We mentioned it before, but C2E2 weekend is upon us. The first day of this ‘comic-con’/pop culture event was full to the brim with eager fans just as soon as doors opened at 10 am. It’s no wonder why, either, as the list of guests and activities is so full that it’s likely you’ll have a hard time choosing which guest to see and which panel to attend. We were able to squeeze in quite a few panels during our time at the con today, and thought we’d give you a roundup of some of the best bits of each.
Our first stop of the day was the spotlight with Mark Millar. If you’re not familiar with Millar, it’s likely you’re familiar with at least a little bit of his work anyway. Millar is the head of a veritable empire of entertainment, and his accomplishments include being a New York Times Bestselling author who’s responsible for things like Kickass, Kingsman: The Secret Service and whose comic work for DC Comics was the inspiration for or basis of things like The Avengers, Logan and Captain America: Civil War. Millar’s panel was characterized by his charm and easygoing demeanor. As part of the panel, he even hosted a quiz, bringing up several panel-goers to test their knowledge of his work for a chance to have lunch with him, in the end taking all four participants for a late lunch together.
Millar talked about his longstanding love of comics and the people who inspired him (among them: Stan Lee) as well as his family, including a daughter who seems to be following in her dad’s footsteps, drawing and selling comics at an early age. There was also much discussion of Millar’s deal with Netflix, including the putting to rest of a rumor that Netflix was going to be getting into the comic production business. Millar showed clear enthusiasm for working with Netflix, calling them cool bosses and comparing them to the movie studios of 1920s Hollywood, in that they actively encourage creators and content as opposed to rejecting ideas they think are too far out there. He mostly held to his DC alliances, shooting good natured jabs at Marvel here and there but admitting to admiration for Wonder Woman and anticipation for what will happen with Aquaman.
Next on our list of things to do was joining the Browncoats in attendance at the con for a Firefly panel with Alan Tudyk and Gina Torres, best known to the fandom as the greatest couple in the ‘verse, Zoe and Wash. Firefly has had immense staying power despite its early demise, and the fandom around it is as passionate and large as I’ve seen. Tudyk was a ball of energy, joking, talking with fans and giving away almost everything he had on his person, from the first page of a Dollhouse script to comics and room keys from prior conventions. Torres was just as game, laughing and reminiscing with Tudyk and fans, and the chemistry that made fans fall in love with them as a couple was just as evident between the actors as they chatted.
It’s not a Firefly panel if reviving the show doesn’t come up, and it did within the first few minutes of the fan Q&A, though as the asker pointed out, it’s not as far fetched these days with shows like Full House and Roseanne suddenly seeing a resurgence. Tudyk said everyone would have to be in for him to be in, though, especially Joss Whedon himself. Tudyk said this wasn’t likely though, as on the tenth anniversary, Whedon “said he didn’t want to screw it up. Everyone is older, and less talented…” but then joking again that Serenity was probably just under a tarp in Whedon’s garage waiting to be unveiled again. It’s quips like this, and the panel moderator’s cutting quip that “at least somebody finished the ‘Leaves on the Wind’ sentence” that made it a wonderful time for anyone who ever loved the show. Tudyk and Torres both exude nothing but appreciation for the fans and for the chance they had to work on the series, and it reignited our own love for the show.
As evening fell, it was time for the Guardians of the Galaxy panel featuring Dave Bautista, who played Drax, and Sean Gunn, who was both Rocket the Raccoon and Kraglin. The panel started off pretty lighthearted, with Bautista and Gunn discussing Drax’s sensitive nipples and how that was inspired by the true tale of James Gunn’s own sensitivities, but what was most interesting to us was Dave Bautista’s tale of making the transition to acting. Bautista had to get out of his contract to begin his acting career, and felt incredibly self conscious after his first foray into the field. He even struggled because of his size, and went on crash diets to lose weight and appear less muscular for auditions. But, he pressed on, and even though his agents told him he was a long shot, landed what is now one of the most beloved roles from the Guardians film, who ironically told him that he’d need to beef up for the role.
Gunn and Bautista clearly became good friends on set, and it was great seeing them together for the panel. Neither would speak about Infinity War, with Gunn joking that someone might just shoot poison darts at them if they did, but they had plenty of tales from Guardians of the Galaxy to make up for it. It even turns out both actors shared the same favorite scene from Guardians of the Galaxy 2–the scenes filmed around the campfire were fun to shoot, meaningful to the story and realistically like camping with friends, they said.
The final panel of the evening was with Mark Sheppard, currently best known for his role as Crowley in Supernatural (though he’s also a Firefly and Battlestar Galactica alum, to name just a few of his amazing roles.) Sheppard is simultaneously over the top and subdued, and he gave his audience exactly what they’d want and need from him. (Warning: Supernatural spoilers follow)
There was quite a bit of discussion about both the start and end of his character arc as Crowley, with a great bit about his first foray onto the show, where he had to “kiss a guy under a bridge” that perfectly illustrated the much talked-about silly nature of on set life for the show. “First thing I said when I kissed him under the bridge was ‘Pucker up, Buttercup.” said Sheppard. “And that was the beginning of 8 years of insanity.” Mark was more subdued in talking about his departure from the show, which both he and some fans were not as happy with due to some character choices and cut scenes, which Sheppard laid out in detail. Overall though, it was easy to see his love for the show and his character, and a great insight into the show we didn’t have before.
That’s a wrap of this panel wrap-up but we’ll bring you the best of the Saturday panels tomorrow morning, so stay tuned!
Contributing author/photographer Aaron Cynic.