When it became known that ABC would not be taking Castle to the San Diego Comic Con this year fans fromnot just around the US but also overseas were heartbroken. The last two years members of the Castle cast and crew participated in a panel at Comic Con and the room was packed with hundreds, possibly thousands, being turned away at the door. The event usually sees the most dedicated fans camped out overnight in order to get the best seats in the house so when plans fell through this year there was disappointment all round.
While there was no official presence for Castle at the event this year there were still several opportunities to allow Castle fans to get their small Castle fix and enjoy the event despite the lack of panel.
For me it was a last minute change in circumstances that allowed me to attend the San Diego Comic Con this year and with only 4 days notice I found myself scrambling to book a flight and make some last minute arrangements to attend. Fortunately for me I had already applied for a press pass as I have for the past few years (since pre-Castle days) even though I knew there was a 99% chance I wasn’t going to make it this year. I called on the friends I usually stay with in a condo a couple of blocksfromthe convention center and thankfully they were willing to squeeze me in so I had somewhere to stay too. Getting to Comic Con at such short notice was nothing short of a miracle.
While there was no Castle panel, Castle star NathanFillionended up at not one, not two, not even three but
FOUR FIVE (see comments below) panels during the 4 day event. The most popular panel was the Firefly 10th Anniversary Reunion which was attended by Nathan himself along with writers Joss Whedon, Tim Minear, Jose Molina (season 2 writer of Castle), and cast members Adam Baldwin (Detective Slaughter in Castle’s season 4 episode Headhunters), Alan Tudyk, and Summer Glau. Dedicated fans began lining up at 6pm Thursday night for the panel scheduled for midday on Friday. This sounds crazy to anyone who hasn’t done it before but asidefrom being uncomfortable and a little exhausting it actually provides a fantastic opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new people with common interests. Fans who spent the night were treated to a few surprise guests who decided to stop by to say hi to fans and to thank them for their support.
I had a chance to say a quick hello to Adam Baldwin who came to hang out with fans despite being sick with the “con crud”from the event he had just returnedfrom in the UK. I noticed he was wearing the very same jacket he wore in the Castle episode so he let me take a photo.
Joss Whedon also stopped by around 3am lying down next to sleeping fans and taking photos for them to wake up to – can you imagine!? Joss was then followed by Jose Molina who’d been looking down on the growing linefromhis hotel room and couldn’t resist coming to say hi to fans in the middle of the night.
Obviously being a Firefly 10th Anniversary Reunion panels there wasn’t any talk of Castle but it was great to see such a wonderful cast and crew clearly emotionally moved by the support of their little cancelled TV show 10 years on. WhileNathan clearly enjoys his role on Castle it’s clear to see how much appreciation he has for what came before and what lead him to this point in his career.
Later that day Nathanattended a panel at NerdHQwhich is an off-site event run by a generous group of people including Chuck’s Zachary Levi. NerdHQis open to those without tickets to Comic Con and each panel tickets comes at a small cost of $20 all of which goes directly to their charity “Operation Smile” which provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the globe. TheNerdHQ team fund the venue and expenses themselves so that 100% of ticket sales can support the charity.Nathan’s first panel atNerdHQ sold out very quickly and many missed out soNathan was generous enough to participate in a second panel on Sunday (more on that later).
I spent some time on Friday scoping out some Castle goodies reported to be found at and around the con including the new Comic Con special poster (below) with Castle and Beckett on the front and a promo for the next graphic novel "Storm Season" on the back, similar to the onefromlast year’s Comic Con and a P1 promo card for the upcoming Season1& 2 trading card game to be released by Cryptozoic Entertainment. These were both found at the Marvel booth and Marvel were good enough to allow me to take a couple of extra copies so I can give some away in our next podcast! We’ll also have a few available at the Castle Convention in November.
I had to head off-site to track down the more rare P3 promo card but I found my way to the temporary Cryptozoic store on Market street and they happily handed me a couple of cards when I asked about them. I also had the opportunity to chat with them briefly about the upcoming trading cards and board game and while they didn’t know much about the items themselves yet they were able to tell me that in addition to US distribution they were also working on getting distribution rights in Australia sorted out, unfortunately they weren’t able to share any information about what other countries they will be available in as distribution rights are apparently complicated but I will catch up with the folksfromCryptozoic in a future podcast and we’ll get all the details then.
After taking a breakI headed back over to the convention center to stop by the booth for pop culture artist Jason Palmer who has created some wonderful drawings for many shows including Firefly and his latest… Castle! Currently he’s working on a cast drawing (pictured below). He assures me the piece is still a work in progress (thought it looks complete enough for the likes of me) and he’s planning to have it finished by the Castle Con in November. I was chatting with Jason who mentioned he’d thought about doing individual cast pictures but wasn’t sure there would be enough interest in them. I set him straight telling him that Castle & Beckett together would be very popular and Beckett herself would be huge. The next day I went back to see him again because I’d noticed he had created a button for the Castle character but not for any of the others, I said if he could make buttons on-site it would be a good opportunity for him to test the waters, I knew there were a lot of Castle, and in particular Beckett fans at the con so I suggested he make some Beckett buttons and I would then tweet about them and sit back and see what kind of response he got. By the Sunday they had a couple of people sitting in their booth churning out buttons as fast as they could and they were literally at it all day long, they decided after several fans asked about it, to make one for each of the characters in the poster, they ended up taking orders and having people pick them up at the end of the day. Needless to say, I think Jason is now convinced he needs to work on some more Castle pieces!
