Sunday is always a little bittersweet, as we’re undoubtedly exhausted from the three previous days of nerdy fun, celeb sightings, shopping and cosplay, but still a little bit sad to know it’s all about to wrap up and go away until next year. Lucky for us, it always seems there’s still something to look forward to on Sunday, and we’ve got the details on the panels we got a chance to sit in on this Sunday for you to check out in case you were too busy getting those last few Funkos or taking those last few selfies with the other amazing cosplayers.
We started our day of visiting some fond memories of childhood at the Kim Possible panel, which featured the titular character, played by Christy Carlson Romano, as well as Will Friedle (who we’d already had a blast with at the Boy Meets World panel on Friday), who played her sidekick and later, love interest, Ron Stoppable. This was another panel, like the X-Files one from the previous night, where the duo’s chemistry was immediately notable and it created a great vibe in the room.
Unlike the Charmed panel, reboot discussion was fully encouraged, with the actors not seeming down on the upcoming live-action movie one bit. This might in part be due to the fact that fan demand for Kim Possible literally saved the show. No other Disney show had gone beyond 3 seasons, but when Kim Possible was reaching the end of their third, fan outcry (pre-internet campaign days) via a letter writing campaign actually saved the show, and gave it one more season. It was clear that both Will and Christy found this an amazing outpouring of love for what they were doing.
Both Romano and Friedle were incredibly nice to the fans in the room asking questions, and lots of time was spent discussing their characters’ trajectory from season one until the final show. Friedle mentioned that he loved the Kim Possible/Ron Stoppable “shipping” that happened during the show and was happy to see them finally together, saying that though Ron might be awkward and scrawny and someone like Kim would be considered “out of his league” that it’s a good message that “if you are respectful, kind and form a friendship first” then there are no leagues, because you’re forming a real relationship. For her part, Christy Carlson Romano said she really related to Kim. At the time she was portraying Kim Possible, Christy was in school in New York City, and she said she related to the way that Kim was so highly motivated and ambitious, since she was so actively pursuing her future in school and with work, and that it was good that she could open up that way.
Much of the rest of the time were fans letting the two know just how much the show and their portrayal of the characters had meant to them, and a lot of fun was had discussing things like Ron Stoppable’s invention, the Naco (Christy Carlson Romano said she’d recently tweeted at Taco Bell to ask them to bring it to life for the reboot) and what it was like to see naked mole rat buddy Rufus for the first time (much, much better in the show universe than online, Friedle says), and in a more serious moment, who inspired them and mentored them along the way. Will Friedle said he’d been lucky to have the mentors he did, beginning with his parents, who were both lawyers in Connecticut but uprooted their careers to help him achieve his dream. He also brought up William Daniels, who he’d mentioned having a close relationship with in the Boy Meets World panel, saying that the actor had taught him how to be a professional. Friedle also mentioned Kevin Conroy as a mentor and big influence in the field of voiceover. Christy Carlson Romano, meanwhile, found inspiration and someone to look up to in her managers, as well as castmate Donna Pascow from Even Stevens, though she did mention that it was hard to find mentors as a young woman in Hollywood, and that she thought at least in part, because it was hard for women to ask for help or to go after what they wanted. She encouraged the women in the audience to pursue things and gave a nod to her husband for helping her remember to chase her goals.
Our last panel at Wizard World Chicago 2018 would prove to be an incredibly energetic one. We caught up with Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum at the Smallville panel. James Marsters, also of Buffy fame, was scheduled to be on this panel as well, but unfortunately had to cancel due to a change in the Marvel Runaways filming schedule. Unlike Lex and Clark’s uneasy relationship, Welling and Rosenbaum seem like they’ve been friends forever, and as soon as they were announced, the antics began, with Michael Rosenbaum, who’d come out from behind the curtain shirtless, no sooner putting his shirt back on than he’d already leapt into Welling’s lap. Rosenbaum is a live wire full of energy, sarcasm and silliness, and fans ate it up.
Between all the goofs on stage and stories of everything from Chicago style pizza to unfortunate bathroom incidents, there was time to discuss the show some. Aside from the easy friendship the two seem to share, there seems to also be a mutual admiration. Though both Tom himself and Michael refer to Welling at the time the show started as “green” it seems they were always there to guide each other. Welling expressed his admiration for Rosenbaum’s ability to be light and fun on set and play such a different character from himself, while Rosenbaum more than once shared his appreciation for Welling’s dedication to learn things and grow as an actor, even as he was just starting out.
Both actors joked some about the glut of superhero shows now and how they’ve since gone on to rib some of their friends involved with a sort of “been there, done that” motif, and though they reiterated that Smallville would not be returning to join that glut, praised the team and cast for their incredible work ethic and attention to detail, which, at times, said the actors, could be frustrating, but in the end seemed to give the show the quality that would lead it to last 10 seasons. About the only thing that was off the table was discussion of cast mates in legal trouble (likely referring to the allegations against Allison Mack) with the two simply but firmly stating that they did not want to comment on such things.
Still, they had some questions about the show, and some of the complaints you’d expect. For example, in what’s a really good question, Rosenbaum quipped “If Lex is SO important, why didn’t he have security guards?” after Welling brought up the fact that nobody on Smallville ever seemed to knock on doors, simply barging in unannounced most places. And while both say Smallville as it was originally wouldn’t be back, Tom Welling mentioned the comic book series that persisted beyond the TV show’s run and said that he’d be happy to see an animated series on it come to life, perhaps with the original actors doing voiceover.
As they started to take more fan questions, Michael Rosenbaum quite literally leapt into action, getting out into the audience to interact with the fans even more. Most of the questions involved favorite characters and moments, though some went further off topic, like a fan who asked what play the two would do together if they could. The answer, surprisingly was The Shawshank Redemption, which Michael Rosenbaum immediately started “auditioning” for with a pretty impressive Morgan Freeman impression.
Rosenbaum also had the audience in the palm of his hands when he asked who the Cubs fans in the audience were and surprised everyone with an extremely accurate Harray Caray impression. It was never clear what to expect from minute to minute with these two, but they were an absolute delight, and anyone attending the panel certainly won’t soon forget it.
That’s a wrap on our Sunday Panel Catchup. If you missed any of the details from the Outlander, Boy Meets World, X Files, Ghostbusters or other panels, make sure to check out our coverage from Thursday through Saturday, and if you’re not ready to let the con magic go yet, stay tuned for a competition cosplay gallery, our coverage of all the video game action at Wizard World, some amazing local groups we interviewed for our Youtube channel, and more!