On the weekend of May 25 through 27, the ExCel Centre in London transformed into one of the biggest European Comic Conventions, MCM Comic Con. Over the course of three days, fans of video games, film, TV, comics, cosplay and all things nerdy were able to meet their favourite stars, try out new games, stock up on merchandise and most importantly, meet other like-minded people.
MCM was structured into different parts, such as the Creator Stage which centered around all things Youtube/online content, as well as a big Cosplay area, one part that was focused on Asian content (food, as well as tv, film and other creations), a video gaming area where fans were able to try out upcoming games, the so-called “Live Stage” which focused on new movies like Dark Phoenix and Spider-Man: Far From Home and of course the main stage area, which next to the main panel area also housed the photo op and autograph sessions. Throughout these different “stages”, fans were able to visit vendors, artists and cosplayers showing off their skills. The whole convention stretched over the entirety of the ground floor of the ExCel, which meant that you needed good footwear to see it all.
If you only had a day-ticket, it was almost impossible to see all the things offered at this event, especially if you wanted to see one or two more celebrity panels – because these required queuing for up to an hour before the actual panel started.
There were of course many opportunities for fans to engage with their favourite medium, whether that was an interactive photo opportunity for Dark Phoenix, or the possibility to try out some of the new PlayStation VR games coming out this year. The only thing there was no room for at MCM Comic Con was boredom.
While organization was needed in the Main Stage area (in photo ops, autographs, as well as the panels), it was delightful to see the fans coming out of the photo area, clutching a picture with their favourite actor and with the biggest smile on their faces. It is always the biggest joy to me to see other fans experiencing the happiness of meeting an idol they have wanted to meet for months, years, maybe decades. Setting aside that some of these experiences might have been cut short due to timing, the fans seemed truly happy to be there.
The celebrity guests were a good mix of TV, gaming, film, and content creators, ranging from Marvel actor Sebastian Stan, to Stephen Amell, David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards, the stars of the DC Show Arrow, as well as guests like Misha Collins from Supernatural and Troy Baker who has given his voice to The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, and World of Warcraft.
As a snippet from the celebrity panels this weekend, I decided to share the content and experience of Sebastian Stan’s as well as Misha Collins’ panel on Saturday, May 25.
Sebastian Stan was probably one of the most anticipated guests of MCM Comic Con, considering he has only attended one other convention in Europe (Jus in Bello in Rome – you can see our recap here!) and is part of the biggest movie franchise of our time. Fans from far and wide came to see him, which is why the queue for his panel was cut off almost an hour before it even started.
His panel was hosted by presenter and podcaster Claire Lim, who mixed her own questions with those asked by fans online – some of these questions were well known (most fans already know the answer to them), but it was a good panel nonetheless. When asked about Avengers: Endgame and whether he’s relieved to finally talk about all the secrets, Sebastian mentioned that with Marvel the secrets never really stop and that he still doesn’t know what he’s allowed to say or not, especially because he has a new TV show on Disney+ on the horizon. He added that when it comes to “Endgame” spoilers, he never knew what was going to be in which movie, since Infinity War and Endgame were both shot in 2017 and it wasn’t always clear which scenes were for which movie. Of course he also weighed in on the controversial ending of the film, saying that it’s very different from the comic ending and that Bucky in the comics took the shield because Steve dies and he sees it as a sense of duty, but Bucky in the movie not taking the shield feels more like Steve setting him free and – for the first time in 70 years – giving him the choice whether to fight or not to fight. He added that Sam is a trustworthy character and will be a good Captain America, a sentiment with which the majority of the fans agree.
Sebastian shared his experience with the Marvel fandom, which he describes as an “adventure” as he had never been part of such a big film franchise before. Adding to that he said that the most fun he had was shooting Captain America: The Winter Soldier and its sequel Civil War, because he enjoyed the action and fight scenes, throwing in a playful side blow towards Anthony Mackie, who, according to Sebastian “spends most of his time on wire”. He also reminisced about the time spent in London shooting Captain America: The First Avenger and recalled that he enjoyed spending time with Chris Evans and that their friendship helped them build their characters in the movies together.
