WonderCon 2016 took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center Friday, March 25 through Sunday, March 27. In Part 1 of the Sunday Report, Josh provides a recap of The Nerdist panel and Violet recaps The 100 panel.
WonderCon 2016 – The Sunday Report Part 1
We caught the train in again on Sunday morning. This time we decided to catch the 9:29am train from Fullerton, and everything went smoothly, getting us to the LA Convention Center in plenty of time for our first panel, which started at 11:00am.
The first panel of our Sunday at WonderCon in the Microsoft Theater was The Nerdist Panel, with Chris Hardwick moderating. This panel has become somewhat of an Easter Sunday tradition for us, having attended it every Easter Sunday since 2013. Hardwick introduces his panel, which consists of the following people: Jessica Chobot, Adam Rymer, Rachel Heine, Dave Casey, Malik Forte, Kyle Hill, Matt Grosinger, and Alicia Lutes. Hardwick starts the panel talking to a few people on the panel, asking them what is going on with Nerdist.
He starts with Rachel Heine, and talks about their experience taking over a restaurant called Bangers at SXSW, and how much fun they had there. She said their next big event is the Captain America screening, where they will be screening a few Marvel movies leading up to Captain America: Civil War. Hardwick talks about the last one, which was 29 hours of Marvel movies leading up to Age of Ultron, and apparently most people stayed all the way till the end! She then talks about how much their audience is growing, and how much their coverage seems to be expanding.
Hardwick also talks about how their site is trying to remain being “nice,” and they have a rule enforcing the banning of trolls, where people are excessively racist, or mean in general. Seems like a great way to keep the community polite. Michelle Buchman is the social media manager, and is the filter for the comments on the site, and apparently manages all of the bad comments.
Moving down to Adam Rymer, he talks about various new podcasts which are recently coming out. He doesn’t have much he can say, but says they have some “new” technology coming out soon. Makes me wonder if this is related to the Oculus Rift… Hardwick elaborates, saying that they are going to be trying new things to see how they work, and wants to continue growing the site positively.
Moving to Dan Casey, the entertainment editor, he discusses that they will be talking a lot about comic book movies, given how many are coming out this year.
Moving to Jessica Chobot, he asks her what is going on with Nerdist News. They have started Live Streaming, which has gone well. They also talked about a podcast called Bizarre States, which discusses various paranormal activities, and that seems to be going very well. They are going to work on a video game podcast as well, as she misses that.
Moving on down to Malik Forte, he is the video game correspondent, and he talks about VR coming, with the Oculus Rift coming. He also mentions Steam, wondering how they will support the Rift. He seems to be invested in the game The Division and Uncharted 4 when it comes out shortly.
Moving down the line to Kyle Hill, he discusses a video that was supposed to be released which was an anti-vaccination movie. Apparently Robert De Niro was involved in this movie, and after meeting with some science experts, which Kyle mentioned being involved with, he said that De Niro was convinced to have the movie pulled, which Kyle was very happy about. Moving on to more “jovial” topics, he discusses a recent topic that came up for him–if Kylo Ren could lift Thor’s hammer. Hardwick asks for the answer, and it “depends” according to Hill–which he further elaborates saying that physically he could not, but with the Force, possibly.
Hardwick then takes the conversation to talking about how irritating it is that apparently every girl is in love with Kylo Ren. He also talks about a movie he pitched to J.J. Abrams, which he called, “Regarding Han-ry”, which J.J. wasn’t really interested in.
Matt Grosinger talks more about Nerdist being at SXSW, and the musicians he met, and how much fun he had there. He apparently helped OK Go with their new music video, which was filmed in Russia, on a Zero-G plane, and the band danced in Zero- G. He also apparently interviewed the singer of Coheed and Cambria about the children’s book he wrote.
Then finally down to Alicia Lutes, Hardwick talks to her about Orphan Black and the aftershow she is going to be working on. She has already seen the first 3 episodes of the upcoming season. Moving to Game of Thrones, she talks about her theory for the season–where she believes we will see the season play out from Brann’s point of view, and the possible outcomes of his visions, so that the storyline doesn’t spoil the next book George R. R. Martin is working on. Seems plausible, and interesting at the same time. We will have to see how that plays out.
