Seen and Heard at Comic-Con 2010
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles
Comic-Con 2010 is in the books, and this year's event was another celebration of all things geeky — and many that are not. TV Guide Magazine patrolled the halls and hallways of the San Diego Convention Center, ducking light sabers, caped crusaders and pen stabbings to file these tidbits:
- For its final Comic-Con appearance, Smallville graduated to the big time, filling the 4,000-plus seat Ballroom 20, the largest room for TV shows. The fans, many of whom camped out overnight to get in, were treated to an unexpected cameo from John Schneider, who played the late Jonathan Kent for five seasons. He will be back for an appearance that he already filmed, called the role the most cherished of his career and talked about the father-son relationship he developed with Tom Welling during the show's early seasons. Since he didn't have a name placard on the dais he put his driver's license out, and when the cameras panned in for a close-up for the monitors in the room, he realized that his home address was revealed. "I guess I'll be seeing you all for dinner," he quipped. Allison Mack, who will only appear in a handful of episodes this year, was not in attendance, but news broke that her character, Chloe Sullivan, will make her long-awaited DC Comics debut in the pages of Action Comics this fall. Finally, the panelists all offered heartfelt thanks to the fans, capped by executive producer Kelly Sounders' touching sign off, "thank you so much for a whole decade of support." (For more scoop, you can read TVGuide.com's Natalie Abrams' excellent report here.)
- The Supernatural cast and producers followed Smallville in Ballroom 20 on Sunday. (Appropriate because the CW shows will once again be paired this fall when Supernatural moves to its new Fridays-at-9/8c slot.) Series creator Eric Kripke graciously handed the show's reins to new showrunner (and longtime producer) Sera Gamble, but said that he'd still be involved in the writers' room, referring to himself as a hemorrhoid to the producers. The panel began with some early footage from Episode 4, helmed by star Jensen Ackles, who is making his debut in the director's chair. One scene featured an entertaining confrontation between Uncle Bobby (Jim Beaver) and Crossroads Demon Crowley (Mark Sheppard). Beyond that, the whole crew was typically tightlipped on the new season. They did flesh out a few details about monsters being a big theme this year — a change, of course, coming out of the long Apocalypse arc that ended in May — including a visit from pop culture's current blood-sucking obsession. "I'm looking forward to killing some vampires properly this season," Ackles gleefully told the fans, taking a not-too-subtle dig at some of the competition. "I'd like to show people how it's done properly."
- Feeling the need to raise their game on their third appearance at the Con, the Big Bang Theory folks pulled off a cameo coup with the Barenaked Ladies appearing to perform their theme song for the CBS sitcom. (Fate was on the Bang-ers side: BNL is currently on tour and Friday's panel serendipitously fell right between dates in L.A. and San Diego!) Panel moderator and Star Trek: The Next Generation alum Wil Wheaton, an occasional Big Bang guest star, introduced the band, suggesting "a shared nerd experience" with the entire crowd singing along. Sheets with the lyrics (sample: "A fraction of a second and the elements were made; the bipeds stood up straight, the dinosaurs all met their fate.") were handed out to the fans in Ballroom 20, and the stunt went off brilliantly. During the Q&A portion of the program, a fan asked if the Bang gang would ever film an episode at Comic-Con. Executive producer and co-creator Bill Prady described it as a logistical nightmare to pull off, with star Jim Parsons jokingly boiling it down: "We're an indoor cat." (For more on the panel, click here.)
- Not to be outdone in the musical department, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane did a flawless live rendition of "Down Syndrome Girl," the controversial (and extremely fast-paced) song from an earlier episode that was not-so-loosely based on Sarah Palin's family. The panel also featured the first nine minutes of It's a Trap, the upcoming parody of Return of the Jedi, which will be the show's third Star Wars riff.
- Panels for The Cleveland Show and Futurama had similar themes: Both teased future episodes set at Comic-Con (Futurama's in the year 3010), and both episodes will include references to Joss Whedon as well as other inside jokes that had the appreciative crowd howling. A Cleveland clip teased an upcoming appearance by President Obama (played by the vocally dexterous Kevin Michael Richardson, who also does Cleveland Jr.), who schools Cleveland in a game of one-on-one hoops. The Futurama cast also did a table read for a 2011 episode titled "Benderama," in which John DiMaggio's curmudgeon robot Bender is replicated thousands of times.
- Human Target's new showrunner, Matthew Miller (coming over from Chuck), talked about adding two female characters for Season 2. Indira Varma (HBO's Rome) has already been cast as the new billionaire boss for the unorthodox security/bodyguard contractors Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), Winston (Chi McBride) and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley). The second role, as yet uncast, is a younger gal who works with the team and has a dodgy past as an ex-thief. A highlight from the panel came during the audience Q&A, when a female fan decked out as Guerrero asked a question. "I thought it was someone dressed as Harry Potter, but then I thought, 'Harry Potter doesn't have no mustache,'" McBride joked. Haley was clearly flattered, saying, "I've seen a lot of Rorschach and Freddy Kreuger, but never any Guerrero," referencing past homages to his Watchmen and A Nightmare on Elm Street roles.
- Seen in the crowd at TV Guide Magazine's retrospective panel for Quantum Leap was 30 Rock's Scott Adsit, who said that he was a Leap fan and that he's spent the summer "traveling a lot and performing in other cities."
- Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) was spotted walking the convention floor with camera crew in tow as he interviewed superfans for his planned Con documentary.
- Also noticed: Old Spice sensation Isaiah Mustafa posing for pictures with fans outside the Convention Center... Warehouse 13 star Eddie McClintock smiling from ear-to-ear at an autograph signing, telling us, "I'm living the dream!"... The Vampire Diaries' Matt Davis and Steven R. McQueen joking with each other in line at Starbucks in the Marriot Marina hotel... Smallville exec producer Brian Peterson and star Cassidy Freeman chatting and taking pictures with the fans camping out overnight on line for the next day's panel for their show.
Additional reporting by Damian Holbrook
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