Back to the exciting adventures of Michelle in Conventionland! I have now made up a word. I feel this is an acceptable part of my life as I tend to do these sort of things all the time. Today you are joining me for day two of my 2016 Walker Stalker Con journey. One of the other main panels I knew I wanted to attend for certain was the Negan panel. My passion was completely overrun by the thousand flames of desire. And thankfully my friends understood and agreed to get up super early with me so we could get in line. I’m positive that we stood in line for about an hour and a half. Maybe even two. We were closer than we ever thought we would be that is for sure.
And of course talking ensued at the time. Talking that mainly I understood from the woman who was behind us in line because my friends did not watch the show at the time, one of them still does not but that is okay, and my friends told me they realized just how dedicated some of the fans of the show happen to be. By dedicated the woman we talked to in line was telling us about how she has watched the series multiple times and had notebooks. In a lot of ways she reminded me of Yvette Nicole Brown. This woman knew about aspects of the show I had never even thought about. Granted, up until season five I was playing catch up and not watching in real time, instead of a DVR recording or on Netflix, like I do now. She was very insightful and pointed out a lot of elements I felt that I missed through binging the first four seasons.
Once we made our way through this line, I was beyond excited when they moved us closer toward the stage for this panel. The lack of people who attended this panel blew my mind. I know Negan is technically the villain and all, but considering how popular he is I expected this to be packed and anyone VIP or above to be taking advantage of their passes. The cooler part of the “It’s Negan” panel is that it included both Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Greg Nicotero. This panel started out far funnier than I could have imagined considering that Jeffrey Dean Morgan booed himself for Negan’s actions the previous week when his character took away Glenn and Abraham from fans. He continued to do this every time Nicotero brought up Negan’s actions. It was also hilarious to hear how Jeffrey Dean Morgan though he was going to be hated after the premiere aired. He also pretended to snore when Nicotero brought up the second episode of the season and the lack of Negan. He is honestly just a really funny, laid back guy.
Likewise, I was equally as excited to listen to Greg Nicotero talk about directing the premiere episode of season seven and there really being no other way to introduce this character. I absolutely agree with him and Russ Streiner in that regard, who I talked with for a while about it when he asked my opinion on the episode later on in the day. My opinion is, and was at the time, that everyone was bitching at the end of season six because they wanted to know who Negan killed. Then it turned into people complaining that the scene was too graphic. This was now too much and excessive gore. Plus considering that it stayed true to the comics, from the bits and pieces I’ve seen of it that says a lot. And while people will argue that the show has not always stayed true to the comics, I still think there was no other way to bring in Negan. He was never going to let a box of kittens lick them to death okay. He has a bat wrapped in barbwire that he has named. The man has thought through his choice of weapon and how much damage said weapon can cause.
By the time the three of us made our way back downstairs we decided to look around for a bit instead of going into another panel immediately. Plus, seeing as I had never been through the photo op process there I felt the need to stay downstairs to make sure I was on time for my close up with Robert Englund! Needless to say I turned into a complete girly girl while in line who insisted on brushing my hair so it was perfect by the time I entered the area. The best part, because I had NO IDEA how I wanted to pose is that Robert would take one look at his fans and know. He told me that we were going to pretend to tango and I could not help but smile like an idiot. And I do mean idiot. I legit have never been so happy taking a picture in my life!
When I made it back to my friend I was still all smiles as we went off to try and meet Judith O’Dea and Russ Streiner. While this took a couple of circlings it was well worth my time. This was such a treat to attain some knowledge behind the photos they signed for me before I took my pictures with them as well. Plus, I appreciate that Russ took a second to really get to know my thoughts and opinions on the premiere episode of The Walking Dead the previous Sunday. And he elaborated on the panel discussion, which was even better. Yes, there is gore for gores sake but this was not the case. Such great people, super down to earth and everything you want when you meet someone you have admired for some time. This meet and greet was everything I could have asked for and more.
Now I must back track for a moment, in between getting to meet two horror icons, I also had the pleasure of being apart of another photo op with Denis O’Hare. Now while I have loved him in his various American Horror Story roles, I first got to know Mr. O’Hare through True Blood as the one and only Russell Edgington. So of course when we met, he complimented me on my 80s themed Freddy Krueger shirt and I got a bit of an embrace. And unlike with others I managed to get up some courage and ask him if he would do me a favor and pretend to bite my neck. And again I looked far too happy about this. But when one meets the actor who plays Russell Edgington you ask him to bite your neck!
After having these encounters, my friend and I went back upstairs to join the “Group Therapy” panel. This panel consisted of Christian Serratos, Lauren Cohan, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, and Michael Cudlitz. The only bummer is that they let us in late into the panel even though we arrived on time to line up. Note to all panel goers. Unless you are in the front of the line you risk this taking place. Granted, we only missed about ten minutes of the program, and I know they must have a tight schedule, but I think there are plenty of us who would have appreciated them starting the panel once all audience members were seated.
With that said, we were also much further back on this panel than we were some of the other ones. One of the funniest part of the panel was that Michael Cudlitz went on and about this story of war and mayhem and namely so he could get the interpreter to sign it. And Lauren Cohan added to the story afterward there were kittens, rainbows, and unicorns also to see what this looked like via sign language. Another humorous part was her going down the panel and saying that she would be okay being a single mom on the show because she had everyone and they joked that they had not told her about Michael leaving yet and she pretended to leave and then pretended to cry backstage.
Moments that should not have been as funny as they were did not end there though. After all, when Josh McDermitt mentioned that Steven and Michael were scattered brained on set when filming I laughed far harder than I should have. I also was able to sing happy birthday to someone for the second time that weekend. Apparently they have a tradition there that every panel that consists of someone with a birthday in that month they sing to them and get cupcakes. They were a really goofy panel but I loved it. And honestly seeing the actors behind these characters that are often played as intense was oddly refreshing.
Upon finishing up the panel, we made our way downstairs again and decided to look down the autograph area again before deciding that we were going to go to one more panel and head out. This of course was after realizing that the Carol and Morgan panel had been canceled and we did not have to get immediately in line once more for that panel on the main stage once more.
Soon, before we knew it, we were back in line for the Ross MarQuand and Jordan Woods-Robinson panel. What I thought was particularly interesting about this panel was that someone who was in the “Group Therapy” panel asked Ross if he thought that he was the most like his character since at the other panel they had decided that was the case. He said that he really did have a lot of characteristics like Aaron and one of those being that he collected license plates. And Jordan stated that we were going to get to see more of Eric in season seven since he has finally had time to heal. I will admit I’m more excited about Eric in season right now though, which is not the point and I will not spoil the show for those who have not seen last week’s premiere.
Shortly after we left the panel we debated on staying a bit longer, but both decided that we were hungry and were in major need of some Waffle House. Needless to say, I think that will be a tradition we keep at least at one point this weekend and I am more than okay with some hashbrowns in my belly. Our Waffle House desires did not make day two any less fantastic. In fact, I left feeling even more invigorated than when I came and ready to take on the last day of the convention. Just remember, if you want to read more about my weekend, check back tomorrow for the conclusion of my 2016 Walker Stalker weekend in my three day countdown to Walker Stalker Con 2017.