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 2014 (Part 1) – Panels and Floor

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Comic-Con!!!

Geek Mecca!

Or as the insightful and witty Dennis Calero dubbed it – Nerdi Gra!

There’s too much for one post so I’m breaking it up into a three-part wrap-up. This first one will have the Panels and the Floor. The second and third posts will have the cosplay and the outside stuff including, the Outlander premier, the Joss Whedon Nerd HQ panel, the Norman Reedus/Greg Nicotero judged cosplay contest at the Courtyard Marriott, and miscellaneous Shenanigans.

Let’s get started with the cosplaying I did. My friend and HNG Podcast cohost Darcy and I decided to coordinate so on Thursday I dressed up as Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and Darcy dressed up as my Groupie. He even made a custom shirt with my face on it! Which was equal parts weird and awesome. AND we won our category in a costume contest! (more on that later)

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On Friday I slapped on my tried and true Captain Mal costume, and Darcy dressed up as Jayne “The Hero of Canton” Cobb from Firefly.

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PANELS!

I completely skipped Hall H this year. I had originally planned to camp out on Friday night for the Saturday Marvel panel, but Mama Jedi and I were scheduled to attend the Outlander premier and, what with the new wristband system, it just didn’t work out. To be honest, I’m not that bummed about it. Besides, I got to see some really great panels sans stress so I’m a happy (non) camper. Here’s a funny picture of Mama Jedi and Darcy waiting in line for the first panel of the day on Thursday morning.

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Well played, Darcy. Well played.

The Legacy and Return of Battlestar Galactica

Panelists: Richard Hatch, Jamie Bamber, Dr. Kevin Grazier, Luciana Carro, Alec Peters

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Jamie Bamber ended up missing this panel, unfortunately. Something about being late and stuck in traffic, I dunno, I can’t remember. They were hopeful he’d show up during the panel and he didn’t, so whatever. They talked about the differences between the old show and the reboot and wanted to know our ideas for a Battlestar Galactica movie – except that the writers and producers didn’t really want to know our ideas which they made pretty obvious pretty quickly. Richard Hatch obviously loves the fans and HE really wanted to know what the fans wanted. What did the fans want? To bitch. We did get to see a trailer for Hatch’s next project, Star Trek: Axanar which looked quite interesting. To be honest, what I remember most about this panel was that I chugged a giant bottle of Starbucks Refreshers and a 5 Hour Energy right before the panel started and I had to pee really bad about halfway through.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Panelists: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Kari Wuhrer, Judah Friedlander, Anthony C. Ferrante

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I have never seen Sharknado and I didn’t watch Sharknado 2 when it debuted on SyFy this past week either. I was forced to sit through this panel in order to get a good seat for the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along immediately following. As you can see, Tara Reid and Kari Wuhrer (I don’t know who that is) were missing even though I saw them in later SDCC pictures with the rest of the cast. The best part about this panel was that Darcy and I had just partaken in a few “Thor’s Hammer(ed)” cocktails over at the Top of the Hyatt bar immediately beforehand and were pretty buzzed. The drunkenness helped make this panel pretty awesome, actually.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along

Presented by the California Browncoats

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Darcy and I were getting really into our Captain Hammer and Groupie characters, so we decided to go to the annual Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along. I’ve always wanted to go and we were celebrating Darcy’s birthday belatedly so we thought it would be a fun way to kick off the festivities. Turns out they do a costume contest beforehand and, fueled by the previously mentioned alcohol and the encouragement of my Podthingy cohost, author John Mulhall, I nutted up and joined in the fun with Darcy as my Groupie “prop.” A California Browncoat chose three cosplayers for each category (Dr. Horrible, Captain Hammer, Penny, Other) and I was one of the three chosen for Captain Hammer (there were a lot of us including two other girls). Despite the fact that my heart was beating about a million miles per minute and my knees were shaking, my old theatre training kicked in and I fell right into character. You can’t tell from the above pictures, but I spouted lines, I gestured, I rallied the crowd – all kinds of fun stuff. And I won the Captain Hammer contest! W00t! Next was the Best In Show and, despite my best efforts, my arch nemesis, Dr. Horrible won. But afterwards I choked him to the ground so, you know, it worked out. Turns out that I was so entertaining that John completely forgot to take pictures! Thankfully, fellow audience member Fred took the above pictures with his cell phone and emailed them to me. Thanks, Fred!! I then took Darcy out for birthday shenanigans. More on that in the second post.

Outlander

Panelists: Ronald D. Moore, Diana Gabaldon, Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish, Lotte Verbeek

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On Friday I got there early to wait in line for Room 6A and was treated to an awesome SCA demonstration. I think that SDCC would be way more awesome if every wait in line had one of these. One of the main reasons why I waited in line was to catch the Outlander panel since I’ve read and am a big fan of the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon (I got Mama Jedi hooked on them as well) and would be attending the premier later that evening. I’ll talk more about Outlander in the second SDCC post when I do the coverage of the premier, handsome men in kilts, etc.

