SDCC 2012: Friday Panels
The highlight of Comic-Con on Friday, July 13th was obviously the Firefly Anniversary panel. I’ve already written an in-depth post about that. However, there were a lot of other amazing panels that day that I’d love to share with you. Read on for details about Community, Arrow, Joss Whedon, and more.
Our first panel on Friday morning was for Community. Panelists included actors Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Alison Brie. Executive Producer Russ Krasnoff and returning writers Megan Ganz and Andy Bobrow were also in attendance, along with the new showrunners, Moses Port and David Guarascio. While there has certainly been a lot of furor on and offline regarding the ousting of Dan Harmon, the panel was surprisingly upbeat and positive. There was a lot of chair dancing.
For someone who doesn’t watch the show (guilty!), this year’s panel was certainly far far more entertaining than last year’s Community panel. Francesca and I really enjoyed this one. The best part of the panel was Alison Brie’s face. No, seriously. She was hilarious. She had exaggerated responses to everybody else’s words and it was adorable. Also, we got to see a video of her rapping. I might have to start watching Community, you guys. Girl crush!
On a more serious note, Moses Port and David Guarascio talked a little bit about their experience coming onto the show in season four: “The only thing we care about is keeping it this sort of weird wonderful gem that it’s always been. And that’s just not gonna change.” NBC has posted full video of the panel, which I have embedded below.
Next up was Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra. We’d never even heard of this animated series, which is apparently a continuation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Panelists included executive producer and creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino, co-executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos; voice actors Janet Varney (Korra), David Faustino (Mako), P. J. Byrne (Bolin), and Seychelle Gabriel (Asami); and voice director Andrea Romano. The crowd was definitely hyped, so the show clearly has a passionate fanbase. While waiting in line for Ballroom 20, we saw a few cosplayers with impressive Korra costumes. Also, it was cool to see Seychelle Gabriel there, as I’m a Falling Skies fan.
Next up was Firefly, and after the tears dried, the room cleared out significantly before Bones. I guess all the people who spent the night in line wanted to return to their hotels to shower and sleep. While my interest in Bones has certainly waned over the years, I own the first three seasons on DVD and I used to really love it. I was hoping for the best. The three panelists were executive producer Stephen Nathan and stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel. While Deschanel seemed lovely, the panel was certainly my least favorite of the convention. I preferred the detailed descriptions of fur parkas at Korra to Boreanaz’s lame attempts at being charming and humorous. He made a lot of digs at current vampire franchises, as apparently he forgot that Angel was the broodiest of broody vampires. His “charm” made me never want to catch-up on the show. In contrast, there was a cute moment when Emily tried on the light-up “x-ray” glove from the FOX booth. Oh, and fans dressed up as Catwoman and Wonder Woman asked questions. FOX hasn’t posted a full video of the panel, but you can watch parts here and here. Next!
Next up was the Arrow screening and Q&A. I really enjoyed the pilot—more than I thought that I would. Action, drama, intrigue, bow and arrows, abs … what more could we ask for? Oh, and it was a fun surprise to see Kaitlin Cooper as Oliver Queen’s little sister. I’m excited to see more. The Q&A that followed the screening was super short due to time. Panelists included stars Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy (girl crush alert!), executive producers Marc Guggenheim (Green Lantern) and Andrew Kreisberg (Fringe), and the pilot director/executive producer David Nutter (Smallville, everything under the sun). My favorite bit of scoop from the session was the fact that Kelly Hu will be guest-starring on Arrow as comic-book villain China White. I LOVE her, so I can’t wait for her arc. As for the authenticity of Amell’s abs in the pilot, Katie Cassidy confirmed, “That was me.” Ha! Official video of the panel has been released by Warner Bros., so I have embedded it below:
The following panel was Entertainment Weekly: Powerful Women in Pop Culture (aka Women Who Kick Ass!). The all-star panel included Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood), Sarah Wayne Callies (Walking Dead), Kristin Kreuk (Smallville, Beauty and the Beast), Nikki Reed (Twilight Saga), Anna Torv (Fringe), and Lucy Lawless (Xena!!!). This panel was made of win, so read on for a little bullet-point recap:
- Kristin Bauer van Straten (hereafter known as KBvS, because there were two Kristin’s and her name is too long), really set the tone when she walked out on stage wearing Pam’s famous Wal-Mart sweats. Perfection. But the sweatshirt was actually a breakaway, so she only wore it for her entrance.
