Sunday, July 19, 2015

#JennAtSDCC: Comic-Con, Friday Edition ("I'm learning so much on this panel!")

The girls and I got a lot of sleep on Thursday night because we vowed we would be well-rested for the following day. Actually, I'm surprised at how much sleep I really DID get while I was at Comic-Con. But that's also because I didn't care to sleep in the Hall H line -- not when the only thing I really wanted to see there was on Saturday evening. Still, we woke up to a freezing room on Friday and embarked on our respective journeys for that day. Ilene, Melissa, and I were headed to Ballroom 20 for the majority of the day so we woke up and they meandered over there earlier to save spots in line for the first panel of the day.

Friday schedule:
- The Big Bang Theory writers' panel (10-11 AM)
- The 100 panel (12:30-1:30 PM)
- Orphan Black panel (5:45-6:45 PM)

So let's dive into a discussion about what I learned through my various Friday panels, shall we?

The Big Bang Theory panel highlights:

  • I cannot lie to you -- Melissa, Ilene, and I weren't really looking forward to TBBT's panel, especially because none of the cast was slated to attend. But as we listened, we actually found it to be really insightful and hilarious. I discovered that I really don't care for Chuck Lorre as a person, but absolutely love the fact that he threw shade at Two and a Half Men (true story) at the panel. You can say what you want about the series itself, but if you look on stage, you'll see that the show actually has a pretty diverse group of writers instead of middle-aged white men (like, I can't lie, Community had for the last three seasons).
  • Kunal Nayyar (Raj) showed up and was the special guest moderator of the panel!
  • Notable quote: "After nine years, [opening the script] still feels like Christmas." - Kunal
  • Steve Molaro talked about the biggest challenges in TBBT: making sure that they take special care to get the big, emotional moments (like Sheldon telling Amy he loves her, the Leonard/Penny proposal, the loss of Howard's mom, etc.) exactly right.
  • Mayim Bialik made a special appearance on stage and she and Kunal read a piece of fanfic that the writers wrote for their characters. It was hilarious and wonderful.
  • Mayim talked about how she and Jim Parsons communicate a lot and have a particular process in how they play Sheldon and Amy. Sometimes, she noted, the writers will do things that surprise them and they always talk through those big moments together.
  • The writers and Mayim talked about TBBT existing now in a time where it's more acceptable to be a nerd regarding certain things and how the show will continue to develop now that it's cooler to read comics, etc.
  • Notable quote: "It can still be lonely to be different." - Mayim Bialik, dropping the mic on everything.
  • When asked by an audience member about why Sheldon hates engineers, the writers responded: "He hates what he doesn't understand."
  • The writers then talked about something pretty amazing that they do -- the show gives $4 million in scholarships to UCLA for STEM students. Why? They had a lot of people contact them regarding the fact that TBBT inspired them to pursue careers in fields of science. (The show, by the way, has a dedicated scientific expert on staff -- he was at the panel -- to ensure they get everything as accurate as possible.) Chuck Lorre and the other producers mentioned how floored they were that people were making life choices based on their show, so they knew they had to give back to them somehow.
  • The cast and the writers seem to genuinely love and appreciate each other, which was so great to see.
Kunal and Mayim reading Raj/Amy fanfic.

After the panel for The Big Bang Theory, Ilene and I darted to the bathroom and noticed something as we did -- the bathroom we chose was right next to where the talent was apparently being held backstage in Ballroom 20. We mentally filed this information away for future use. 

The girls and I waited in the ballroom through a Falling Skies panel (which we do not watch and did not know had been on for FIVE years on TNT) before The 100. It pays, as I said, to be early because we got really great seats for the panel because we showed up ahead of time. In between Falling Skies and The 100, I got to meet the absolutely darling Isabella, which was so great. Meeting friends in real life that I've known online is one of the best feelings. If you've experienced this, you know exactly what I'm talking about -- that feeling of joy of finally being able to talk face-to-face with them is the best.

