by Tami Katzoff (@tvtamijo)
Zachary Levi really knows how to show people a good time – especially at Comic-Con. For the second consecutive year, Levi hosted Nerd HQ, an off-campus gathering where fans and celebrities can interact in a more informal setting than the Convention Center. Nerd HQ’s panels, called Conversations for a Cause, have raised several thousand dollars for Operation Smile.
One of the hottest tickets at Nerd HQ was the conversation with Nathan Fillion. The afternoon of Friday the 13th, after appearing at Comic-Con’s 10th anniversary “Firefly” panel and subsequent press conference, Fillion was on hand to answer fans’ burning questions. It was a fun-filled hour. Here are some highlights.
Following Levi’s gracious introduction, Fillion reminisced about his first SDCC experience, ten years ago. He was sitting with some writers from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” watching Joss Whedon do his thing at a panel (“he loaded us all into a van and said, ‘Let’s go to Comic-Con!’”). At the time, nobody knew much about the new space western that Whedon had created. “When he said the word ‘Firefly,’ the reaction was so visceral, the floor was shaking,” Fillion remembered. “I thought it was the Big One.”
After a few minutes of Q&A, Fillion brought out a surprise guest. “I hope you don’t mind – I invited a friend by,” he said, as his “Firefly” cast mate Adam Baldwin took a seat on stage. Later, the two actors recited each other’s lines from the show. Fillion stood up and said something like, “It’s a double-cam half-shaft full-bore automatic, two barrel dinglepoppers and dingleschlop. It is my very favorite gun.”
When it was his turn to ask a question, a cute kid in the audience addressed Fillion: “First of all, I’d like to say that you’ve been my hero for two years because of the Green Lantern movies. Second is, when you got to do the voice of Green Lantern, were you excited about that?” After explaining that one doesn’t have to worry about looking good when voicing animated characters, Fillion said, “But I always wore my Green Lantern t-shirt. Was I excited?” In lieu of an answer he proceeded to recite the Green Lantern Oath.
Fillion talked about his hesitance to participate in Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare project, “Much Ado About Nothing.” He said, “Reading Shakespeare, it’s tough. Memorizing Shakespeare? Come on, man.” But Whedon offered words of encouragement. “‘You’re going to be great, and I don’t want you to back out on this because it’s going to be a great experience. Also, I don’t have any replacement for you.’ I almost chickened out, and Joss wouldn’t let me and I’m so grateful.”
When asked about the status of a “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” sequel, Fillion said, “Today I was with someone, I feel safe saying that this someone is involved with ‘Dr. Horrible’ intimately. There was a conversation; I would say a sequel to ‘Dr. Horrible,’ the chances: fair to really good.” This was met with ecstatic applause.
Fillion spent several minutes gushing about “Game of Thrones” and explained the origins of his fandom. “Here’s how it happened for me: Molly Quinn [who plays his daughter on “Castle”] told me, ‘I don’t have HBO but I want to watch the show so I’m coming to your house on Sunday night,’” he said. “And she and her mom and myself sat down with some popcorn, some snacks, and watched, I think it was the third episode of ‘Game of Thrones.’” Soon Fillion was hooked, and he got his brother involved. “Every episode, we always watched the opening credits in full and sang lyrics to the music. Oh god, it was great.”
The last audience question of the hour was a simple one. “If Richard Castle were to write a book about a Canadian actor named Nathan Fillion, what would it be titled?” Without a second’s hesitation, Fillion answered, “Fully Loaded.”
Previously on The Weekly Whedon:
MTV News producer Tami Katzoff presents The Weekly Whedon, a column exploring all corners of the Whedonverse from "Marvel's The Avengers" to "Buffy" and beyond. Assemble your reactions in the comments section!