Dispatches From Ballroom 20: All Day, All The Panels

If you read “So Many Cunning Hats: “Firefly” Superfan Attends ComicCon’s “Firefly” Reunion, Loves It,” where I completely fangirled out, you know I slept in line the night before to get into Ballroom 20. What you didn’t know is that I was essentially in there all day, for all of the panels. And I took all sorts of notes! So let’s go in order of panel, shall we?

Community: “Four Season and a Porno! Six Seasons and a Movie!”

Community Panel

Panel Members: Dani Pudi (Abed), Allison Brie (Annie), Joel McHale (Jeff), Gillian Jacobs (Britta), Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley), executive producer Russ Krasnoff; new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port, writer Megan Ganz (wearing my favorite shirt of the day that said “Save The Cape”) and writer Andy Bobrow.

The Down Low: Hilarious and informative! First and foremost, the panel did give now-dismissed creator Dan Harmon some love as well as talked in a way that suggested mere tolerance of Chevy Chase. Lots of love for the devoted fans that have helped keep the show on the air too!

We also learned that:

-For the Law & Order episode (written by L&O fan Megan Ganz) they got Dick Wolf’s blessing to use the “chunk chunk” for the breaks. They now want to do a Law & Order SVU ep.

– Dani Pudi says it was hard to play Abed in a rift with Troy because he’s so used to the dynamic he has with Donald.

– Dani Pudi, Gillian Jacobs and Allison Brie (sexily) chair danced for us.

-Yvette thanked us for sleeping outside. They knew what we were up to, they have Twitter.

Season 3 DVD set will contain commentaries on every single episode, 20 mins worth of outtakes and a special behind the scenes featurette of Pillows VS. Blankets.

– Despite being a fan favorite the actor who played Star Burns got tired of the character and left.

– Jeff’s dad! He will be in Season 4! Joel McHale says he will reveal who is cast and it is Eddie Murphey.

– We will finally go inside Pierce’s eccentric mansion.

– This is the senior year for many of the characters, however it was hinted that even if people do graduate Greendale the show will go on.

– Troy and Britta may actually be a real thing.

– The fooseball players may be back.

– The new guys replacing Dan Harmon stress that they were mega fans of the show before they got the call to come in.

– Oh, and there will be an DR. SPACE TIME CONVENTION IN THE SHOW.

Best Thing Ever: An outtake they showed us from the DVD was of Allison Brie in the study room free style rapping and actually being pretty good at it.

Legend Of Korra: So Much Cosplay

Panel Members: Janet Varney (Korra), David Faustino (Mako), P.J. Byrne (Bolin), Seychelle Gabriel (Asami), creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino, co-executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos and voice director Andrea Romano

The Down Low: First off despite the fact this panel was inundated with restless Browncoats waiting with baited breath for their panel, there were some great fans. I saw a lot of LoK cosplay the entire weekend and a good deal of it at the panel. And lots of Korras! It was good to see so many girls dressed up and embracing badass main character of the show. Also a lot of people who had never heard of Korra wanted to start watching after this panel because we learned:

– The Book 2 (season 2) starts off 6 months after the end of Book 1.

– It will expand the world building, with the season primarily in the Southern Water Tribe.

– But we’ll also be in the spirit world quite a bit as well as visit the now-restored Southern Air Temple.

– We were showed concept art of all of these locations. The art was absolutely breathtaking and lush for each setting. Also there will be a festival in the South Pole the gang will be attending.

– The cast gets a wardrobe upgrade, with mostly coats and longer sleeves to combat the winter down south. Korra has some arm warmers and a darker pair of threads, but she’s still keeping her sleeveless muscle shirt look.

– We will learn more about Korra’s family and explore the family dynamic.

– We’ll see more of the original GAang all grown up.

– Aang and Katara’s other children: the wild and crazy Bumi and the spiritual and ‘hippieish’ Kaya will be in this season.