Isabella was cosplaying as Raven Reyes and she was the CUTEST

The panel for The 100 kicked off with a stellar sizzle reel. Here are some of the highlights of the panel:
  • I didn't realize 85% of the cast had accents (I knew Eliza did but didn't know about Bob or Ricky), which was an unexpectedly wonderful surprise.
  • Ricky Whittle wore a Linctavia hat. It was amazing.
  • There's going to be a time jump between seasons two and three -- the first one that we've really had on the series.
  • Notable quote: "She [Clarke] has gone batsh-t crazy. Am I allowed to say that?" - Eliza Taylor on Clarke's mental state when the third season begins.
  • Notable quote: "Raven's coming out on top, guys!" - Lindsey Morgan on Raven Reyes in the upcoming season.
  • Since The 100 deals a lot with morality and the blurred lines of good and evil, there was a really good question asked at the panel of whether or not the characters can ever be considered good people again in the classical sense, after all they've done. Ricjy Whittle noted that to him, within the context of the show and what the characters have had to do to survive, "there are no good people -- there is only perspective." Obviously, Eliza discussed Clarke's choice at the end of the last season to kill those in the mountain in order to save her own people. Jason discussed the fact that there are always questions of morality and the fact that the Grounders can justify their choice to abandon Clarke's people in Mount Weather because they're trying to save their own.
  • Notable quote: "There's no easy answer in the show, ever." - Jason Rothenberg
  • The actors have thought about their own moral compasses, too, as their characters have struggled.
  • It's revealed that Lexa is returning to the show (which earned cheers from those in the audience who ship Clexa), but Eliza Taylor warned that it won't be a warm and fuzzy reunion. Clarke is going to be suffering a lot.
  • Eliza revealed that she would love for Clarke to meet up with Jaha and Murphy, but Jason noted that the two groups are so far separated from each other at this point that it's unlikely they'll cross paths.
  • Jason revealed that season three will delve into the politics, spirituality, and mysticism of the Grounders, which sounds pretty cool. We'll get to learn, specifically, about what happens to those who have deformations or disabilities within that culture and how the group treats them.
  • Bob Morley and Eliza Taylor were asked a Bellarke question, where Bob admitted that he loves the pairing of Bellamy/Clarke, but doesn't feel like there are any romantic inclinations or feelings there. However, it was stated at the panel that: "Clarke gave Bellamy the confidence to make decisions... I don't think he thinks he can do that without her."
  • Jason Rothenberg, notable ship instigator on Twitter, stated that he'll never completely shut out the idea of a romantic relationship between Bellamy and Clarke though.
  • A fan got up to the mic to ask a question and became so nervous that she started crying. Ricky Whittle ran -- literally RAN AND JUMPED -- off the stage and hugged her, before putting his arm around her while she asked the question.
  • A fan asked about the fact that not many shows have title music or sequences anymore, and Jason said he believes that "a good sci-fi show needs a good title sequence."
  • Eliza talked about the most emotionally draining material for her last season. "Shooting the season finale... the emotional toll of that was pretty heavy."
  • At one point, Isaiah Washington ran out of the panel to use the bathroom and was gone when he was asked a question. He literally ran BACK into the panel and was out of breath while answering. It was hilarious.
  • The cast does all of their own stunts, making things like hanging upside down really tiresome and tedious for Bob Morley. Eliza also mentioned that she's sustained a lot of random bruises from filming. Ricky Whittle revealed that his first scene in season three is a stunt.
  • If the cast were to cosplay at Comic-Con, Marie Avgeropoulos said she would go as Catwoman; Bob would be Pikachu, and Eliza would be dressed as Sailor Moon.
  • Jason said that in season three, there's less tension between the Grounders and the sky people, but that won't last for long. Additionally, everyone will be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder after the events of the finale and what they had to do.
  • Notable quote: "I'm learning so much on this panel!" - Eliza Taylor
  • Notable quote: "They'll fall into hope with each other." - Jason Rothenberg, on whether the morality of the series will allow for any bright spots in the show moving forward.
Some more fun photos from the panel:

