But it’s not just the logistics that made Friday my favorite day this year … it was the PANELS! For most of us and our readers, Friday was Outlander day. And it proved itself.
Early Morning Floor Scope Out
I got up early on Friday to spend some time on the floor, looking for hidden fandom treasures and gifts for my kids. I found two vendors selling Yuri on Ice merchandise, and I was so excited but it was way too expensive. Like I know how much acrylic keychains run for at a con, and it’s not $28. Being on the floor as soon as it opens can be great; you get the chance to breathe a bit. But getting there is another story. THE LINE UP, man. I forgot they don’t open the floor in a normal fashion. Never getting there early again. Forever waiting til it’s been open 10 minutes, so I can walk right in.
But I did walk right into The Vikings booth, and got roped into doing this nonsense.
Which probably would have been cool if I hadn’t been wearing jorts and a t-shirt with two make figure skaters kissing. So if you’re dressed like an extra from Braveheart, go do the Vikings booth.
The Walking Dead
Next up was The Walking Dead panel in Hall H, which went a little differently than it usually does. Showrunners and cast opened solemnly by giving tribute to the recently deceased John Bernecker, a stuntman from the show. Then they showed a trailer for the new season, and I have to say: I was not a casual watcher of TWD for the first four seasons; I religiously watched each Sunday night. Then … we quit. It just wasn’t gripping us like it used to after the fake-Glen-death under the dumpster. But this trailer was so excellent that I’m going to have to catch up. The next season looks intense.
Game of Thrones
Next up was the holy grail of Hall H programming – the Game of Thrones panel, moderated by Kristian Nairn – Hodor himself. Stuff happened, questions were asked, but I was intrigued by two things: Alfie Allen brought an adorable puppy onstage, and Gwendolyn Christie’s 4-inch white leather heels, which I could see the whole time where I was sitting. She’s perfection.
Meanwhile in Ballroom 20 by Julie
While Beth, Nik and Karen conquered Hall H, Bekah and I decided to stake our claim for seats for Outlander’s panel in Ballroom 20. Word to the wise: you don’t have to camp out for seats in Ballroom 20 because Bekah and I sailed right in with the rest of our clan joining us hours later.
Before we could scream at Tobias, envy Cait’s bangs, and dissect Sam’s new haircut, we sat in on EW’s Brave New Warrior panel. We got our first taste of Outlander’s Rik Rankin, who was joined by American Gods’ Ricky Whittle, Stranger Things’ David Harbour, Happy’s Christopher Meloni, Once Upon a Time’s Colin O’Donoghue, and Westworld’s Rodrigo Santoro. The actors talked about their most embarrassing acting experiences, first jobs, and their own man crushes. What made our heart swoon most was the bromance between the entire panel, which we immortalized in GIF glory:
— That's Normal (@Thats_Normal) July 21, 2017
Meanwhile Back with Beth
Making sure you get a seat for the Outlander panel in Ballroom 20 is easy. Walk in the room 1.5 panels before it starts. Sit on 5th row. Done.
Karen, Nikki and I left the scrum that is Hall H letting out after Game of Thrones, got coffee, went potty and headed straight to B20 for the Outlander panel. Walking in mid-SYFY panel was a treat; I got a nice nap. Then there was a panel for Fox’s The Gifted, which looks fairly ok, but probably pretty good if you are into XMen lore.
We also had some snacks and had to endure Julie and Bekah go on about how they are hard core Rik Rankin stans now. Then it was time for the important portion of the day and what you are all here for.
The Outlander Starz Panel
Look at that great photography!
So, Jenna Dewan Tatum moderated the Outlander panel this year for reasons unknown. She’s a fan? I guess? And she was going to be there anyway because her husband was promoting the Kingsman Golden Circle to much applause. Regardless, she seemed happy to be there.
I, on the other hand, was very very very happy to once again share space with my ultimate bae, Tobias Menzies.
This year’s panel was a good time. Ron D Moore, Maril Davis, Richard Rankin, Sophie Skelton, Tobias Menzies, Diana Gabaldon, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe were all present and got one good question each. Except Tobias. He got lots.
Season 3 is going to focus on Jamie and Claire’s long separation, and of course their longing for one another. We heard about aging them both 20 years, what wigs were best and how their reunion will be very sweet and long-suffered.
Diana had the best comment of the panel though. When asked if she wrote an episode for this season she quipped, “No, I wrote the book; I think that was enough.” GAH. I love her sometimes.
Of course, the room got a special surprise when Graham McTavish came Tulach Ard-ing onstage. It was sweet to see the cast’s genuine surprise and delight at seeing him.
BUT the big surprise was getting to see the entire first episode of the third season. The room collectively lost their shit, and I was just glad I knew to take a potty break beforehand.
Want to know what happened in the episode? I’m sure someone else will tell you. But I will say, that like season 2’s opener, it was a very strong, very emotional, very well done hour of television. Everyone on Team Normal had nothing but good things to say about it.
So that’s it for our Friday adventures! We skipped out on our parties to party in our room, and get some work done (like this post for you guys), and to plan our Saturday down to the minute. I’m just kidding. It’s almost 10am on Saturday and I haven’t gotten a shower yet. I have no idea what we are doing.
SEE YOU SOON ALL!