San Diego Comic-Con 2014 (Part 3) – Joss Whedon Nerd HQ and Outlander Premier

Hot Nerd Girl Outlander

Welcome to Part 3 of my San Diego Comic-Con wrap-up! This section is all about the Joss Whedon Nerd HQ panel-turned-last-minute-Mystery-Guest-panel and the Outlander premier.

If you missed Part 1 go HERE. If you missed Part 2 go HERE.

NERD HQ

Hayden (Geek Outlaw), Podthingy cohost John MulhallHNG Podcast cohost Darcy Villere, and I were all really excited to nab tickets to the Joss Whedon Nerd HQ panel. Nerd HQ panels are quickly becoming the hottest ticket in town during SDCC and the tickets sell out, literally, in the blink of an eye. I’m not joking. I blinked and the tickets for The Walking Dead and Nathan Fillion panels were GONE. Joss had been our first choice though so we were happy just to walk away with tickets to his “Conversation for a Cause” benefiting Operation Smile. Then, the day before the panel, a rumor started circulating that Joss had been laid up with a sudden knee surgery and wouldn’t be able to make it. We had no idea if they would cancel the panel or Skype Joss in or try to make it up to us by bringing in someone else. It turned into the ultimate Mystery Panel (though my bet was always on Nathan Fillion). We had no idea right up until the moment we took our seats and the show started.

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It turned out that I was right and out walked Nathan Fillion, quickly followed by Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), Chloe Bennet (Agents of SHIELD), Seth Green, and Alan Tudyk.

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During the very first audience question my phone buzzed with a text message from Darcy who was sitting on the other side of the theater with John. Turns out Hayden and I were on camera the entire time the girl was asking her question and Darcy snapped a picture of it.

Hot Nerd Girl Nerd HQ The Nerd Machine

One of the audience members got more than she bargained for when she tried to ask a question. First Liam showed that he was paying rapt attention.

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Then everyone else decided to join him. With the exception of Seth who decided it was more important to take pictures for posterity.

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Then, about halfway through – tada!- Joss Whedon turned up via Skype from his bed in London where they were just finishing up filming Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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And proved that he is, indeed, the Puppet Master.

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Watch the entire Nerd HQ Conversation with Joss Whedon and Mystery Panel here (keep an eye out for me and Geek Outlaw at 10:52):

[youtube:http://youtu.be/JlLgIVt2XIc]

STARZ OUTLANDER PREMIER

HNG Outlander 1

Yes, I’m dressed like Captain Malcolm Reynolds. We came straight from Comic-Con, mmmkay?

I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember and, as a result, I quickly got tired of books meant for my age group and was always on the lookout for books that would challenge me. This is why, when I was around the age of 14 or so, my Dad handed me a book that my Stepmom had recommended to him and said “here, read this, I think you’ll like it.” That book was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and I was smitten. It took several more years but I eventually convinced Mama Jedi to give it a try and she quickly became as enraptured by the story of Jamie and Claire as I was. Outlander is one of those books that I’ve recommended to more people than I can count. Whenever someone asked me what book I would want to make into a movie, I never hesitated to say Outlander. So it was quite fitting that two Star Trek alums (I’m a Trekkie in case you’re new here), Ronald D. Moore and Ira Steven Behr, made it happen in a way that honors the spirit and vision of the world Gabaldon created.

First we waited in a rather lengthy line and completely skipped Hall H in order to check out the SDCC panel. Panelists: Ronald D. Moore (Producer), Diana Gabaldon (Writer), Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall), Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Tobias Menzies (Frank Randall/Black Jack Randall), Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie), Lotte Verbeek (Geillis Duncan)

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Turns out, in Scotland, Gaelic is pronounced “Gall-ick” not “Gay-lick.” I learn something new every day. We also learned that they thought it would be most difficult to cast the part of Jamie but it turns out they found Heughan pretty quickly and ended up having the hardest time casting Claire. Like me, Gabaldon was not initially impressed with Heughan’s look and couldn’t picture him as Jamie (I believe she initially called him “hideous” – ha!), but then she saw him in the part and he grew on her (me too). Moore has included Gabaldon pretty much every step of the way, resulting in a TV series that Gabaldon is both excited about and proud of. Gabaldon and George RR Martin are good friends and will often commiserate with and try to one-up each other. For example, it seems that Martin is quite jealous that Outlander has 16 episodes instead of just ten. We even got a highly amusing kilt twirl from Ron Moore.