After The 100, the girls stayed for Marvel's panels, while Ilene and I ventured into the hallway again. We headed into the bathroom... where we ran into Lindsey Morgan and Marie Avgeropoulos. We didn't talk to them (or Eliza Taylor when she went in moments later) because... well, how awkward is it to talk to a celebrity in the bathroom? Super awk. Instead, Ilene and I ventured into the hallway where we ran into Isabella again, who said she met Lindsey (and brandished the panel nametag that the actress gave her) and Bob Morley.

Ilene and I basically gave up on life at that point. We hung out in the hallway still, since my next panel wasn't until 5:45 PM and we needed to charge our phones. There. we met a creepy dude who tried to engage us in conversation when we CLEARLY were not interested. He kept entering my personal space and Ilene and I made eye contact with a security guard who was positioned outside of a door a few feet away and was fully prepared to step toward us if the guy didn't leave. When creep-o noticed we made eye contact, he left. Moral of the story: make friends with the security guards. They'll have your backs.

Ilene headed back to Ballroom 20 for some panels and I headed toward the floor, which I hadn't yet visited. Holy crap, the exhibit floor is INSANE. Like... claustrophobic people, beware. Try to go during a time where a lot of people are in panels, because you'll be packed close to people if you do not. Still, the floor was an enjoyable experience and I got the chance to see some pretty cool studios and their displays:


All of the Arrow costumes on display!

The Flash costumes on display, too!

Blurry, but HEY. That's Doctor Who's Missy! ;)

In trying to find out exactly WHERE the Orphan Black panel was, I ended up walking in a GIANT CIRCLE AROUND THE ENTIRE SECOND FLOOR. I kid you not. I was really disappointed, but also a bit thankful because at least I walked off the tacos I was about to eat later that night.

Surprisingly, Orphan Black's panel was held in a smaller ballroom that still had seats available when I entered at around 3 PM. Once again: if you have no other panels planned, it PAYS to be early. I was near the very back for a panel about video games and as soon as that one filtered out to let Colony in, I BOLTED toward the front and ended up getting a seat about five rows from the stage. 

The panel for Carlton Cruse's new USA series Colony (which we got a few sneak peeks of -- one that was eleven minutes, the first eleven of the show -- and a trailer for during the panel) kicked off. Here's what I learned during it:
  • One of the credits mentioned for Josh Holloway was Community. That amused me.
  • Notable quote: "What's up with you and the apocalypse?" -  moderator question directed at Sarah Wayne Callies.
  • Okay, so at a few panels I was in during the weekend, the panel planted an actor or one of its cast members in the audience to ask a question for a bit. They planted Richard Alpert in the audience to ask Carlton Cruse a LOST question. It was... awkward. Definitely cringe-inducing and not funny. NO MORE BITS, COMIC-CON.
  • When Sarah Wayne Callies was asked whether or not she has watched The Walking Dead since she left, she admitted that she never watches herself on television or in movies. She can't. But she did note that she and Andy (Andrew Lincoln) have a pact that five years after TWD finishes, they will sit down and watch the entire series together.
  • Josh got asked about his long hair and beard and said that "I kinda let myself go between projects." He wasn't purposefully bringing the Sawyer look back, apparently.
  • Carlton Cruse was asked to sum up Colony and he claimed it was an "espionage thriller with science-fiction elements."
Soon, it was time for the Orphan Black panel! Funnily enough, BBC America released exclusive content that was aired at the panel but placed an embargo on it for the press until after the panel ended. Retta, from Parks and Recreation, was the moderator of the panel and honestly, I LOVE when fans of the show moderate the panels. They always ask such good questions, rather than the detached journalists. 

QUEEN Retta, y'all.