While I was talking to Jason at the booth he stopped and introduced me to a lovely man who was standing a little to the side who turned out to beNathanFillion’s brother Jeff who’s just as charming and polite asNathan(must be the Canadian genes) and next thing I know Jeff is on the phone withNathanmaking arrangements to bring him back to Jason’s booth. Once he arrived he jumped behind the tables and while chatting with Jason signed a handful of prints for him. While I was supposed to be heading off to a press conference for Iron Man 3 I found myself suddenly surrounded by people who’d heardNathanwas at the booth and ended up missing my meeting because I couldn’t move! Molly Quinn who had been spotted wandering around comic con all weekend in costume had been by the previous day and also signed some prints. She and her parents were both enthusiastic about the artwork. We'll have more about Jason Palmer's art in our next podcast.
I also took the opportunity several times to put an entry into the draw to win a special Gold edition Winx Club Bloom doll, every day two entries were drawn, sadly we missed out but some other lucky fans walked away happy. Bloom is the character voiced by Molly Quinn, here's a picture of the giveaway and of the booth featuring a large display including Molly's character.
Saturday was the TV Guide Fan Favorites panel which Nathanparticipated in along with Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead), Nathan Fillion (Castle), David Giuntoli (Grimm), Joel McHale (Community), Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), Jasika Nicole (Fringe), Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), Maggie Q (Nikita) and Matt Smith (Doctor Who).
Saturday night a group of Castle fans got together at the Spaghetti Factory for dinner and by all accounts they had a great time catching up.
The final day of the con started out for me once more with w panelfromNathan. TheNerdHQevent was such a pleasure to attend withNathanhaving the opportunity to show just what kind of man he is. During the panel he followed each question by auctioning a personal item to raise additional funds for the charity. The items auctioned rangedfromHarry Potter merchandiseNathanhad picked up on his recent trip to the UK, to a game controllerfromBatman Arkham City (which features the voice of Stana Katic) tshirts and one very special item, autograph cards. It turns outNathanis always as disappointed as fans when he can’t stay long enough to take an photo with them or give them his autograph so he had cards printed and hand signed each one so that he can give them out to people at those times when he simply can’t stop because he has to make an appointment. Here’s what the card says:
“Please accept my apologies. Comiccon is an amazing event, but it does place unique responsibilities on me. While I would relish the chance to stop for a photo, to sign something, or even just chat, my responsibilities lie with scheduled events organized to reach as many fans as possible who have waited patiently in line, sometimes for more than an hour! (he laughed when he said this knowing fans had waited overnight for the Firefly panel) Instead, please find my autograph on the back of this card. Tell your friends we met and had a laugh – I’ll back you up.”
One fan took a moment to point out her two friends who had introduced her to his work in Firefly and talked about how much it meant to her andNathanresponded by getting a little teary and expressing how much he was thankful for fans because here he was doing amazing things ten years later thanks to his fans. His emotion was clearly genuine and reinforces why his fans are so loyal to him.
One girl bidding on an auction said she’d increase the bid to 1000 if the tshirt came with a kissfromNathanwhich he immediately agreed to and made a big show of it when it came time to deliver. He asked someone to cue the music and then danced a little before dipping the young girl planting a very long kiss on her, coming up for air and then going in again much to the delight of the crowd.
Another fan bid on some sharpie autograph pens and also got a hug thrown infromNathanand that was really quite some hug! Lucky girl. Another fan bit on an item and offered extra ifNathanwould take a picture with her mother (the whole crowd went "awwww").
At one pointNathaninvited his brother Jeff on stage, they embraced in a big hug and then Jeff offeredNathansome Canadian money for the hug which got a good laugh. Molly Quinn was also back stage and came out to say hi to the audience.
With the $5000 raisedfromticket sales and the $5000 that Intel offered to match plus the auction that one panel alone raised over $15,000 for charity! Way to go!
NerdHQPanel #1Part A
NerdHQPanel #1Part B
The final event for the weekend was the Behind the Music panel with Castle music director Robert Duncan. The panel, hosted by CW3PR featured singer Laura Dickinson (“Phineas and Ferb”); iZLER (“Revenge”); Danny Jacob (“Phineas and Ferb”); Trevor Morris (“The Borgias”); Michael Penn (“Girls”); singer Lisbeth Scott (“True Blood”) Marc Shaiman (“Smash”) in addition to Castle's Robert Duncan.
The composers also spoke about their favorite instruments to use when composing a scene, how they got their jobs and more.
Robert Duncan, who has collected a vast array of musical instruments, both old and new, talked about using them to create the perfect sound. “I have quite a large collection, and when people ask me if I know how to play all these instruments, I say ‘I like to forget that I don’t know how to play them.’”
After the panel Robert took a few short minutes to chat with a handful of fans before being whisked away to a press meeting.
Throughout the weekend I had the opportunity to meet some Castle fansfromtwitter and some that I’d never met before who all appeared to be having a wonderful time and were excited to hear that there was a Castle convention coming up.
All in all, despite not having a Castle panel at the event this year those that attended did appear to have a great time.