Sunday was a slow start for me. I figured I would be late for Gillian Anderson, so I went shopping for a Mother’s Day gift instead. Gillian (X-Files) had been the official “guest of honour” for the Show, but I’ll maybe catch her panel on the ComicCon’s Youtube channel later (they were all digitally recorded). I somehow completely missed the scheduling of a celebrity Q&A with Nathan Filion by himself for the Sunday (I must have been using a out-of-date schedule since he confirmed late), so missed that. James Marsters was up at lunch time but the wait time and the cold were too much for me to see his Buffy/Smallville discussions, he was Tier III for me, and I’ll catch him on Youtube. Nicholas Brendan (Buffy’s Xander) had been the same for me. Same with David Prowse (Darth Vader).
Which left the big draw for me for Sunday being Wil Wheaton. Yep, I watched ST:TNG and while he wasn’t my favorite character, I didn’t join the wesleycrusherdiediedie fan club either. I also really like him on The Big Bang Theory. So I lined up nice and early, just in case. And froze my ass off. Seriously, it might be worth it for the VIP seats just to avoid the line-ups outside. If I go again in a future year, I’m definitely springing for VIP seats.
Wil’s session was definitely the best one, and here are some highlights:
- Wil opened with a bunch of little stories that he wanted to share, and one of them was about going out for dinner the night before…There was him, his wife, Jewel Staite, her friends, Nathan Filion, Kevin Sorbo, etc. After dinner, a man came over to the table and said to Wil, “You know, I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory. My wife likes it too. Would you mind if we took a picture with you so we can show our kids?”. Wil was happy to oblige, and the man turned and handed his phone to the guy next to Wil and asked him if he would take the picture. The impromptu photographer? Captain Hotpants himself, Nathan Filion. Wil said a few minutes later he was laughing about it, and said, “Hey, everyone, remember that time we all went out for dinner and I upstaged Nathan when the guy asked for my picture”? Apparently Nathan Filion told the same story that morning at his session too;
- Another story he told (kind of like a stand-up routine) was about how he had a secret admirer who had sent him CD boxsets, toys, etc. until his wife figured out it was “drunk Wil”…Wil said he was breaking up with drunk Wil, but not until the new PS4 came out;
- In the Q&A, Wil really shone. You really got the impression you were seeing the “real” Wil behind the scenes as he responded to a question about whether he had felt separated from the cast of ST:TNG being the young one on the show. He said he totally did — on the set, they were peers, shooting scenes, etc. But then the cameras stopped and they were the adults and he was the kid. When he was 14, he said it was like he had 9 parents on the bridge, and it sucked; later, when he was older, it was great as he had 9 people to ask for advice. However, he said there were times where he really wanted to be funny like Levar, or cool like Jonathan Frakes, or as accomplished as Brent Spiner, but he couldn’t “get there” yet and it was really frustrating;
- For Big Bang Theory, he was asked how he liked playing a (hopefully) fictionalized evil Wil Wheaton as Sheldon’s nemesis. He said it was a lot of fun, and he didn’t see it so much as “evil”, as just being a troll to bait Sheldon and watch him go batshit crazy in response;
- Wil was asked about what it was like filming Stand By Me. He said it was very interesting, really, because it was the summer of ’85, in Oregon, the year Back to the Future came out. And Wil used a “curling” story to tell how Rob Reiner filmed the movie — he said Rob was the skip trying to get them into the house, but really he just told them to play themselves and he would “gently” sweep them back on track if they got too far off the line. So he said the characters played by himself, Jerry O’Connell, River Phoenix, and Corey Feldman were pretty much all of them playing themselves;
