There was actual sunshine and not too terrible temperatures awaiting all those streaming into McCormick Place for C2E2 2019’s first day, and thus we got to bask in some great weather and great pop culture panels simultaneously. This year’s convention features quite a bit more content where video games are concerned, and today was a big day for fans of franchises like Mortal Kombat or Overwatch, with NetherRealm Studios taking fans behind the scenes into the making of highly anticipated Mortal Kombat 11 and even revealing a new character for the game.
Fans of Overwatch got some face time with the voice actors who portray some of the women of Overwatch— Jennifer Hale’s Ashe, who was a recent addition as of this year’s Blizzcon, Lucie Pohl’s Mercy, and Carolina Ravassa’s Sombra. You can read more from each of these panels in our Games & Tech Section’s Day One Roundup here.
We were also able to attend Friday’s Freaks and Geeks spotlight with Martin Starr and John Francis Daley. The two are a great duo for a panel, with Starr’s acerbic wit and sarcasm matched by Daley’s own amiable, but equally sarcastic silliness. The two really seemed like old friends, and fully at home with the Chicago crowd, with Starr even appearing in Cubs regalia.
The two talked about their roles, and what it was like to have such a role in pop culture at such a young age, and touched on the difference in connotation existing between geeks and nerds today and what they were when the show aired. They praised the writers of the show for writing to the actor’s strengths and helping them shine, and related some behind the scenes stories of the fights between them when Starr, 16 at the the time, and Daley, 13, were struggling with real life puberty on set.
And while the two agreed the network didn’t know how to handle the show–much loved but cancelled after one season, and the excitement they felt that Netflix was bringing a whole new group of people to the show. John Daley talked some about writing and directing, and some time was spent discussing Silicon Valley with Martin Starr, but perhaps the most interesting tidbit unrelated to Freaks and Geeks came when Martin Starr claimed John Francis Daley had turned down Breaking Bad. While this is untrue, the truth was that while in the process of signing on to Bones for his well loved role as Lance Sweets, he’d auditioned and received a callback to the AMC groundbreaker for what would become Aaron Paul’s role. Unfortunately for the actor, his unscrupulous agent claimed he was not able to attend the callback due to the contracts, which was untrue. As it turns out, Daley’s agent also represented Aaron Paul, unbeknownst to him at the time. His own callback never happened as a result, and of course, Paul would end up taking the role. Though his relationship with his agent didn’t last this encounter, Daley was quick to say he’s glad things played out the way they did, certainly for Breaking Bad but also for him on Bones.
There was brief talk about a possible revival, with Daley saying that if everyone were to sign back on, he would be game, but both he and Martin Starr ultimately agreed that it’d be hard to do the original justice, and that finding a direction for the revival to take might be difficult. Still, it was a glimmer of hope for some fans, we’re sure.
Returning to the convention was the queen of cosplay herself, Yaya Han. Han made a brief appearance on the show floor’s SyFy C2E2 Live stage where she talked about her experience as a cosplayer. Han excitedly shared about her collaboration with Joann Fabrics, the creative process behind bringing each and every one of her characters to life, and about the upcoming cosplay competition that will be taking place this evening at 7 on the Main Stage, which will feature the winners of ReedPop’s national and international circuit of conventions competing to become the crown champion.
Following Han’s panel, the director of the beloved Afro Samurai anime, Fuminori Kizaki, along with Toshiaki Obata (marketing producer of Psycho-Pass), and Shuzo John Shiota (president of Polygon Pictures) were welcomed onstage to unveil some exciting news. The crew revealed the release of the upcoming sci-fi film Human Lost, which is scheduled to be released this fall. Kizaki shared that the film, which is based on Osamu Dazai’s novel No Longer Human, is like his homage to films like Akira and Ghost in the Shell. He stated that Human Lost will be very different from the action-packed Afro Samurai, instead heavily focusing on the characters and heavy themes of what it means to be human.
We had a great time on day one of C2E2 and hope you did too! Stay with us for great cosplay galleries, panel catchups and more every day of the con!
Contributing author: Pearl Shin