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Mama Jedi and I also visited the Outlander booth in the Exhibitor Hall a few times. Which had everything to do with checking out the period props and nothing at all to do with the handsome men in kilts *ahem*

Hot Nerd Girl Outlander SDCC

Thanks to a little help from Geek Outlaw, we managed to nab a couple of passes to the Starz World Premier at the Spreckels Theatre just a few blocks down from the Convention Center.

Outlander invite

The crowd was impressive, as was the plaid carpet.

Outlander World Premier

Once inside, we were forced, forced I tell you, to walk through the lobby between two rows of even more handsome men in kilts standing on logs and boulders looking all tall and manly. Mama Jedi was a bit twitterpated, methinks. I almost tripped and fell flat on my face at one point because I was too busy looking at all of the studliness surrounding me and not even remotely paying attention to where I was going. I have no idea if anyone saw that. I’m really hoping that nobody saw that.

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Luckily our seats were on the aisle…

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… so we had a great view of the theatre and the screen with its bevy of Scottish Highlander historical FAQ.

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The women behind and to the right of us seemed to be in a group together and they were pretty much obsessed with getting pictures of the actors. Every time I looked over my shoulder all I saw was a sea of glowing smart phone screens.

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When the actors finally did walk in, every woman (and some of the men) jumped to their feet and surged forward. I was slightly concerned for the actor’s safety, but the fans ended up behaving themselves. Can you tell how amused I was by all of this by the fact that I took pictures of the people as opposed to pictures of the actors?

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The one exception I made was Tobias Menzies who walked by right next to me and was so close that this was the picture I got and my camera wasn’t even zoomed in.

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The show started with some intro music by three lovely and talented female bagpipe players.

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The first episode did not disappoint. It is available to watch HERE for those who are interested (trust me, be interested).

We were then treated to a Q&A with the same folks we saw on the Comic-Con panel…

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… and an almost flash from Graham McTavish.

[youtube:http://youtu.be/yrzhWGQnHNs]

After which we got a proverbial cherry topper to our Outlander ice cream in the form of a musical performance from none other than composer Bear McCreary himself.

[youtube:http://youtu.be/raTZZmKfrRU]

[youtube:http://youtu.be/IQHfBgwkCCs]

All in all, a fabulous experience well worth skipping dinner for.

And that wraps up my 2014 San Diego Comic-Con wrap-up! Thanks for tuning in and I’ll see you at the next Con!

Hot Nerd Girl San Diego Comic Con goodbye

Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 in case you missed them.

San Diego Comic Con, Part 1 – The Panels

Hot Nerd Girl and Geek Outlaw at it again

I promised detailed blogs about Comic Con and by golly, I aim to keep that promise. There’s just one problem. There’s waaaay too much for just one post. I tried. I’ve gone through approx. 1000 pictures (no joke) and narrowed them down to the best of the best and even then I was left with so many that I had to break it up.  So I’m splitting SDCC into 3 (or 4) blogs.  The first of which is the panels.

FRIDAY (Community, Legend of Korra, Firefly):

I’ve been to many conventions but this was my first time at the mothership aka Comic Con and boy, did I learn a lot about what to do/not to do (but that’s a whole ‘nuther post). I thought that because I live in San Diego County I could sleep at home and drive to SDCC each day.

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I’m ridiculous.

Parking is a bitch so what you end up having to do is drive to a trolley station and take the trolley the rest of the way. They helpfully provide CC-specific trolleys to make it easy for you. One problem, the first one gets you to the Convention Center just after 7:00am. Waaaay too late if you want to get in line for one of the big panels *cough cough Firefly cough cough*

Daniel to the rescue!

Lucky for me and Geek Outlaw, our mutual fan (and now fave friend) Daniel, had planned to camp out and saved a spot for us in the Ballroom 20 line. I felt guilty about cutting in line for exactly 3 minutes at which point I saw everyone else doing the exact same thing and got over it.