– Lots of new characters were introduced! Including Korra’s father’s brother who is a mentor to Korra, his emo androgynous twins and a Howard Hughes-esque character named who will help out Asami and have a nice repore with Bolin.

– There will be lots of spirits as well. We saw some designs and they were very other worldly.

– The big deal is we’ll be learning about the history of the Avatar and how the Avatar came to be in two special episodes during the middle of the season.

– There will be 4 Books for the entire series split over 52 episodes.

– We watched an animatic that introduces the new season. In it Bolin is still Pro-bending, but with new team members who are absolutely terrible. Mako is now a police officer. Asami has taken over Future Industries (with a new Amelia Earhart-esque wardrobe!) however she finding being a businesswoman difficult as no investors willing to trust the company. And Korra is now able to tap into the Avatar state with ease, but doesn’t take it seriously as she uses it to give herself a boost during an air-scooter race with Tenzin’s kids.

Best Thing Ever: Two things. First off, Andrea Romano directed the cast in a reading of scenes from season 1, accompanied by pictures of the scenes as they read. It was so cool to see them slip into their characters with ease during the read. Secondly, she decided to tap into the crowd and recorded us making sounds! We’ll be used as a pro-bending match crowd, which is super cool.

Bones: Something About A Roll Of Quarters, And I’m Not Making That Up

Panel Members: Emily Deschanel (Brennan), David Borneanaz (Booth), executive producer Stephen Nathan, Creator Hart Hanson was not able to attend.

The Down Low: Can I be honest here? I didn’t know Bones still existed and sat there and ate a sandwich. Because it was the first thing I had consumed since six in the morning and after I did the Firefly thing I felt like I may die of starvation, so I like… don’t have much for you. I’m sorry. I do know:

– Stephen Nathan said they feel like they avoided the Moonlighting Curse by not showing the sex between Booth and Bones.

– Bones is at a very interesting and conflicting point in her life. She’s living a life she condemned her father for living and she’s not only living it with him, but also with her baby.

– Booth is emotionally wounded and will be searching for her by any means necessary.

– The new villain of the season is someone who we’ve never seen before. The gang has always been able to keep ahead of their bad guys, but he’ll always been two steps ahead of him (as someone who watched four seasons, wasn’t that like, ALL the major bad guys they’ve had?)

– The general audience consensus was David was totally drunk at the panel and/or had consumed some really fun drugs. He wouldn’t shut up and went on the weirdest, often sexual, non-sober tangents. Regardless of the fact the rest of the panel tried to keep him reigned in, he kept at it. He also interrupted fans during the Q & A and worked the crowd to drum up support for a new Angel project with Joss Whedon (who has said several times he’s not going to do any live action Angel anytime soon).

Best Thing Ever: Anything that came out of Borneanaz’s mouth, because there was no filter and it was all face palm worthy.

Arrow: Gratuitous Male Shirtless Scene, Check

Panel Members: Stephen Amell (Oliver), Katie Cassidy (Laurel), executive producer Andrew Kreisburg, executive producer Marc Guggenhiem and director David Nutter

The Down Low: We were shown the pilot in it’s entirety. It received a pretty good reception from the audience, however I left feeling pretty indifferent by it. The story has potential, but there’s a lot of generic CW gloss and drama dripping off of it and its been ‘re-imagined’. Which means it’s further from the source material than Smallville ever was when it began. It’s not the must watch show of the fall for me but I may check out episode 2 to see if it can rise above it’s pilot, which is what is most new shows face. The cast was charming though and it was hinted that (Dinah) Laurel Lance may be donning the Black Canary fishnets earlier than we anticipated.

Best Thing Ever: 

“That one that looks like the chick from Twilight.”
“What’s Twilight?”
“You’re better off not knowing.”
*audience cheers*

EW’s Women Who Kick Ass! Panel: “Let’s All Pray Lucy Doesn’t Go To Prison.”