When asked whether there was something he’d like to tell his past-self, he said it would be to be less scared and nervous of taking the role and enjoy the process of creating the character more than he had. Staying with the idea of character development, Sebastian explained that he’s interested to play a Bucky that is not a counterpart to Steve, that he is excited for the TV show because it gives him more room to explore the character independently. He added that TV has developed a lot in the past few years – giving a short remark about Game Of Thrones and indicating that he (like many) is not happy with the way the show ended.
In the past year, Sebastian has become more interested in the movie making process and would love to try his hand at directing in the future, he talked a bit about his project “oneminuteman” – an Instagram account he shares with his friends Will Malnati and Joe Mazzello, saying he enjoys working with friends with a similar sense of humour.
Regarding his future projects, Sebastian mentioned that he looks for projects that will pose a challenge for him and will help him grow as an actor, giving the example of the thriller 355 in which he will star alongside Jessica Chastain and Lupita Nyong’o. He’d also love to go back to work on stage, maybe even within the next year. In coming back to his past projects, Sebastian said that he would have loved to tell the story of his characters in the limited TV shows Political Animals and Kings, both of which had tragic stories and rather open-endings to them.
The panel closed with a message from a “special” fan, Tom Holland, who sent a video asking Sebastian about their shared project The Devil All The Time – their playful love-hate-relationship has been part of several Marvel press tours and this message posed a delightful insight into Sebastian’s sense of humour as well as his good relationship with co-stars.
All in all, the panel offered great questions from fans and insightful answers form Sebastian, as well as moments of humour and a lot of shared love about Marvel and his other projects.
Misha Collins’ panel was also moderated, which is definitely not the setting Misha is used to as he usually just spends time on stage either by himself or with his co-stars at Supernatural conventions. That’s probably the reason why after a bit of rather awkward banter, Misha basically took matters into his own hands and started answering questions from fans rather than sit down for an interview-style panel.
Misha shared a couple of stories many fans already know, like how he paid a debt from a Words With Friends loss to co-star Jared Padalecki with a car full of coins or how he got pie-d in the face twice after his directing debut.
Of course, he also talked about the show coming to an end and mentioned that one of the happiest memories he has working on this show was when the actors told the other cast and crew that the show was ending. They spent an hour going around, telling people they love them and that they’ll miss them, really emphasizing how close the cast and crew have become over the years and how even though that is a sad memory, it also shows the beauty of the family they have created.
He also mentioned that he’d love to direct another episode in season 15 and shared some of the experience he has had with actors (and co-stars) who have directed the show, saying that actor directors focus more on performance than normal directors, giving the example of Richard Speight Jr., who does “18 takes instead of two, he just keeps going”, but who is loved and respected by the cast and crew equally as an actor and a director.
Speaking about his character Castiel, Misha explained that he likes the concept of Buddhism and rebirth when it comes to looking at the different incarnations of the character he has played so far, adding that the writers use many different mythologies to craft characters, among them Buddhism and Christianity. He also said that he doesn’t think Castiel would like to go back to being human, but being human gave him more empathy for other humans and changed his character in a positive way. When asked what he would take with him from Castiel, he said that he’d also want to do his best, have Castiel’s undying loyalty and he of course, would also like to teleport.
Answering more general and personal questions, Misha said that he likes being politically involved, he thinks that in the state of the world right now we all should find a way to make the world more inclusive and care for the environment and the future equally. He also said that in the future he looks forward to more activism and having more opportunities to travel, for example going back to Japan or seeing Mongolia, which are both on his “bucket list”.
All in all, this was (after the very short interview in the beginning) a typical Misha panel with sarcastic comments, jokes, but an earnest approach when necessary. Misha Collins is one of these people who will always draw you in, especially with his humour and light-hearted comments combined with his sincere warmth and open-mindedness. It was a great panel to watch and one can hope that after the show is over, fans will still have the opportunity to connect with him like they did in this panel.
The weekend of MCM Comic Con came to an end with many new impressions, a bit of sensory overload, but a lot of excitement about what the future will bring for nerd culture.