Hardwick then moves on to audience questions, and the first person up for a question is the infamous Mike. For those unfamiliar with Mike, he and Hardwick have a history, and Hardwick explains this history–A few Comic-Cons ago, Mike was asking a question to Zack Snyder, and Mike was overcome during the emotion, and Hardwick decided to have a long embrace because he was overcome with emotion too.
So Mike then asks his question, which is where “Enjoy your burrito” came from, which is how Hardwick signs off at the end of his podcast. Hardwick says that on his podcast Jonah Ray talked about when he had no money, he would buy a burrito in San Pedro, which was the best part of his day, until he was more than half way finished eating it and he was sad because it was almost over. Hardwick then talks about how this was a metaphor for Nerds, as he thinks a lot of them tend to dwell on the past or worry about the future, and this saying sort of was a way to remind people to stay in the present.
Next question up, was an audience member disappointed with Hardwick because Hardwick never answered him about being his stepdad. Hardwick jokes with him about him trying to provide for his son, and such. A pretty funny bit.
Another interesting bit of news that came up was the discussion of a Preacher aftershow. Hardwick in a very round-about way, sort of kind of, confirms this without confirming it. It sounds like the details are being hashed out, but it sounds like a definite possibility.
The panel is also asked about the next technology they would like to see. Active VR is brought up, which gets into the gaming field. Another thing brought up is a treadmill that goes in all directions, which also allows people to travel within their games.
Apparently a big thing for Hardwick was a show called Celebrity Bowling. AMC dropped the show, and he has been working on getting it on a network, but is still working on the details. Hardwick seems to be really good at bowling, which he says is about the only sport he is any good at.
Another audience member talks to Hardwick about the possibility of adding education programs to Nerdist. This causes Hardwick to break out into song, singing Whitney Houston’s The Greatest Love of All (you know, the song that goes, “I believe the children are our future…” etc?) for a solid 2 minutes. The questioner seemed a little offput by it, but Hardwick finally answers, seeming to think it is a possibility, and he talks about his experiences in high school with a specific teacher that put him on the path he is on now, where he played chess, D&D, and worked in the computer lab.
The next one is a pretty good question, which asks what game brings the people of the panel back to their childhood. Super Mario Bros. 3 and Pong are a couple that Hardwick brings up. Ocarina of Time is what Jessica Chobot goes with. Malik Forte goes with Mathblasters. Others that come up are Myst, Duck Hunt, Final Fantasy 7, and a few other games I had not heard of.
There were a few more questions, and Hardwick talks about encyclopedias, which he describes as the internet before the internet existed, and how it wasn’t very searchable.
As usual, Hardwick is pretty funny in his panel. He is always a blast to listen to and always provides inspiration for those looking for it.
This is Violet taking over now. Up next in the Microsoft Theater was The 100 panel. Currently in its third season, The 100 is about a post-apocalyptic Earth to which many people returned from a space station after 97 years after a nuclear war, and were surprised to find other people already there. I had started watching it during the first season, but stopped in the middle of it for some reason. When I found out that this panel would be in the Microsoft Theater between The Nerdist and Legends of Tomorrow panel, rather than deal with the hassle of leaving the theater and coming back, I figured it would be better to just stay in the theater for this panel. However, I didn’t want to get spoiled, as I did intend to come back to the show and watch it at some point. So I tried to catch up with The 100 before WonderCon. Unfortunately, I was only able to make it about halfway through Season 2. I hoped the spoilers would be minimal.
The panel began at about 12:15pm with a screening of 13 minutes of the forthcoming episode that would air the following Thursday. So, yeah, I got a lot of spoilers during those 13 minutes.
After the screening, the panelists were brought out on stage, which included Showrunner/Executive Producer/Lead Writer Jason Rothenberg, and actors Eliza Taylor (Clarke), Bob Morley (Bellamy), Lindsey Morgan (Raven), Devon Bostick (Jasper), Christopher Larkin (Monty), and Richard Harmon (Murphy). Although Isaiah Washington (Jaha) and Henry Ian Cusick (Kane) had been listed as attending on the schedule, neither were in attendance. The latter was a big disappointment to me, as I had been looking forward to seeing Desmond from Lost in person! Brother! Ah well.
Shortly before WonderCon, there was a controversial episode of The 100 of which the details were all over social media. Fans were upset over the death of a character, Lexa, not only because she was a lesbian, but also because she was killed off in the same way a lesbian character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was killed: with a stray bullet meant for someone else. Additionally, she was killed off shortly after having sex with another female. The panel started off with Jason Rothenberg addressing the elephant in the room.