- Sarah Wayne Callies sounded off on the importance of women supporting each other: “I think the way forward with women is with women.”
- Anna Torv: “You’re only ever as good as the people you’re working with. So, you should be supportive of everyone, men and women.”
- Kristin Kreuk talked about the great roles on TV for women, and how that seems to be less true in film. Also, she stressed that being a strong woman shouldn’t just be about being strong physically. She pointed out the importance of women making their own projects—increasing the number of female writers, directors, and producers.
- KBvS sang the praises of Girls, and how it’s different than anything else on television. On resistance to change in Hollywood: “There was resistance to the light bulb. I think the world just resists things.
- Lucy Lawless: “Have you noticed how many older women are now reigning in television? I’m loving this! It’s awesome to see those women kicking ass.” She talked about Sigourney Weaver, who paved the way for all of them. In fact, Lawless professed that she wrote genuine fan-mail to the legendary actress the other day.
- Callies agreed and said that she likes that it’s not just roles for young women who look like models: “There’s a sense that you can explore the issues that real women face. Not just, ‘Do I shave my legs? Or do I wax my legs?’ These are real women. And I don’t think it was always that way.”
- Callies also talked about a day at work on the Walking Dead set. It’s not the hair and makeup department, but the dirt and blood department. “The show is the enemy of vanity, and I think that’s a really exciting thing.”
- Worst costumes? Kreuk referenced a season one Smallville scene: “The character was 15 years old and they wanted her in red lace lingerie.”
- KBvS: “It’s just so funny on True Blood, because I’m the most dressed person.” She went on to describe a day at work as Pam: she looks at naked people all day, and her feet hurt, and she can’t really breathe.
- Kristen Kreuk seemed to be about 5,000 times cooler than Lana Lang, and I love her. On her fight scenes in Beauty and the Beast: “When I think about a strong woman, I don’t just think that it’s somebody who can kick people. I think that there’s a lot that a woman has to go through to gain that strength in her life and I feel like that’s part of the journey I’m happy to be in where I can play a character who could become very strong. I’ve played the victim a lot in my life. And I’m just really excited that even metaphorically I can go and be uh … ‘kickass.’ Even as a metaphor, I think that shows strength—that she can be proactive and take care of herself.”
- Callies expanded on that later: “Being a strong woman isn’t just, you know, ‘I can get a beat on you from 150 feet away in a cross breeze and shoot you in the face’ … which I can, by the way. It’s about conceding strength in ways that maybe women have always been strong, and identifying that and embracing that. I think Cate Blanchett’s pretty fucking cool.”
- KBvS discussed nudity, telling a funny story about telling her husband about an upcoming nude scene. She was so worried about being naked in front of the cast and crew, she forgot about the millions of people in the audience. She also pointed out that the nudity on True Blood made the cast healthier—going to the gym, eating vegetables, etc. “It’s added years to my life, I’m sure.”
- Kreuk wants to start producing. She’s started a company that is actually very female-focused.
- A fan told Torv that she deserves an Emmy for her work on Fringe, and that got a huge cheer. Lots of Fringe fans in the audience.
- The panel ended with cheers of “Free Lucy!” from the panelists and the crowd. Lawless has a hearing coming up to determine sentencing for her recent environmental protesting.
I couldn’t find full video of the panel in any official capacity, but I did find it divided into five parts on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. Unfortunately, the visual aspect of theses vids is poor (obstructed view, etc.), but the audio is good.
