There’s nothing weirder than going to a features panel New York Comic Con Focus on a single actor and listen to them talk about… well… nothing. Out of Ewan McGregor evaluating the relative merits of New York bagels, to David Tennant talking about Shakespeare Chris Evans Even though he only spent 20 minutes on stage and spent most of the time talking about his dog Dodger, the stars really didn’t have much to say. Or more accurately, they weren’t actually allowed to talk about much.
It’s not just these people. The Our flag means death The cast spent an entire hour answering superlative questions and ended the panel with a freestyle beatbox/rap from star Rhys Darby without saying the words once Our flag means death. The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy played “Would You Rather?” with the host. Star Trek Did a single screening of next week’s episode Lower decks and did not announce any news. At least among major networks and actors, the New York Comic Con panel vibe was completely off.
It’s actually nobody’s fault. This is what happens when actors aren’t allowed to talk about their work and only executive producers and production designers chat with the press in studios. These people are interesting and have fascinating things to say about their work, but it’s not who people want to see after NYCC, and it’s not what people want to read about afterward.
AMC was the only major studio that could do something significant. Featuring a whole host of previews and teasers as well as an early screening of the Daryl Dixon Finale and a panel with star producer Norman Reedus, The walking dead walked away as the winner. Or really messed up. The bar of “actors talking about their work” was pretty low. AMC might have realized that waiting for the AMPTP to sign a fair contract was a losing game and decided early on not to hold its breath. The walking dead has been a part of Comic-Cons for over a decade. It would have been a shame to allow corporate greed to come to an end.
But despite all the oddities, there were some good things away from the big stages. The cosplays were incredible – NYCC seems to love iterations and creative interpretations, and this year the fans came. The fan events were also great; I went to a very charming meeting for Izzy Hands fans and came back with washi tape, three pins, two temporary tattoos and the signing of a petition to renew as a crew. There was also a middle winner: comics. Both Direct current And Wonder made big announcements about the books and storylines coming from their imprints. Still, even in comics, there was a lot of “What the hell is going on?” floating around.
I’m talking about Tom Hardy. The actor stopped by NYCC on Saturday to promote Bowbound –the military science fiction comic he co-created with Scott Snyder. Bow-bound is the first series from Arcbound Studios, a company with strong ties to Web3, crypto and digital collectibles, also known as NFTs. There was no word on how Bow-bound will cross between entertainment and digital collectibles, and Arcbound Studio website is similarly sparse, with no news, a single focus on Bow-boundCharacters and plot, as well as a strange button for “Kickstarter” for which no information is provided.
This is the kind of news that is usually overshadowed by big media events, trailers, big lineups and premieres at NYCC. It’s great that comics and cosplay have gotten their chance in the spotlight, especially after San Diego Comic-Con was so embarrassing that it went on despite many actors opting out at the last minute due to the timing of the SAG-AFTRA strike withdrawn. But in many ways I really felt like some of the actors and casting panel probably shouldn’t have come to NYCC at all.
A game show style panel is kind of charming, but also completely worthless. It is not Interesting, It’s just there to take up time on a schedule. These panels were, in the least charitable sense, disrespectful to actors who are extremely talented and successful and would probably have fascinating things to say if they were just asked the right questions. As a fan, it was also demoralizing to have spent money to attend a panel discussion hoping to get some interesting insight into who these people are and instead found yourself wincing – much like the actors on stage – during Host asks, “Who would be most likely to take a selfie with Bigfoot?” as if that were a real question that people ask each other.
The biggest problem with all of these people on stage was that very few of them talked about the strike and only a few indirectly alluded to the labor action. Everyone seemed to realize that they were walking a very fine line between what counted as supporting striking work and what didn’t, but the complete lack of a labor discussion felt strange after months of support. There was no mention at all of the WGA strikes, which were resolved just last month. Ultimately, these mixed messages are here to promote their work, aren’t they? Will they talk about the strikes or not? Will they talk about something new or interesting? – created a strange tension between the audience and the people on stage.
One of the best NYCC panels I’ve attended wasn’t on one of the main stages… or even on a stage. In the back room of the River Pavilion on the fourth floor The National Association of Voice Actors hosted a panel discussion on AI This was insightful and full of personal experiences. Even though the panel discussion took place more or less in a cafeteria, the topic was so interesting that all the tables were full and people listened carefully to what was being said. At a conference where every other panel seemed to be active, plodding, and avoiding talking about the labor movements currently taking place, the NAVA panel was a refreshing discussion that not only valued the time and expertise of its panelists, but also the intelligence of the members was respected by the audience.
Want more io9 news? Find out when you can expect the latest Wonder, war of starsAnd Star Trek Releases, what’s next for the DC Universe in film and televisionand everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.