After arriving and getting my pass, I hung out with some of my fellow Whedonopolis staffers, like Shan, Alison and Kelly, whilst doing a little shopping. One of the highlights of that part of the day was seeing John de Lancie ("Q" on Star Trek: The Next Generation, among others) in line for what looked like a pass to the con. I didn’t see him in any of the Firefly stuff, so I guess he was there for the Stargate con that was going on at the same time.
After hanging out with the California Browncoats a bit and saying hello to a lot of old friends, we made our way backstage, because a few of our people — Marsia, Kelly and Shan — were giving a panel on Whedonopolis, our charity work and so on. The panel before ours was Quantum Mechanix (QMx), talking about the upcoming Serenity model kit, which looks pretty amazing. The kit itself will have over 400 pieces, and looks to be bristling with detail. I got a good look at it at the booth (couldn’t take close up pictures, though) later in the day, and the amount of work that went into this model was very stunning. I can’t wait to see how much the final version is once it’s finally released. After the QMx panel was the, aforementioned, Whedonopolis panel, in which all three members discussed the charities we chose, our previous events, and then took questions from the audience. The panel went pretty well, and the three got asked good questions from the audience. I was proud of all three of them when they were done, and thought they did a fantastic job.
After the Whedonopolis panel, the first guest of the con, Ron Glass, came on stage. I’d never seen Ron at a con appearance, only at a party during the aforementioned Backup Bash, so this was a nice treat. He was wearing a nice Obama hat, which got a good reaction from the crowd. He said previously he had been fairly apolitical, but decided to be more political during this previous election cycle, which also got a positive reaction. He also discussed his current work, like in the movie Lakeview Terrace or the recently cancelled Dirty Sexy Money. Humorously, he didn’t know it was cancelled until told by an audience member.
Mr. Glass also discussed Firefly and Serenity, mostly about the upcoming comic entitled "A Sheppard’s Tale", as well as how he initially reacted to Book’s death (i.e., not well). However a call from Nathan Fillion and a rewrite helped alleviate his concerns. He also talked about his time on Barney Miller. Overall it was a great Q&A, and we’ll have an article dedicated solely to it, with a lot more detail.
After that panel, I had some time to kill so I headed off to lunch and then lounged around the lobby with both Browncoats and Whedonopolis staffers for a little while, which was fun and relaxing. It’s always a delight to see old friends, and conventions, like these, are sometimes the only way I see certain friends of mine.
Eventually, I made it back in time for the Jewel Staite panel — missing the Jane Espenson panel because I misread the description in the program and didn’t think she was actually THERE. I’ve seen Ms. Staite a few times, and she’s always entertaining and irreverent, and this time was no exception. Looking insanely stylish, she discussed a wide range of topics, from shopping and booking trips online, to how her husband didn’t really like a recent Stargate- Atlantis episode in which she had a kissing scene. She discussed how, for Firefly, she was asked to gain twenty-five pounds in three weeks, how she eventually came to hate the dress from "Shindig," and how she’d have done a "Hills Are Alive" type song if ever there would have been a Firefly musical episode.
She also discussed her Firefly co-stars quite a bit. Apparently, Nathan Fillion is a karaoke fiend, can sing quite well, and stole EVERYTHING from the set of Firefly. Gina Torres and Alan Tudyk can also sing, while Morena Baccarin, according to Ms. Staite, cannot. The crowd ate all this up, very amused and entertained throughout. One of our writers will be covering the Jewel Staite Q&A in exquisite detail in another article, so I won’t repeat things here. Suffice it to say, it was a very entertaining panel.
Once Ms. Staite’s panel was over, that pretty much ended the con for the day unless you were in line for autographs or photos, which I wasn’t. I joined a couple of friends for dinner in the hotel’s awesome restaurant, then headed to a Stargate/Firefly themed room party, where I had a great time drinking and talking with sci-fi fans and making several new friends.