I started watching Orphan Black because I knew I would be attending Comic-Con and wanted to be caught up (I actually have yet to watch season three, but I don't mind spoilers so I attended the panel anyway). I absolutely was blown away by the talent that Tatiana Maslany conveys on screen. She's not just a delight to watch, but also so impressive because she's such an amazing seasoned actor even though she's only been on the show for three years. Anyway, here are the things we were treated to during the panel:
  • Notable quote: "It's a clone show... so why not?"
  • Dylan Bruce talked about how Paul's death was sad for him, but he honestly just wanted to be portrayed as going out like a boss (which he did).
  • Notable quote: "Paul redeemed himself as a gentleman... scholar... boss." - Dylan Bruce
  • On the infamous dancing scene this season, Kristian Bruun said: "I'm the Canadian Shakira."
  • Maria Doyle Kennedy was asked about whether or not she was nervous to sing karaoke in front of her cast mates since she's actually a singer and has performed before. She said it was extremely nervewracking.
  • During the panel, Jordan Gavaris was answering a question and -- mid-sentence -- a service dog in the audience barked. Jordan stopped his sentence in the middle, peered over the table and said: "Hi doggy!" He then explained: "I say hi to dogs, but I don't talk to their owners."
  • The entire cast doted on Tatiana and her acting abilities. Maria talked about how they were in interviews before and were asked whether or not Tatiana actually has a flaw. At the time, Maria said she couldn't think of anything but in the middle of the panel, she did: "Occasionally, [Tatiana] just lets one out... she lets out a big fart."
  • When talking about her excitement in being able to portray the sweet Krystal clone this season, Tatiana revealed her inspiration for the character: Jenny Slate on Kroll Show.
  • Retta discussed the suspension of disbelief she has when Helena is portraying the other clones and then asked a really important question: "When is Helena going to get some concealer?" since that is the biggest tell that a clone is Helena.
  • Tatiana was asked about the clones impersonating the other clones and Cosima's reluctance to do so: "Cosima's just like 'I love science. Why are you making me do this?'"
  • The producers were asked about their show portraying the LGBTQ-positive aspects of their show and noted that, to them, they want to portray real people and real relationships.
  • When asked about whether or not Delphine is really dead, the producers gave some elusive answers: "There's a reason why it's a mystery." "... Because it's a mystery."
  • Tatiana talked about how much she would love to return to live theatre in New York someday.
  • When asked about the most special fan experiences they've had, Tatiana said that every Comic-Con is the most special for her. For Graeme Manson, the most special thing for him to see is how the Clone Club interacts with each other. Watching their relationships form is one of the most touching things.
  • John Fawcett talked about how he has always wanted to see a prequel story involving Helena and her origins.
  • A fan asked which clone Tatiana would miss the most if she had to stop playing one of them. After a lot of deliberation, she said that she would miss Alison the most.
  • Dylan Bruce closed out the panel with a mic-drop quote: "Once you're in Clone Club... you're always in Clone Club."
Some photos:

After the amazing panel concluded, I headed to Lolita's in Petco Park to have dinner with the absolutely adorable Lindsay and Kayti. I talked about them a little bit when I recapped the highlights of Comic-Con, but honestly... it was so great to spend time with them, talking and laughing over amazing and authentic tacos. We were all so busy between press rooms and panels and Nerd HQ events that this was the only time we got to talk face-to-face at the convention. But I loved it. Those two women were so sweet and so exemplary of the kind of people you should aspire to be social media friends with (and real-life friends with). Dinner with them concluded a really nice day at the con.


TACOS. *heart eyes*

Cosplays of the Day - Friday:

AMAZING Camp Jaha cosplay before The 100 panel!

Of COURSE I found an Arrow and Flash.

The cutest Amy Pond and Rory Williams. Her: "I was really excited to find an excuse to cosplay and wear comfy clothes. That's literally why I chose this."

And I was thankful for a relaxing evening before an INSANE Saturday... that began with me waking up with a cold. But we'll get to that in another post. Until then, hit up the comments with your thoughts and questions. :)


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