I’m not gonna lie, I was there for Firefly and Firefly alone. But you have to sit on all of the panels before Firefly in order to have a seat for Firefly (they seriously need to figure out a better system) so I ended up sitting through the panels fro Community and Legend of Korra as well.

I wasn’t the only one.

The first panel of the day was Community. I find Community highly entertaining so I was more than happy to sit in on their panel. They did not disappoint. The cast and crew were hilarious and the film clips they put together for Comic Con were chock full of funny shenanigans. Chevy Chase and Donald Glover were noticeably absent. Which is too bad because LeVar Burton was there and they could have had an epic Troy/LeVar moment.

Cast and Crew of Community

The second panel of the day was Legend of Korra (I’d like to know who they had to bang to get the lucky spot between Community and Firefly). This panel was like Chinese water torture for my sister-in-law. She looked like she was either going to explode or throw up. Maybe both. Simultaneously. I had an advantage because I’ve seen a bit of Avatar: The Last Airbender. So I actually enjoyed the panel. It was notable in that I recognized two of the voice actors. Bud (David Faustino) from Married with Children and Janet Varney from The Selling (which I reviewed a while back because it’s directed/produced/starring our mutual friends from SFSU). It was also fun because they recorded the audience doing crowd voice work for a future episode. I’ll admit, it got me intrigued about checking out an episode or two of the cartoon. For those who are Korra fans, they did a preview of an upcoming episode by reading the script live while showing concept sketches of the episode. They also showed off future costume and character designs.

The cast and crew of The Legend of Korra

Hey! It’s the chick from Falling Skies!

Then came the panel we were there for, the 10 year Firefly reunion. It was epic. Truly epic. I felt like I was a part of history. The sheer volume of love being poured forth was incredibly intense. The actors and Joss all cried at some point. Most of the audience cried at some point. My mom cried through 90% of it. It was magical. I took video of parts of it but then I found this full length video and thought you would appreciate it more.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V85olh2aZ34]

Nathan Fillion was so overwhelmed that he totally missed a question that was directed at him and his costars had to answer for him.  They all said that Firefly was the best job they’d ever had. At one point they all blamed Summer Glau for something (which you’ll find hilarious if you’ve watched the extras on the DVD) and the look on her face was priceless. Gina Torres, Jewel StaiteMorena Baccarin, and Ron Glass were missing and their absence was felt deeply by everyone in the room. The most touching moment in an hour chock full of touching moments was when the last question was asked of Joss Whedon –  “what do the fans mean to you?”

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXiS0gV8cic]

It was the most beautiful “thank you” I’ve ever witnessed and I feel truly honored to have been there for it.

Tid bit excited!

SATURDAY (Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski, Roddenberry Presents):

Saturday was the day I cosplayed as Thor. Which was awesome but awful at the same time. It was my first time cosplaying at a convention and I underestimated the amount of time it would take to get ready. As a result I got to Comic Con about…ohhhhh….5 hours later than I’d intended and missed a bunch of the morning panels I’d wanted to check out. I’m a little jealous that Geek Outlaw got to sit it on the Powerful Women, Simpsons, Futurama, Once Upon a Time, and Peter Cullen panels but meh, what are you gonna do?

(Be sure to check out Geek Outlaw‘s blog if you want to get the dish on those panels I just mentioned!)

No matter, I had something uber awesome to look forward to. I was scheduled to interview Rod Roddenberry after his 3:00pm panel.

As a result I caught the Joe Straczynski panel right beforehand. The best part of that panel? One guy complained that a Joe comic had kept him up on a school night so Joe reached into his wallet and gave the guy a $20 refund.  It was quite hilarious.

The Roddenberry panel was a whole ‘nuther level of awesomesauce but I’m saving all of the Roddenberry stuff for its own post later this week. So stay tuned for that!

SUNDAY (Fringe, Supernatural, Doctor Who):

I was supposed to cosplay on Sunday as well but my experience on Saturday convinced me that it was a terrible idea so I reverted back to an HNG t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Comfort and timeliness will always, always win out for me. I am nothing if not practical.

Morgan to the rescue!