Sunday started early, because Gina "Freaking" Torres — who hasn’t done a convention in forever and a day — was scheduled to start at 10:30 AM. I arrived at the convention center ten minutes before she was scheduled to take the stage. I’d never seen Ms. Torres before, so I had no idea at all what to expect. Because there were three celebrities that day — Gina Torres, Summer Glau and Adam Baldwin — the ballroom was noticeably more crowded than the day before, even though we were told both days had sold out.
When Ms. Torres finally arrived, the audience greeted her with rounding applause. She was dressed fairly casually in comparison to Jewel Staite or Summer Glau, but she still looked absolutely ravishing. Not only that, but she was a total natural with the crowd, as she was exceedingly comfortable, as well as prepared. Since she has "mommy brain," she had a Firefly marathon before the convention and was prepared not only to answer OUR questions, but ask us trivia questions of her own. This led to what’s most likely the most interactive celebrity Q&A I’ve ever seen, as she would ask a question of us, and then allow someone else to ask her a question.
Ms. Torres talked at length about her experiences on Firefly, including one time Zoe wore a dress and how Joss Whedon or Ms. Torres ultimately disliked it and didn’t use it in filming. She also said Zoe was a very complex character to play, and she — as well as the other women on Serenity — were the coolest people on the ship, compared to the men (her impersonation of all of the male characters essentially flipping out was awesome). She also discussed how their pants were "unforgivingly" tight, how she loved her leather vest from Serenity, and again, how Nathan took everything. At one point we all sang the Firefly theme song together, which was a very stirring moment. She also discussed the possibility of playing Wonder Woman, followed by an hilarious impersonation of Lynda Carter‘s spin from the 70’s TV show. This had the crowd roaring.
Again, one of my fellow staff members will have a write-up of Ms. Torres’ Q&A in excruciating detail, so I don’t want to repeat things here. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most entertaining panels of the entire convention. I was told later that Ms. Torres cut her convention chops many years ago doing Xena conventions, which explains her comfort with the crowd.
After Ms. Torres’ panel, I hung around for another panel from Quantum Mechanix regarding their new "Map of the Verse" product, which is a thoroughly-researched and beautiful map of the entire Firefly/Serenity universe as compiled by researchers, scientists and enthusiasts. I love maps, so this was of particular interest to me. The map was amazing, even without the input of Joss Whedon — who is apparently more interested in telling stories than actual science, surprisingly. I plan to get one, once I figure out the logistics of hanging up a double-sided poster in my apartment, though I did get some grea
Anyway, after lunch and more hanging with friends, I returned to the ballroom for Summer Glau‘s panel. I’ve seen Ms. Glau before, and while not as animated as Gina Torres or Nathan Fillion, she’s so dang cute and sweet that you’re entertained as heck, anyway. Ms. Glau talked about her favorite actresses, such as Vanessa Redgrave and Cate Blanchett. She then discussed her use of accents in Angel and Firefly, as well as her challenging role on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. She also talked about how she’d not seen the Terminator films before taking on the project. She — unlike Nathan Fillion — kept nothing from the Firefly set because she was a "good girl," however she kept one of her stuntgirl’s motorcycle boots from Serenity. As before, this panel will be covered in meticulous detail by another writer on my staff, so moving on…
The final panel of the convention was Adam Baldwin, who is always entertaining. He seemed to be in a very good mood when he took the stage — probably caused by the beers he had with Browncoats in the hotel’s restaurant before his Q&A — and seemed quite happy to be there. The first thing he discussed was his charity — the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation — and how the California Browncoats have raised over $10,000 for his charity thanks to selling his donated shirts, scripts and original Jayne hat — all things he took from the Firefly set. He then sang "The Hero of Canton" a bit. This was followed by discussing his current stint on Chuck and how kissing Zach Levi wasn’t a very pleasurable experience. This panel was so entertaining that I honestly didn’t take that many notes, so as mentioned before, we’ll have a full write up of this panel in the days to come.
Once that panel was over, so essentially was the con…for me at least. Since I wasn’t getting autographs or photos, I was essentially done. Over the weekend I had a lovely time with old friends and had a blast making new ones. This, on top of the fantastic con, panels and celebrities made this convention a memorable and enjoyable experience, and I can’t wait for next year’s.