Then we stayed in Ballroom 20 for one last panel: Joss Whedon! Dark Horse editor Scott Allie introduced him, but first talked a little bit about current and upcoming Whedonverse comics. Then a very tired (but very entertaining) Joss hit the stage for 45 minute Q&A session. He had just come from the Firefly pressroom, following the very emotional reunion panel. I have posted full video from the panel below, courtesy of TFAW, but read on for some of the highlights.
- “Well, it’s been an interesting year …” An understatement.
- Joss talked a bit about Dark Horse, and the upcoming Whedonverse comics. I’m excited!
- He said that they finished post production on Much Ado about Nothing, and now the plan is to submit it to festivals, hoping to get it distributed by someone. On the film: “You’re gonna see people you love rocking Shakespeare so hard. […] It’s a weird little piece, I’m not gonna lie.” He also revealed that he wrote the score—a first time for him. “If I’m terrified, I know I’m having fun.”
- Whedon got together with the rest of his family and they started talking about Dr. Horrible 2. All the exclamation points!!!! They have already got a bunch of songs and it’s coming along. It WILL happen, “hopefully soon.” The CW will air the first Dr. Horrible this fall—the first time that the internet musical will be shown on TV. It was later reported that the airdate will be October 9th, at 9/8c.
- Joss jokingly mimed what it was like to work at FOX. It looked an awful lot like being stuck in a box.
- Regarding the Buffy comics, Joss gave props to Andrew Chambliss for taking it over. “I think the most important involvement I have is in the big picture stuff.”
- His unique contribution to the Zombie Apocalypse genre would be incorporating the idea that people’s best and worst traits are often the same. “I’m more interested in our best intentions and how they turn us into horrible zombies. […] For me, the twist is ‘where does it come from?’”
- Would he ever consider going back into television? “Absolutely. I love television.” But doesn’t know what his next big project will be, so he’s trying to figure that out. “Yeah, TV rules, man.”
- Joss: “I got applause for being able to think. This is the best crowd ever. Watch, I can also walk.” Then he demonstrated. Big applause!
- Next fan comment: “I’m huge fan of all your work, including your walking …”
- On the different mediums, he loves them all. They are all different, but they are all storytelling. On the score he recently wrote: “It was writing very specific emotional moments. That’s the only thing that I want to do with my life: create emotional moments. And I do not care where.”
- Advice: “Make things make things, make them yourself …”
- Lilah Morgan reference in one of the fan questions! How does he make evil characters relatable and likable? Joss quoted Willem Dafoe: “There is no difference. Everybody thinks they’re righteous.”
- Joss talked about that scene in “Innocence”—the one with the crippling pain. “I had no idea that I was such a douche-nozzle!” He elaborated: “We all want that release. We all want to be a little bit evil, or we want the license to be evil … a little bit.”
- What is he most proud of in his work? He name-checked “The Body” as the best episode of television he ever wrote. But he is most proud of when he writes something and he finds something out. “When the characters start teaching you.”
- In response to all the cheers at his reference to Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof: “Yeah, you guys are gonna freak out. Sorry.”
- “I’m dying to do a stage musical!”
- There was a fan question inspired by what Joss wrote about Writer’s Strike, and the frequency of corporate big-bads in his work: “In 30 seconds or less, can you tell us, what is your economic philosophy?” Whedon talked a bit about his upbringing, and how his parents valued socialism as a model. “A beautiful concept.” However, then he veered into what’s happening now in politics: “We’re watching capitalism destroy itself right now, and ultimately, all of these systems don’t work.” Then he pointed out, “I write about helplessness.” He talked about importance of creating a better system. He remains “furious” after the Writer’s Strike.
- His biggest geek moment? Joss: “My life is one endless geek moment.”
So, that was it for our Friday TV panels. Quite a day. I still have a few more belated Comic-Con posts coming, so stay tuned.