Over the weekend, I roamed the halls of the Philadelphia Convention Center to see what Wizard World Philadelphia 2012 had to offer, and they did not disappoint. Saturday, June 2nd had some great panels on the schedule with some of the biggest names in pop culture, and I went to almost all of them! In this piece of my con coverage, I give you a little peek into what went on during the panels of Bruce Campbell, Chris Hemsworth, and Stan Lee.
There was one panel, however, that I couldn’t make it too. The most popular panel of the day hands down went to the ‘Star Trek’ Captains Panel, where all five of the captains from the various incarnations of the ‘Star Trek’ television series were assembled together on one stage. I may not have been in the panel to see what was going on, but I did see the line, and based on that, I’m pretty sure that there wasn’t an empty seat in the house to see Scott Bakula, Kate Mulgrew, Avery Brooks, Sir Patrick Stewart, and William Shatner.
Another panel that was packed to the walls was Bruce Campbell’s. The star of the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise, USA’s ‘Burn Notice’, and much more filled one of the smaller rooms in the convention center. He started off with an ‘Evil Dead’ tattoo contest, where he awarded the winner with $2.00! He went on to charismatically answer fan questions and talk about a wide range of topics including the ‘Evil Dead’ remake, the failed projects from throughout his career, Elvis Presley, Christian Bale’s Batman voice, and more.
One fan asked Campbell if when the zombie outbreak starts if he could come over to Campbell’s house with a Snuggie and watch movies, to which the man who knows a bit about zombies responded: “When the zombie apocalypse starts, I will take you and throw you in front of me while I run away and leave you as a sacrifice. I’m from Miami where that zombie just ate a guy’s face off. Miami used to be the face of homelessness, but now it’s the home of facelessness.”
Later on, when a young lady dressed as Ash asked about the ‘Evil Dead’ remake, he had this to say while wielding a lightsaber for some reason: “The original filmmakers, me, Rob Tapert, and Sam Raimi. We’re 100% behind this project. Sam Raimi even handpicked the director, Fede Alvarez. I’m behind it, and you better be too or else I’ll turn this thing on and there’ll be something bad happening.” Campbell then showed off some of his lightsaber skills before mentioning that the remake comes out next year and that we can’t stop it.
Before I was thoroughly entertained by Bruce Campbell, I attended Chris Hemsworth’s panel in the Grand Ballroom. Not exactly every seat was filled, but there were enough girls in the room to make it feel like an *NSYNC concert. (Whoa, that’s a dated reference. I meant… a One Direction concert?) And some of those girls went home extremely happy when Hemsworth agreed to give out a few hugs.
The Q&A portion started off with a fan asking if Hemsworth tried to get in on the ‘Star Trek’ Captains panel since he was technically a starship captain for 12 minutes. He responded by saying that he tried to get a ticket but couldn’t. He went on to talk about ‘Thor 2’ a bit and how director Alan Taylor tried to make Asgard more tangible by shooting in real locations as opposed to in front of green screens. Then he spoke about which creature he’d take on from ‘Cabin in the Woods’, his favorite roles from his career thus far, doing films without weapons, and the challenges of playing Thor. I contributed to the challenges discussion when I asked the Aussie actor if it was easier to play the part of the God of Thunder as a member of The Avengers as opposed to in his own solo movie.
My favorite moment from the panel, though, was when Hemsworth spoke about fighting The Hulk and other elements of shooting scenes with CGI. He said, “Half the time it was like being a little kid playing in the backyard swinging a stick around.” Later, when answering another question, he said that his favorite Avenger besides himself was Hulk and he talked about how it said in the script when Hulk backhands Thor that “Hulk smashes Thor in his big Norse face.” His playful answers and anecdotes throughout the panel definitely made the whole thing enjoyable for everyone.
Finally, before any of this went down, Stan Lee took the stage in the Grand Ballroom at 10:00am to kick off the day’s festivities. Well, he was actually a bit late, but we all forgave the 89-year-old comic book virtuoso. I was surprised at how spry and lively he was for his age. Since his hearing isn’t what it used to be, the lovely Clare Kramer from ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ was there to deliver questions to Stan. While he shared many great stories with the lively crowd that was super stoked to be in his presence, I absolutely loved his answer to my question about his thoughts on ‘Avengers Vs. X-men’. He said, “Oh it’s great! I used to do that for comic books all the time. It’s always fun when heroes fight each other, but I did it out of laziness! It was a little hard to dream up a new villain all the time, so being a lazy guy, I’d say ‘I can’t think of a villain right now, so I’ll just have the heroes fight each other.’” I’m glad to know that even the great Stan Lee created some stories out of laziness as well. The difference between he and I, though, is that his stories are phenomenal. I’m not exactly at that level yet.
Each panel that I attended throughout the whole weekend was a great time, and often they are where some of the most memorable moments of comic cons occur, so next time you’re at a con, look at the panel schedule for a very entertaining, and sometimes educational, time.
Stay tuned right here at ScienceFiction.com for the rest of my Wizard World Philadelphia coverage. The rest of the week I’ll be bringing you some of the interviews that I conducted over the course of the weekend and my experience during Sci-fi Speed Dating!
*Panel pictures courtesy of The Pretentious Film Majors (Austin LoCicero & Tom Caswell)