A&E Bates Motel

Panelists: Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin, Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Olivia Cooke, Nestor Carbonell, Kenny Johnson

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Sadly, I don’t watch Bates Motel, but after seeing the panel, I definitely want to! They did a hilarious “audition video” montage that had me in stitches. We also got to see clips from the show dubbed in Spanish by Freddie Highmore (who just graduated with highest honors from Cambridge). Kenny Johnson was a surprise guest and it was revealed that his character, Caleb, would be a regular this next season. Turns out he’s a former pro-arm wrestler and we got to see him throw down with some audience members.

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What’s that? You want to see a video of the entire arm wrestling competition? Ok, here you go:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/F8BcR_DVEFg]

History: Vikings Blood Legacy

Panelists: Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen, Alexander Ludwig, Michael Hirst, Julian Hobbs

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Mama Jedi and I were particularly excited to see this panel since we’ve been trying to get to a Vikings panel for a couple of years now without success. It’s one of our favorite shows, especially since we’re Norwegian and we know the myths, legends, and history behind the people and stories used on the show. All of the actors seemed very sweet and down to earth. Travis Fimmel may or may not have been high – it’s hard to tell, maybe he’s just really, REALLY chill….? They even played with the audience beforehand, taking turns poking their heads out of the curtain before they were introduced. Alexander Ludwig ran down and joined us in the audience to see the extended trailer since he’d never seen it before and was really excited about it. Adorkable. Some crazy stuff is going to go down in season 3! The invasion of France and the true start of the Viking Age. And there will definitely be a season 4! Also, a beloved main character is going to die. Any guesses of who it will be?

FLOOR!

There are certain artists that I’ve gotten to know over the course of many, many Southern California conventions and I love visiting and hanging out with them. When Geek Outlaw and I did our 2nd ever booth at Long Beach Comic Expo a few months ago we were neighbors with Jason Beckwith who has a dark and gripping graphic novel called Taking EdenWe bonded over being shoved in a far, dark corner of the Floor we dubbed “The Batcave” and have been facebook friends ever since. When he announced that he’d gotten a last minute called from Comic Con International that they had a booth for him, he was the first person I went to visit.

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I then headed over to Lord Mesa‘s booth. He happens to be my sister-in-law’s favorite artist so I picked up some prints from her including some DC mini’s, a Supernatural print and this kick ass Twelve/Clara Doctor Who print.

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One of my personal favorites, Patrick Ballesteros, was just a few tables down from Lord Mesa so I headed over there next. He’s got some amazing new mini’s and prints that are so cute and adorkable I seriously just want the whole lot of them.

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Karen Hallion (you see her Disney/Doctor Who crossover art on Teefury shirts all the time) happened to be right across the aisle from Jason Beckwith. Waaay back in 2010 we discussed collaborating on an HNG t-shirt, then we both got slammed and she became a very well-earned and well-deserved Teefury goddess extraordinaire. It was so lovely to finally meet her in person.

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Every year I have to swing by actor/screenwriter/comic writer Todd Stashwick and artist Dennis Calero‘s booth to pick up the latest Devil Inside graphic novel and get my annual picture. One of these years I’m going to make it to their after party.

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My friend Karen (aka the “real” Luann) is the daughter and heir apparent of Greg Evans, creator of the Luann comic strip I grew up reading and loving (imagine my surprise when I learned who he was after hanging out at his house more than a few times!) Karen is not just a friend, she’s a fellow writing enthusiast and has begun working on the strip full-time.

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After escaping from a Falling Skies alien cocoon….

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I got rid of a few White Walkers

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And kept Smaug asleep…

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We then met up with buddies and Podthingy cohosts John Mulhall and Blayne Alexander for some non-sitting, non-standing fun times.

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We shared some of Sad Batman‘s pain.

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Here’s the new Affleck cowl and cape by the way…

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And for the Marvel fans, one of the mining ships from Knowhere

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There was tons of stuff going on outside as well, including a bunch of Simpson’s activities, a Gotham cityscape complete with zipline, and a Godzilla area with (count ’em) TWO photo ops.

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The Godzilla graffiti wall.

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That’s where my friend, photographer Tre’ Ridings was doing his thing. We met up with him and did the Phhhoto op first (that’s where it creates a multiple picture/gif-type thing.

Then I remembered that I was dressed like Captain Hammer and shouldn’t act scared, so I stayed in character for the second, more traditional photo op.

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I still found myself running away from this guy though.

HNG fake run

Darcy lives on a farm and didn’t get to celebrate his birthday properly, so on Thursday night I gathered a group of some of the funnest folks I know and we jumped around to a couple of bars to celebrate with some kind of alcohol/whipped cream concoction.

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By the time we got to the second bar, I was drunk enough that funny-faced selfies with all of the guys sounded like a fabulous idea. I have some of my best ideas while I’m drunk.

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Happy Birthday, Darcy!! 🙂

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That’s it for Part 1! Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3 on my San Diego Comic Con wrap-up!