Thursday, February 5, 2015

FanX 2015 Highlights

As T.J. Mentioned in his post on Monday, I was able to attend the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience all three days last weekend. As I also have the distinction of being the only contributing writer from Mormon Geeks that was able to attend all three days of the convention, I also get the privilege of reporting on it.

As this was also my first time attending since becoming a regular contributing writer of Mormon Geeks, this was also the first time I was able to attend one of the Comic Con press conferences. Not only was I able to see Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker proclaim the day to be Salt Lake Comic Con's Day of Heroes, but I also got to record Stephen interviewing Jess Harnell and Rob Paulsen (best known as the voices of Wacko and Yacko in Animaniacs) and give a message to Mormon Geeks in the characters' voices:

Dan Farr, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, and Bryan Brandenburg
 at the press conference before the start of FanX
Several of the celebrity guests in attendance at the press conference
Some of the other highlights for Thursday included a panel on the importance of supporting characters in Harry Potter (Ron and Hermione in particular) and a comedy hypno show (which was hilarious) to wrap up the evening.

Panel on supporting characters in Harry Potter
Participants on stage during the comedy hypno show
Relaxing during some downtime between panels
Friday was the day of celebrity spotlight panels. The first for the day was Christopher Lloyd, who spoke about getting his first movie role in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, how getting the role as “Doc” Brown in Back to the Future kept him in the movie business at a time he was considering giving it up to go back to stage acting in New York, and how he enjoyed Back to the Future Part Three for its Western theme and for giving him his first on-screen kiss.

Christopher Lloyd in his spotlight panel
Brandon Routh was up next. He spoke of the process that ultimately ended with him recieiving the title role in Superman Returns. He spoke of how he had an easier time playing Clark Kent than Superman, and that he would have enjoyed having a few punches in the movie. He also talked about enjoying playing Ray Palmer in Arrow, and how that role came as a pleasant surprise to him, as he wasn't expecting to have the opportunity to play another DC superhero after playing Superman. He also spoke of how he's glad that he's allowed to use some humor in that role, and some of what to expect from his character for the rest of the season (including a guest appearance on The Flash). He also spoke about his role in The Nine Lives of Christmas and being able to watch it with his two-year old son.

Brandon Routh in his spotlight panel
Next up was Nichelle Nichols. She spoke of her role as Uhura on Star Trek, and how the cast of the show has become her family. She also shared of an experience of once speaking with Martin Luther King, who convinced her to continue on Star Trek during a time she was considering leaving. She also spoke of the impact of the first on-screen inter-racial kiss she shared with William Shatner. And she also spoke of inviting Zoe Saldana (the actress who plays Uhura in the Star Trek reboot) when Saldana asked to meet with her to seek advice on playing the role.

Nichelle Nichols in her spotlight panel
The next panel featured Felecia Day. She was very personable. She spoke of when she first met and started working with Joss Whedon when she was cast in a recurring role in the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer TV series and the ways she has found to tease him. She also talked about The Guild, a web series she wrote and produced that was loosely based on her life, and how being a gamer herself, she could identify with many of those in attendance at FanX.

Felicia Day in her spotlight panel
And rounding up the celebrity spotlights for the afternoon was Tom Felton. He shared of a number of his experiences on the set while filming the Harry Potter movies. He spoke of his friendships with the other members of the cast, and gave some of his own insights into the Draco Malfoy character. He spoke of meeting his long-term girlfriend on the set, who was an extra, and how she got to play his on-screen wife at the end of the last movie. He also spoke of some of the projects he has been working on since the Harry Potter movies ended.

Tom Felton in his spotlight panel
Fellow Mormon Geeks contributor, Stephen, and me,
 after we had finished attending panels for the day
On Saturday, I came in costume, and cos-played as Thor. I got a small taste of what my friend Paul experienced at Comic Con last year when he cos-played as Avatar Aang (as Aang appeared as an adult in Legend of Korra), as I probably had a couple of dozen people ask for pictures of me or with me through the course of the day (and that's not counting the five people that asked for pictures with me after I left the convention). It was fun getting to feel so popular for a day. ;-)

Cos-playing as Thor
I also got to hang out with friends Spencer (who was cos-playing as the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who) and David. We went shopping for souvenirs together (I didn't add quite as much to my collection of geek art this year) and Spencer and I got asked by a volunteer if we'd be willing to have our pictures taken by a professional to be featured on Salt Lake Comic Con's website.

David, Spencer and me
Actually, I was expecting it to be bigger on the outside
Professional FanX photo of Spencer cos-playing as the 11th Doctor
Professional FanX photo of me cos-playing as Thor
In addition, I went to a panel that discussed DC Comics based TV shows (while dressed as Marvel character Thor). I enjoyed the discussion as two of my favorite current TV shows include Arrow and The Flash.

Panel discussion about DC Comics' TV shows
And the biggest highlight for me at FanX this year was getting a picture with Brandon Routh. Many know that I'm a big fan of Superman, which is reason enough to be excited for this. But I've also come to love Brandon Routh's portrayal of Ray Palmer in Arrow. His scenes often add a light-hearted tone to what is frequently a dark and serious tone on the show.

And even though we were being herded through the photo op line like cattle, I was impressed with the fact that Brandon took the time to shake the hand of each person coming through to have their picture taken with him (many celebrities at conventions don't shake hands at all, but instead do fist bumps, as they are less likely to catch a bug from a fist bump than a hand shake, but I digress...).

Getting a picture with a celebrity was even better than the last couple of conventions in which I've gotten autographed pictures.

The prize of my souvenirs from FanX this year:
A photo of me with Brandon Routh
While I wouldn't necessarily say that this is the best comic book convention I've ever been to, the frustrations I experienced at Salt Lake Comic Con last year were definitely not an issue this time, and overall, going to FanX was a pretty awesome experience.

I'm looking forward to going to Salt Lake Comic Con this fall. Now I just have to wait seven months and some odd days for it. Let the countdown begin!

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