The one panel that I was determined to see was Doctor Who. I lurv me some Doctor. Again, thanks to the trolley schedule, we were pretty much screwed but miraculously, another HNG/GO fan came to our rescue. Morgan camped out and let us join him in line for Hall H. Seriously. Best. Fans. Ever. I’ve promised myself that I will plan this better and do my own camping out next year.

Immediately upon walking into Hall H we were handed Fringe fedoras a la The Observers  (fun fact, while I was in New York I saw Evita on Broadway starring Michael Cerveris as Peron and he was AH-mazing)

Fringe was the first panel of the day and after mentioning their brushes with cancellation, there was a very lovely moment when at least half the audience held up pictures of white tulips. I’ll admit that I got a little verklempt.

Despite the best efforts of the audience (and some teasing from Joshua Jackson), the Fringe cast and crew revealed no secrets about the upcoming final season.

It was kind of a kick to see the actors smile and laugh. There was one especially funny moment when Anna Torv said she “was coming…” and then paused in her sentence. The audience started laughing.

Then Joshua Jackson got it and started laughing.

Then the rest of the cast got it and started laughing.

Then Anna got it and was completely mortified.

It then became a running joke throughout the rest of the panel. I feel for you Anna, that is totally something that would happen to me. The mood quickly shifted when the cast were asked what their favorite scene was that they were not in. Cue the waterworks! Anna Torv,  Jasika Nicole, and Lance Reddick all teared up when describing memorable and beautiful scenes from the show.

And then shifted back again just as quickly when the best audience questioners ever took the floor. I can’t even remember what their question was, I was too busy laughing at their deadpan Observer impression. Seriously, they never broke character once and the girl in the back right had the most amazingly creepy buggy-eyed thing going on..

It was an all around awesome panel and made me want to run home and catch up on my Fringe episodes on Netflix.

Next up was Supernatural, a show I’ve never had time to get into. Seriously, I wish that I didn’t have to sleep, I would be more than happy to fill 100% of my time watching every awesomely nerdy show there is. I have some friends that are obsessed with this show and have been trying to get me to watch it for years. They were very jealous that I got to see this panel. The running joke here was that “anything is possible” was used to answer at least half of the questions they were asked.

I may not know much about the show but I do know about Mark Sheppard and I was SUPER excited to see him. I’m pretty sure that he’s contractually obligated to only appear in TV shows/movies that are nerd-worthy.

I never really thought that Jared Padalecki was that cute but I must admit, he’s pretty damn good-looking in real life. He and Jensen Ackles win major brownie points for their gag reel antics.

Then came the panel that I was really there for, Doctor Who. Or should I say “Doctor WHOOO???” Seeing these people in real life is kind of a surreal experience. I usually only get star struck by Star Trek actors but I was totally star struck by these guys. I literally sat on the edge on my seat the entire time. And that’s only partly because the girl in front of me was so tall she most likely plays in the WNBA.

First of all, let me just say how incredibly gorgeous Karen Gillan is. Seriously. I didn’t think she could get any prettier than she is on TV but she can! I’ve seen it with my own two eyes! Just stunning.

The moderator of the panel was one of my nerd crushes, Chris Hardwick (not Wil Wheaton as some mistakenly believed) and he was nerding out just as much as the rest of us. He even brought his sonic screwdriver.  There was a bit of good-natured ribbing between him and Matt Smith. Apparently they ran into each other the night before at a party and this happened:

Oops! Chris blamed it on his pointy face.

The best audience question came from a little girl dressed up as a Dalek. She wanted to know what button, screen or object on the TARDIS was their favorite. The cast took this question very seriously and even admitted to stealing a few of their favorites (a pair of binoculars for Karen). Matt’s favorite is the main lever he yanks all the time. The little girl walked away but Matt Smith called her back and asked her if she had a favorite button, screen or object on the TARDIS. She looked at him very pointedly, said “NO” and walked away again. The whole room was laughing so hard I think we all peed ourselves a little.

They were also asked what they find annoying about each other. Matt said that Karen picks her lip, Karen said that Matt shakes his head and they both agreed that Arthur Darvill goes into “dad mode.”

Having seen the Firefly and Doctor Who panels, I can now die a happy nerd.

Stay tuned for more posts about Comic Con 2012 including the Roddenberry interview I mentioned and all of the awesome costumes!