Kick Ass Women

Panel Members: Anna Torv (Fringe), Kristen Kreuk (Smallville, Beauty and the Beast), Sarah Wayne Callies (Walking Dead), Nikki Reed (Twilight), Kristen Bauer von Straten (True Blood) and surprise panelist Lucy Lawless (do I really need to list what she’s been in?)

The Down Low: It was just a really chill panel asking the ladies about various things, mostly having to do with being a women in Hollywood. They were all funny, intelligent and well spoken.

– Apparently Xena could be doing some serious jail time for a Greenpeace protest where she (illegally) climbed a 174-foot drilling tower on an oil rig. This quickly and firmly established her as the biggest bad ass of the panel. And she didn’t even have to break out the chakrams.

– She also explained how to use a Go-Girl “You gotta tuck!”

– When asked about whether Hollywood’s perception of women has changed, they agreed it is changing, but at the same time actresses should also “be warriors” and pursue their own projects.

– Sarah Wayne Callies explained that women are often told to consider one another competition in Hollywood. However that’s the opposite of the truth and Lucy actually taught her that on her very first show (they worked together).

– When asked about whether it’s challenging for women to find projects with great characters, Kristen said that there are actually a lot of great character driven parts and stories out there.

– Nikki explained she grew up surrounded by strong women her entire life, and she continued to surround herself with them. So it was never an issue that she could never do something because she was a girl. She had been brought up knowing that if she wanted to do it, she should do it.

– The group was asked about whether or not the Hollywood bias that men don’t want to watch strong female women is true. The panel all pretty much said Girls (which has a large male following) is a perfect example of that being false. Lucy pointed out older women are reigning on TV in shows like Damages (and she’s loving it). Writing is also a factor, and if you look on TV you can find a lot of female characters who don’t fall prey to the stereotypes. They all agreed there will always be some kind of resistance.

– When asked about bad costumes, Kristen Kreuk said a lot of the wardrobe on Smalleville made her uncomfortable because her character was supposed to be a seventeen year old and they’d have her in lingerie. Anna Torv explained Fringe has really relaxed clothing and the worst thing she’s ever had to wear is a skintight suit to make her look nude. Nikki Reed said to ask her in about five years when she can talk about Twilight. Sarah Wayne Callies replied that the Walking Dead is the enemy of vanity and they pretty much just slather her with sunscreen and throw dirt on her instead of there being makeup (and she likes it). Lucy Lawless said it was a bad merkin they had her wear on Spartixcus. And Kristen Bauer von Straten exclaimed that on True Blood she actually wears more clothes than the boys (which is refreshing!) however the stuff they have her wear for Pam is generally uncomfortable. Because of all the nakedness she believes the cast of TB is healthier, because they’re more conscious and eat their veggies more often.

-They sighted Sigourney Weaver as a major inspiration. Also Elizabeth Moss and Kate Blanchett.

-During the Q&A they were asked what was the biggest hurdle facing women’s rights. They talked it over in depth and came out on the other side agreeing that Comic Con wasn’t the best place to talk it over, simply because they didn’t have enough time to give the question the answer it deserved. There are a lot of issues that span from national to international, there are so many issues and rights it’s not fair to the question.

-Anna Torv did say that she feels a hurdle we do face is that we are the generation to trailblazers. We’re this new generation of feminists who don’t have an extended past to look back on as a good example. Yet at the same time we don’t really see ourselves as trail blazers and that gets lost.

– Most of them can totally tell when a guy writes dialog for them.

-Kristen Bauer von Straten wants Pam and Tara to HOOK UP on True Blood.

– The final question was what cliches did they all wish would go away. Lucy loves cliches and thanked the sci-fi community for being so supportive of women, even through embracing cliches. Kristen Bauer von Straten said she was tired of the black widow cliche (even though she admits Pam kind of is one). Sarah Wayne Callies said women running in a bikini without anything moving. Nikki Reed said the issues of body image and the fact that men do not have it to the degree we do as well a the effect it can have on a women’s career. Kristen Kreuk agreed and said she also wants what it means to be a strong female character to be redefined. That it will no longer be about kicking ass and taking names, but more about inner strength.