Rothenberg talked about how surprising the reaction was to him. He said if he had known what he knows now, he would do things differently — though he would still kill off the character. One thing he regrets is having established an unrealistic expectation on social media that Lexa would be safe, but the truth is that no one is safe. He also regrets having placed the sex and the death so close together. Lastly, he would change Lexa being killed by a stray bullet. He explained that he had been trying to portray that even a character as powerful as Lexa could be killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, he had been unaware that the same thing had been done in Buffy.
The moderator moved on to Eliza Taylor, who plays Clarke, and asked her about how the loss of Alexa affects Clarke going forward. Taylor said it will be really “tricky” for her, and that “it changes her,” but that she’ll get through it.
The moderator moved down the line and asked each actor a little about their character. However, since I’m not caught up, I wasn’t really able to fully follow everything they were talking about. Unfortunately, I did get spoiled by Devon Bostick talking about Maya melting in his arms. Also, apparently Christopher Larkin’s character, Monty, is reunited with his mom — who apparently a lot of people hate, according to the poll that Larkin took of the audience. However, Larkin pointed out that the issue isn’t exactly black and white, and that Monty’s just trying to do the right thing. When it got to Richard Harmon, there was a loud cheer for him from the audience, to which he commented, “If this was season one, you would’ve booed.” Being only partially into Season 2, I was still kind of in that mindset!
I wasn’t really able to follow most of the remainder of the panel, since it talked about many things that I haven’t come to yet. This included asking Morley about Bellamy’s motivations for siding with someone named Pike (who I haven’t met yet), and Morgan about the City of Light (I don’t know what that is yet), as well as having Bostick and Larkin talking about the rift between Jasper and Monty (which hasn’t happened for me yet, so that’s sad to hear). Larkin commented that Monty “put his heart on the line” and that “the ball is in Jasper’s court.” Larkin and Bostick hugged, eliciting an “Awww” from the audience. Harmon teased a potential romantic relationship with a certain character, saying that their story is not quite wrapped up yet.
The moderator asked about a scene where several of the cast members sang Blister in the Sun. Rothenberg explained that this was a rare opportunity to have a “light moment” on the show, to which Taylor interjected, “Where was I? I wanted a light moment!” Larkin joked that the reason Morley wasn’t singing was because he didn’t know the words to the song, though Morley claimed that he followed the script, which said that Bellamy was just supposed to smile and nod. Larkin explained that he and Bostick had lived together while filming, and that they spent time learning the song. Larkin said that he didn’t think either of them had even heard the song before (what?!), but Bostick told Larkin to speak for himself.
There was a good amount of time dedicated to audience Q&A. One audience member wanted to make sure that Rothenberg was aware of the Trevor Project and the fact that $81,000 was raised for it as a result of the recent controversy. Another audience member asked about the cast members’ favorite scene to film. Morely said that he enjoyed when Harmon tried to hang him, and commented that he lost his voice as a result of it. One of Taylor’s favorite scenes was the kiss with Lexa, as it was something she’d “never gotten to do before,” to which Morgan teased, “Never?!” Taylor replied, “Let’s not get into that!” and they all enjoyed a good laugh. Morley jokingly commented that it was his favorite scene too.
Another audience member asked the cast members if they could change one negative aspect of their character, what would they change? However, they seemed to agree that the negative aspects are what they like the most about their character. Taylor did say that she wanted Clarke to smile more, though. Another audience question about scenes being cut led to Rothenberg talking about the reasons why scenes get cut, which are usually technical reasons.
The final question from the audience asked Rothenberg about why members of The 100 creative team integrated themselves into LGBT online communities and misled them about Lexa. Though Rothenberg said he didn’t have any specific knowledge about such things happening, he again apologized for his own exuberance about the show on social media having the effect of leading people to believe that there would be a different outcome for Lexa. He said they never meant to hurt anyone, and that he’ll learn from this lesson and be more careful with what he says on social media. Someone from the crowd yelled, “We still love you, Jason!” and with that, the panel ended.
Stay tuned for our Part 2 of our WonderCon 2016 Sunday Report, featuring Legends of Tomorrow!
Check out more pictures from The Nerdist and The 100 panels in our photo gallery below!