Here’s some fun highlights from the celebrity panels I attended:
I’ve never watched Stargate SG-1, and I bowed out of Sanctuary pretty early on so I really didn’t have an opinion about Amanda Tapping going in to this panel, but the friend I attended with on Saturday was a fan so we went to hear her talk. And I’m so glad! Tapping is funny and approachable and had lots of stories from the sets of her various projects (including the time she got blown up on the set of SG-1). She and her daughter are big Whovians and she fangirled about getting to meet Alex Kingston. She also said she’d love to play either River Song or the Doctor.
Many of us know her best as River Song on Doctor Who, which she acknowledged immediately by greeting the audience with, “Hello, sweeties!” Originally asked to be the headmistress of the adipose, Kingston turned it down because she had another job. “Thank God!” she said, because then she was later asked to fill this much more memorable role. Kingston said that writer Stephen Moffat knew River’s arc from her first appearance in the episode “Silence in the Library.” Kingston’s daughter, Salome, was celebrating her 14th birthday on Saturday, so Kingston brought her out on stage and the entire audience joined in singing “Happy Birthday.”
Marina Sirtis’s panel was a riotously fun time and she gave exactly zero fucks. She swore, told bawdy stories, flirted with young men: “You can do this when you get old, people just call you eccentric then.” Many of the stories were familiar to Trek fans, but Sirtis indulged, except when she didn’t. When asked “What was it like to work with Sir Patrick Stewart?” she playfully said, “Oh fuck off… He never gets asked what it was like to work with ME!”
If you’re a fan of Clark Gregg, then you probably already know what a fanboy he is, and it shined through in his excitement talking about the MCU and comics he enjoyed growing up. He told a fun story about how his gun got its nickname on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Gregg objected to the gun’s original name, which was “Baby.” He said considering who his wife is he could just imagine the millions of memes that would follow of him placing the gun in a corner. The gun’s name was changed to “Bambino.”
Orlando Jones began his appearance with a shoutout to his Sleepy Heads, referring to Sleepy Hollow fans who responded with loud appreciation. Jones is another fanboy of many shows including Supernatural. When asked what his dream Super-Sleepy crossover would be, he suggested it would happen during Armageddon, and the two evil-squashing teams would meet on the battlefield and join forces. Jones also treated the audience to his rendition of “I Will Survive” which he joked is Frank Irving’s theme song. His favorite memory from Sleepy Hollow? Watching the pilot episode in a cemetery with the rest of the cast and crew. Jones talked quite a bit about how representation matters in media, and also how important it is to be mindful on places like social media where things can be taken out of context or can unintentionally hurt people. (Not surprising from the man who submitted himself to Your Fave Is Problematic.) Finally, when asked about Abbie and Ichabod getting together, Jones said he imagined it would happen a ways down the road, after their journey as Witnesses had ended. “Kind of like in When Harry Met Sally.”
Gina Torres & Jewel Staite Firefly Panel
Torres and Staite started off by thanking the over-capacity house for their devotion to Firefly and for “pretending you want to hear all our stories all over again.” But while some questions were familiar, the actors managed to breath new life into them. When asked what roles she’d like to play in the future, Torres acknowledge that she has a great time with the badass, powerful women she tends to play, “But what girl doesn’t want to play a crack whore?” The last two questions were presented by moderator Grant Imahara on behalf of Nathan Fillion who couldn’t help but crash his friends’ panel. Fillion’s question for Staite was, “What did I rename your dog when I watched him?” Each time he dogsits he gives the dog a new nickname, from nonsense words to the hilarious “What Dog” which works at the dog park when people ask, “what’s your dog’s name?” The first time he dogsat Nathan texted Jewel just a few hours in to ask, “How do you get your dog off the roof?”
If you are at all a fan of John Barrowman, then you probably have some idea of what this panel was like: energetic, funny, flirty, unpredictable, and just a little naughty. In the naughty column, he said his favorite on-screen kiss was Gareth David-Lloyd who played Ianto Jones on Torchwood. Why? It made him feel powerful. David-Lloyd is straight but got a little aroused every time they kissed. (I mean come ON, who WOULDN’T?!) He also suggested that Jack Harkness’s porn name would be Jackoff Boshane. In the unpredictable column, a young woman asked if he wished Jack and River Song had crossed paths. Barrowman immediately called her out… it was Alex Kingston’s daughter. And then Alex Kingston herself came out on stage and Barrowman squealed, “let’s play Oprah!!” and they sat on the couches to chat for a bit. Barrowman is also incredibly devoted to his fans. A 16-year-old musical theater student asked him to sing with her, and he brought her up on stage to sing “Anything You Can Do.” And when the 50 minute mark came and the convention workers tried to cut him off he absolutely refused to leave the stage. “My fans paid a lot of money to be here today and they were promised a full hour so they’re getting a full hour. If you cut me off again I won’t come back.” Needless to say they let him finish.
Anthony Mackie mounted his own letter-writing campaign to Marvel to try to get them to let him play Black Panther. Though obviously he didn’t end up in that role, it must have worked a little because they asked him to play Falcon. On his first day of filming he was thrust immediately into stunt work which involved flipping backwards off a high platform. Meanwhile he saw his stunt double eating a “comically large plate of nachos” saying, “Keep going, dude! You’re doing great!” Does he hope to take over as Captain America as Falcon did in the comics? No, he said, he enjoys working with Chris Evans and is happy to remain Falcon to prolong that relationship and keep the ensemble together. While obviously he couldn’t get in to details, Mackie didn’t have enough positive adjectives to describe Avengers: Age of Ultron. “Really, it’s better than any of the other films.”
Each celebrity talked at length about how grateful they were to their fans, how lucky they felt and how especially devoted the nerds are. Sometimes meeting your heroes is ok.