Best Thing Ever: All of them the entire time. Also Sarah Wayne Callies cracking a joke about being able to help spring Lucy Lawless out of prison (as her show before WD was Prison Break). Also, also, also Kristen Bauer von Straten going off into a hilarious tangent about nudity.

Dark Horse: Joss Whedon “Well, it’s been an interesting year.”

Panel Members: Just one guy who’s name starts with a J wearing a black shirt that said “Much Ado About Nothing”.

The Down Low: Not a whole lot or breaking news here. Joss didn’t come prepared to say much as he has been talking pretty much since he arrived to the con and everything had already been announced. It was mostly a big Q & A, however:

– The movie Much Ado About Nothing (aka ‘Me and my friends got together and decided to do Shakespeare’) just wrapped post last Wednesday. Joss not only directed the movie, but wrote the entire score which was a first for him. The film is actually in black and white and they’ll be shopping the film to festivals soon.

– About 45 minutes after finishing Much Ado he began working on Dr. Horrible 2! Some songs are already done and they are hoping to get things started next spring.

– The CW will air Dr. Horrible itself for the first time ever on TV!

– Right after SDCC he was flying to England to get together with comic writing star Warren Ellis about their collaborative project Wastelands.

– There will be 25 issues of Buffy comics.

– 25 issues of Angel and Faith with one of the main story lines being Angel and Faith trying to resurrect Giles.

– There will be a Willow mini series.

– And a Spike miniseries.

– There will be more Firefly Comics. Both comics that delve into characters pasts a la the best selling “The Shepherd’s Tale” as well as comics that push the story forward after Serenity.

– If you bounce the Wonderflonium you may bring about the Zombie Apocalypse.

– His advice to struggling artists is to make more art, to not wait on others and do it themselves and “make it happen”.

– He would like to return to TV because he really loves the medium of television, however he has no plans to do so at the moment.

– He was a bit dodgy about whether or not he would direct the Avengers sequel.

– Joss would really like to do a stage musical, but has a lot of projects possibly lined up.

– He would like to write more Fray and Sugar Shock, but it’s the same issue of other projects.

Best Thing Ever: When he opened up the panel to Q & A he said he wanted questions like “What’s it like to work for FOX?” and then proceeded to mime being trapped in a box.

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Ash has written 5 articles for us.


  1. I just want to say that seeing Legend of Korra on Autostraddle just made my life. It’s all my interests in one place (my interests being queer ladies and Avatar). I want to go to ComicCon and cosplay Lin (or Toph from ATLA) so badly!

    • Lin and Toph are the best characters ever. I very rarely get crushes on animated characters, but I’m madly in love with Lin.

      • I’m currently working on screen-printing my gym shirts with the Bei Fong family crest. I’m usually not this fan-girly but did you see Lin’s back muscles in that putting on her police uniform montage? I had to fan myself, flustered-old-lady style.

        • Yes! That back definitely blew my mind. But I gotta admit, the battle on the arena and Lin taking care of Tenzin’s kids are the scenes that stole my heart.

          Also, your shirts sound like they’ll be amazing.

    • I seriously saw the GREATEST Lin Bei Fong cosplay at SDCC. She had the jointed armor and the metal lines laced through for bending. I honestly made a little squee noise when I saw her and took a picture of her posing all surly with a very cheerful Korra. But alas it came out super blurry.

      I really want to do an article on why gaymos (and ladies in general) should embrace LoK, but I’m still figuring out how to approach it.

      • That article would be so cool. I love both Avatar series. I honestly believe they have some of the best writing of any of today’s tv hows, including live action. And the female characters rock.

      • I totally support this proposed article. To be honest, I’ve been lurking for half a year and I just made this account because I was so excited to find out that Autostraddlers are into LoK. Rock on with your ComicCon coverage and thoughts on LoK, Ash.


  3. Congratulations on passing your driving test.
    Also congratulations for having such fine taste in viewing decisions.

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