- Someone complimented Wil on his “Fun With Flags” episode of The Big Bang Theory, and asked him if he did another one, could he use a Canadian flag? Wil said he was more than willing and told a great double-story about filming the scene. He said, first of all, when he walked in the door, the audience made a big “whoo” sound. And in his head, he was like “Woohoo” before he thought “Hey, brain, trying to work here!”. So at the end of the scene, he said to Jim Parsons, “Was that okay? Cuz I had a total brain freeze when I walked in and they cheered.” Then the director said “Great scene, we’re going to shoot it again, oh, and this time audience, we had a small problem with the audio when Wil walked in, can we do it this time without cheering?”. The second story was how amazing Mayim Bialik is as an actor. He noted that during the scene, she’s supposedly filming it as a first-time director. And while it is not seen on camera, the whole scene she is “in character” as Amy, including mouthing the words as Sheldon says them to the fake video camera. So the whole time Wil and Sheldon are doing their scene, Amy is looking at them (with her back to the audience) and acting like Amy filming the scene, even though none of them can see it. Secondly, he said it is amazing watching her timing because unlike the normal instinct to “milk” a laugh after Sheldon says something, her character has to be serious and come in a “beat and a half” afterwards. The “milking” timing would be a single beat, but Mayim can hit the “beat and a half” every time perfectly. Wil thought she was absolutely amazing;
- Someone asked Wil if he could explain his uniform from the first season when he’s an acting ensign — it is grey in colour, unlike all the traditional uniforms, and has three colours on it (blue / yellow / red). He said that while it is often referred to as his rainbow uniform or his gay pride uniform, the logic behind it was that he hadn’t yet become a full ensign so he didn’t have a “field” of study yet and thus was “unaligned” and had all three colours. He noted that one of his friends had gotten his action figure and painted it to match the first season colours and he loves it; and,
- Near the end of the session, Wil stopped the Q&A for a minute and asked a woman sitting in the second row if she was dressed as “Sparks McGee” (cowboy hat, Wesley’s grey three-colour uniform). Since she was, he brought her up on stage to note that “Sparks McGee” is an internet-created non-canonical ST character — what Wesley Crusher would have been if he had been born cool in an alternate universe. He also noted that they show up randomly at various events, and a large percentage of them are also female, so he thinks it’s a really cool creation. She got a big hug for her efforts (she’s shown in the pictures below).
So that ends my first Comic Con experience.
I did enjoy it, different from what I expected in terms of the panels (partly I’m sure because the draw is smaller so fewer panels with multiple-cast-members). I don’t know that I’d be in a big rush to go again next year, depends on who is confirmed I suppose.
If I did go again, I would definitely want to get the VIP tickets…waiting outside in general lines was just a silly waste of time. I didn’t buy any souvenirs this time around (well, okay, I bought a lanyard because my pass wouldn’t stay pinned to my jacket and I didn’t want to lose it), and I didn’t miss out on anything I really wanted, but I might treat myself to a photo or a signing next time if there was some big actor I wanted to meet.
I was really disappointed there was no presence from four of my favorite shows — Arrow (a natural fit for the Convention crowd, and several guests were in Green Arrow costumes); Lost Girl (a strong Canadian show with focus on the fae and the horror side); similarly for Grimm (horror, vessen); and Continuum (my favorite sci-fi show currently, and it includes lots of actors from past big shows, including Lexa Doig married to Michael Shanks (Part 4), and the show has a strong focus on TIME TRAVEL, hello, what says Comic Con / Sci-fi more than TIME TRAVEL????).
I also think I missed out on some of the experience by going by myself. There were lots of people to talk to in line, but most of them are WAY WAY WAY more into the stuff than I am, and I found that extremely intimidating. I’m just not that excited about these shows. Now, if the star of Continuum was there, I would have chatted about the show with anyone and everyone. And my friends are either of the “not interested” fandom (like my wife) or “hardcore” fans, neither of which would add to my experience. I don’t mind going by myself, but a fan of similar level of interest would be a good companion, I think. Of course, it would be hard to convince a friend who was only “moderately interested” to shell out $200 next time for VIP tickets though, even with a free t-shirt and lanyard, but going by myself wouldn’t deter me. 🙂 It wasn’t the GREATEST EXPERIENCE EVER, but it was fun for a weekend.