s really nothing left for me to relate to. It seems really sexist.

    Comment by Marie – July 20, 2013 09:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope to see her on Justified! Winona & Raylan are great together!!!

    Comment by Arnell – August 11, 2013 08:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Claire was my favorite character on The Following, and my enjoyment of the show will be greatly diminished if she doesn’t continue on. I can’t believe they don’t know what to do with her. I would be happy with her as an anchor for Ryan and to watch her and Ryan develop a real relationship. She and her son have a lot of adjusting to do after finally getting Joe out of their lives (we hope!), and that should involve finally being able to pursue a life with Ryan. Surely, she could play at least as much of a role here as she has on Justified.

    Comment by Maryann – August 19, 2013 06:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m glad they are pushing for her to be alive. It was annoying to just kill her off. I mean they’ve killed enough characters. Claire is hearty and tough. She’s possibility and hope especially for Ryan. To end her life – what’s the point, Ryan will dead on the inside. You can’t kill all the female leads – Agent Parker died (which was sad). Claire was hardcore the way she kept stabbing Joe. There is a connection between the three which would be a shame to lose because Kevin Williamson doesn’t understand the word habituation. You do something enough times it looks it’s effect. Stop using death as the only means to create drama. I love the show and will wait for confirmation of Claire’s safety until I watch. Oh and Weston (Ashmore) is off limits too. He cannot be killed. I love him.

    Comment by Kate – August 23, 2013 07:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • glad she is returning. Like her as an actress. It was good they decided to keep her instead of turning Ryan into the old “revenge-seeking-you-killed-the-woman-i-loved-more-than-anything” routine. HOpe she sticks around. After Parker was killed off, they need a strong woman role and Claires’ character fills the void. Claire is great as the strong mother. Keep her around.

    Comment by Donna Wells – October 22, 2013 06:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She actually ISN’T returning and the next season IS going to be about Ryan wanting revenge for all he’s lost. Check into more recent news and the newest trailer for S2. Very disappointing.

      Comment by Whoops – October 22, 2013 02:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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