As You Wish

Revealed: Behind Homeland’s Surprising 'Princess Bride' Connection

Jason Lynch speaks with 'Homeland' producer about the show's surprising 'Princess Bride' connection.

Ronen Akerman/Showtime (right)

It’s not “inconceivable” after all: Homeland really will have a Princess Bride reference when the drama returns next month.

On Friday Aug. 9, Showtime released a haunting trailer for its Emmy-winning drama’s upcoming third season, which debuts Sept. 29. Within an hour, fans were buzzing online about a tantalizing glimpse of a notebook at the trailer’s 2:44 mark. Among the many lines scribbled on it by Carrie Matheson (Claire Danes), one in particular stands out: “You killed my son – prepare to die!”

The sentence, of course, echoes the famous line in 1987’s The Princess Bride, uttered by Homeland cast member Mandy Patinkin: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”

Was the Princess Bride reference intentional? "Of course it is!" Homeland executive producer Alex Gansa tells The Daily Beast of its inclusion early in Season 3. "We didn't expect to use it so prominently. But the fact is that it looks so great, the physical representation of her mania, right there on the page. So there it is, right in front of your eyes."

Before the trailer was released, the plan initially had been to leave the reference as an "easter egg" surprise for sharp-eyed viewers of Homeland's season premiere, says Gansa, who was surprised to be asked about the scene by a Daily Beast reporter at last month’s CBS/CW/Showtime Party during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. "That is so funny you saw that," Gansa said. "I said, 'Nobody is going to notice!'"

The inspiration, however, did not come from Gansa, Patinkin, or any of the show’s writers. Instead, it was thought up by the art department staffer who assembled Carrie’s notebook. "She did that whole thing up," says Gansa. "And she just included all this stuff and she said, 'Do you think this would be bad to put this thing in?' And I said, 'That's funny, put that in there!' But she was the one who came up with that."

And what does Patinkin think about the shoutout? "He does not know yet," Gansa says. (Showtime said the actor was unavailable for comment.)

It’s likely he’ll be tickled. Twenty-six years later, Patinkin still happily obliges the Princess Bride fans who come up to him several times a day asking to hear his character’s immortal line. "I’m frankly thrilled about it,” Patinkin told New York last fall. “I can’t believe that I got to be in The Wizard of Oz, you know what I mean?"

Patinkin, who was overlooked last year for an Emmy nomination, was included among this year's drama supporting actor candidates, one of 11 nominations the show received.

No word if Homeland plans further homages to the past work of its stars; if so, might we suggest the next one be a passing reference to Carrie’s "so-called life"?