C2E2 2021 Saturday Panel Catchup

Lest you think we got any rest last night, we were out on the floor bright and early to start off the biggest day of C2E2 2021 with a smile and hopes for great things. Today's panels ran a gamut of fandoms and covered a lot of topics, and we enjoyed every minute of it all. Our first stop was with Chicago local author Tim Lapetino, who you may recall from our piece on the Nom Nom exhibit at Chicago Gamespace earlier this year that looked at the history and legacy of Pac-Man. Lapetino was a huge part of the creation of that exhibit with VGA gallery alum Jonathan Kinkley, and is an expert on the subject, having just released his latest book, Pac-Man: The Birth of an Icon. And, as it turns out, he's not the only local, as much of the history and inception of Pac-Man and his rise to fame had a lot to do with Chicago and its surrounds, most importantly with Bally Midway who created the 100,000 odd cabinets that would be installed just about everywhere, helping launch the yellow, puck shaped guy into the American consciousness so firmly that 94% of Americans today still recognize him. Lapetino shared a lot about the actual history, which is fascinating and a great incentive to read his new book, which we highly recommend, and a lot about his process in preparing the book with his co-author. COVID did prove trying, as you'd expect, and meant that they missed out on a lot of on-site opportunities, but on the up side, joked Lapetino, the 50 some odd people he interviewed were "not that busy" considering the lockdowns. The panel also touched on other household names like Mickey, games that may have been somewhat inspired by Pac-Man, including a personal favorite, Cool Spot, and the uphill battle for everyone who loves video games to get them recognized as the beautiful and diverse art form that they are. Though we're getting there, slowly, it remains an important stigma to overcome, and we hope one day we won't have to argue that point so loudly. Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz of the Twilight movies at C2E2 on Saturday, December 12th. Photo by Aaron Cynic. Later on, fans of the Twilight saga were greeted by the infamous Cullen family Saturday morning on the main stage. Ashley Greene (Alice), Jackson Rathbone (Jasper), and Kellan Lutz (Emmett) took the stage to recall their time filming and answer questions from a packed hall of fans. “When we were in Twilight, we were so grateful and we were surrounded by so much love and support to this day, be relevant and see that people are still watching it,” said Greene. “We were able to be a part of something that pretty much no one gets to experience and it’s just, it’s amazing.” The three talked about their favorite scenes in the films. Rathbone, Lutz, and Greene all agreed they were big fans of the action sequences. I loved all the action sequences and clips,” said Rathbone. “I got to go ride a horse in Canada and pretend it was Texas. I got to go into the backstory, so that was a lot of fun for me.” Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz of the Twilight movies at C2E2 on Saturday, December 12th. Photo by Aaron Cynic. “I love action stuff and I still see a lot of memes out there, us running on a treadmill being pulled by a truck,” Lutz said. “As an actor you’re there and like ‘okay how am I gonna do this,’ like what’s my form. I naturally run like a gazelle, my wife always makes fun of me. She’s like you jump when you run, so when you’re running and being pulled through this cold forest - you don’t really see yourself until you see the movie and see how they edit it. You see the behind the scenes and watch everyone else run and it’s pretty funny. It gets me every time I watch it.” The baseball scene in the first film was a favorite for both Greene and Lutz. “The baseball scene holds a special place in my heart because I don’t think any of us predicted it coming out as well as it did,” said Greene. “I definitely lied and didn't know how to play baseball. With the effects and the music it turned out to be a really cool and iconic scene.” The cast also told the crowd of the challenges of filming, including the frigid temperatures and long waits to begin filming scenes. “It was the long sequences where we were doing nothing…for us as actors, the best thing I’ve ever heard and I firmly believe this, is the acting is free - they only pay us to wait,” quipped Rathbone. Rathbone also recalled what was dubbed ‘cat training.’ “Cat training is basically…Catherine Hardwicke wanted us to all move like interesting vampires, so we had to come down like this,” he said as he jumped off the couch he was seated on and crouched towards the ground. “It was a different movie. It would be made into cats,” he joked. And thank God we didn’t make that ‘cause we were all like ‘this is insane are we really going to be moving like this?’” Actor Jackson Rathbone of the Twilight movies shows the audience at C2E2 what the cast dubbed 'cat training.' Photo by Aaron Cynic. “We all had to do it together,” Greene said.” And we bonded.” It’s like when you go out with your friends and you act stupid, later we’re like 'did we really do that?',” said Rathbone. “That always holds a place in my heart for sure,” added Greene. All Elite Wrestling (AEW) at C2E2 2021 in Chicago. Photo by Aaron Cynic. Saturday afternoon saw a packed stage for a panel with All Elite Wrestling, hosted by announcer and commentator Schiavone, who was joined by The Gunn Club (Billy, Austin and Colten Gunn), Ruby Soho, Christopher Daniels, Adam Cole, Hangman Adam Page, and CM Punk. Chicago’s own CM Punk talked about officially joining the AEW at Rampage: First Dance at the United Center in August. “We sold out the United Center on a freaking rumor,” Schiavone said. How about that?” “I think it was the greatest night of my career, honestly,” CM Punk told Schiavone. “Can’t top that. We’re gonna try but you know, it’s a lofty goal. But I’m gonna try to top that.” Christopher Daniels talked about the rapid success of AEW in such a short amount of time since its founding. “I had hoped we would get this far. I had no idea it would happen this quickly,” said Daniels. “Within the first year, year and a half when we announced the renewal of the contract with TNT to be part of Turner going through 2024…it was mid 2020 I think we had that announcement. To announce we’d already gotten renewed for three extra years. You don’t fathom you’re going to get that successful that quick. But we’ve been very fortunate and we know there’s a lot of goodwill towards us from the fans.” Later on in our day, we headed to see one of the most prolific authors in the Star Wars universe, Timothy Zahn, and his newfound friend, a muppet version of his most well known character and reviled/renowned character Thrawn. He was clearly delighted but also said it was the weirdest thing he'd ever gotten, in the most delightful way. Zahn shared a lot about his process with the books, his love for Thrawn, and of course, as little actual information about where Thrawn could be going as possible, since Lucasfilm seems to be pretty interested in developing Thrawn's story and that stuff, unfortunately, is not easily or regularly leaked, though he did share his absolute joy at Thrawn being the subject of some of the live action adventures now in development. He also spent some time talking about his own universe and stories, like the Dragon Bone series. When asked how he approaches each, he likened writing in the Star Wars universe to basketball, where you know the rules, the players and the direction it needs to take is clear. On the other hand, he said, writing his own stories is more like Calvinball, where he can make up the rules and change them whenever he wants, though both have their appeals and drawbacks. It was a diverse set of topics and a diverse set of panelists, but our time was well spent, and we felt like we got the best of what Saturday had to offer. Stay tuned for more cosplay and panel catchups from C2E2 2021 coming to you ASAP!  
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Marielle Bokor