Jul. 16th, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
What a weird Comic Con year it has been. For the first time since attending the con, I missed Friday AND Saturday. Sunday is kind of a surreal experience. There aren’t a lot of people when you first get there, but while it’s a short day—the whole thing shuts down at five—the later it got, the more crowded it got.

And because I had only two days total at the con, one a short day, it felt like the Reader’s Digest Con. It was a constant marathon of running from points A to B and taking a much faster pace than I usually do. I had no time to meet up with anyone and I didn’t even bother with saying hi to people at club tables this year. No time to linger watching the SCA guys beat the tar out of each other. Little time to do any people-watching, except watching out for people coming right toward you.

For the first time since attending Comic Con, I missed just about every Star Wars panel since they were all on Friday and Saturday. A part of me is still not very pleased with Dave Filoni and I’m kind of 50/50 on seeing anything besides the season premiere of S5 at Celebration. But given that I planned my first ever SDCC attendance around seeing the Star Wars presentation in Hall H in 2004, it was weird missing all of that.

Before I get to the festivities, I’ll talk a little bit about good celebrity behavior. Even though I wasn’t there, I’d heard about Robert Downey Jr.’s appearance to promote Iron Man 3. So many of these Hollywood dopes’ appearances at Comic Con are so perfunctory, like they’d rather be somewhere else instead of stuck in a freezing cold auditorium filled with the peasants who waited for hours just for the privilege of breathing the same air. They hop out of their limos, take a few publicity photos, go out on stage and sit there like a bored totem pole, avoiding saying very much and answering questions with gritted teeth until their hour’s up, then they speed off in the limos, leaving a puff of dust behind them. But not RDJ! Nope, he was going to make it worth everyone’s while. Downey danced down the aisles in Hall H, high fived fans while wearing his Iron Man glove, and when a girl asking a question mentioned it was her 15th birthday, he got the whole crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to her. And that is why America loves this guy.

First up on Sunday morning was the Merlin panel. Surprisingly, it was really easy to get in. I just got in line as soon as I got to the convention center and a few minutes later they started letting everybody into the room. I found a pretty decent seat. Eventually the room got close to capacity and the woman sitting in front of me said of the three years they’ve had Merlin panels, this was the biggest crowd yet. Maybe a Knights of the Old Republic panel slated right afterwards helped boost attendance but I could still tell many of the folks were there for the show. On the way in, we got envelopes with postcards, pins, and a code for beta access to a new online game based on the show. British publicists for the show were filming the crowd and getting everybody to cheer and stuff.

(If you don’t care about Merlin, skip below to the bathroom story.)

The panelists were showrunners Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy, Angel Coulby (Guinevere), Katie McGrath (Morgana), and Colin Morgan (Merlin). Unfortunately Bradley James, the guy who plays Arthur, couldn’t be there since he was needed for filming. Murphy explained later on that he couldn’t have Morgan and James appear at the same time without stopping production on the show. In years past the con coincided with a production break.

Prior to the beginning of the panel, they kept switching around the name cards, with people cheering if Morgan’s name card got moved closer to their end. Eventually he ended up sitting on my end, which made my neighbors very happy.

I live Tweeted the panel (you can also get a more detailed rundown on @MerlinOfficial) and boy did I get a lot of traffic from Merlin fans! Katie McGrath even favorited one of my Tweets later on. *Blush.* Three years will have passed between the end of Season Four and the beginning of Season Five. Guinevere’s character changes now that she’s queen and Morgana had been imprisoned all of this time, so she’s out for revenge. Mordred’s coming back as is Uther Pendragon, though it’s not clear if it’s a one-off appearance or not. We got to see some clips from the upcoming season—lots o’ fighting and magic of course—and got some further hints, like the appearance of another dragon. We also saw blooper reels and a funny segment with the guy playing Leon trying to make the show about him.

Colin Morgan’s even better looking in person I have to say. The fangirls love him. I’ve mentioned before the bromance-y vibe between Merlin and Arthur on the show and there were laughs when Murphy mentioned “these two love each other,” and there was even a jokey slashy reference to the knights. (Either that or I’ve been in fandom way too long.) This was Coulby’s first Comic Con. Both of the ladies look just as lovely in person as they do on t.v.. McGrath mentioned she likes the less elaborate gowns she wears now because they’re a lot more comfortable, while Coulby likes being the show’s new fashion plate with the many costume changes.

One interesting thing I learned from the panel is that the show’s production schedule is ridiculously tight. They often finish an episode just right before it airs and they’re still writing and filming shows from the same season that’s on the air. It wouldn’t be unusual if this was a show that aired September through May, but British shows have much shorter seasons than our shows do (cable excepted).

Once the panel was over, it was about lunch time. But first a trip to the restroom. We had to wait a few minutes because Merlin’s stars had to cross the hallway from the auditorium to a nearby press room. They walked less than 10 feet away and I didn’t even think of taking a picture. Go figure!

I made my way to the restroom and had to wait for a stall to open up. Finally, one door opens and I move to take the spot. Out steps none other than Catherine Taber, Padme on Clone Wars! Now, not even showbiz people like being recognized in the john, so I didn’t say anything but I wonder if my t-shirt and Artoo pendant gave it away, heh heh. Taber was appearing at the KOTOR panel, which is I guess why she was in the neighborhood. It was truly an “only at Comic Con” moment. Thanks for keeping the throne warm!

After having some bbq pork from one of the lunch trucks, I went back to the convention center and realized time was very short and I had stuff to buy for other people, including birthday gifts. Fortunately, some vendors had even more stuff they did on Thursday and more than a few were already putting their goods on sale. I got some books 30% at one place, a book for ten bucks elsewhere, and a Tokidoki t-shirt for 50% off. But some vendors sold out of stuff already and the We Love Fine booth’s brony line didn’t budge an inch. I was told they’ll be at Celebration with two booths and a lot more Star Wars. I took a couple of pics here and there of the floor displays. The James Bond booth had a boat from “The World Is Not Enough” on Thursday and a car from “The Living Daylights” on Sunday. A different vehicle every day?

Before I knew it, the clock struck 3:30 and I was out of there. Even as I was leaving, traffic was building up around the convention center, as though everyone decided to drive by the place now that the con was almost over.

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