Amongst the Comic-Con throng, Nathan Fillion is a god. The star of FIREFLY and CASTLE has endeared himself to many a fan boy and girl with numerous roles across the nerdisphere throughout the years.
To witness the reception this man gets when he enters a room or takes a stage at the convention is to witness an invigorating kind of madness. Thousands come to their feet, a rising tide of applause and cheering drowns out everything around you, and men and women swoon over the captain of the Serenity.
But at San Diego Comic-Con 2010… I almost punched him in the face.
It all started in Ballroom 20 during “The Joss Whedon Experience” panel. If you’re a fan of Joss Whedon or any of his work, this is definitely a Comic-Con must do for you. An hour to an hour and a half of Joss alone on stage answering any and all questions honesty, thoughtfully, and with a killer wit that’s amazing and engaging to see in action.
Fifteen minutes before the panel was scheduled to end, I left my chair near the back of the room to scout out potential seats for the next panel.
(Comic-Con Pro Tip: Rooms during the convention are never emptied between panels. Usually, 25%-35% or so of the people in the room you’re in will be leaving at the end of the current panel. If you’re staying in the room and want better seats, look for people packing up as the panel draws to a close and VERY POLITELY ask them if they’re staying for what’s next. You can often get them to save their seats for you until you can make it back to them once the panel has ended. This has worked for me extremely well every year.)
In this case, I moved to the wall on the side of the room to look for people who appeared ready to go. As I was observing the room, I noticed a suspicious looking character staring at me.
I can hear you thinking as you read this, “A suspicious looking character at Comic-Con? Isn’t that the one place where EVERYONE looks suspicious?”
But this was no ordinary Comic-Con suspect. There was no cape, no zombie viscera, no tail or feathers protruding from any area of this character. There was however a very unfashionable white beret, coupled with sunglasses being worn indoors and the kind of mustache that set off my child molester spider-sense.
This weirdo was staring at me with a crooked smile on his face… and he was slowly but obviously creeping toward me with an odd little limp. Hmmm…
“Hey, how ya doin’?” He says in a conspiratorial voice that further solidifies my impression of him as someone who may try to touch me. He then does a short “heh, heh, heh” chuckle before asking me, “You a big Joss Whedon fan?” I told him I liked Whedon just fine, but that I was primarily here for the next panel.
The crooked smile from earlier becomes slightly more antagonistic. “What? Is something wrong with Joss? Don’t you like BUFFY? What about FIREFLY? SERENITY was a damn good movie!” He says in that rapid-fire, breathless stream of consciousness way that tells you you’re dealing with someone who’s either very passionate about something… or a total whackjob (occasionally at Comic-Con, it’s hard to tell).
In any case, this was getting weird. Especially because this guy was getting closer and closer into my personal space with every rant. If he got any closer, he’d be touching me. And if he touched me, I was going to hit him. I’m not a violent person or a tough guy at all, but he was getting uncomfortably close. I smiled politely and told him that I’d never seen BUFFY or FIREFLY but I had seen SERENITY and thought was a good movie.
At that, the weirdo abruptly stepped back. “Have a good con!” He said before quickly jogging off to ask Joss Whedon a question. This should be interesting, I thought to myself as he stepped up to the mic.
In the same suspect, conspiratorial voice I’d come to know over the last few minutes, he asks, “You like to use the same actors over and over. Some might even say you play favorites. So who is your favorite actor?”
I must admit to being surprised at his composure and the thoughtful way in which he poses his question. Aside from that weird voice, he seems a different person than the one I’d come so close to hitting only seconds ago. All eyes turn to Joss Whedon who answers, “I’d get in trouble if I had to choose, but… it’s Nathan Fillion.”
The mere mention of Fillion is enough to elicit thunderous applause from this audience. But before it can die down completely, Whedon points at my accoster, and repeats, “NO. Really it’s NATHAN FILLION!”
His cue being given, my friend the weirdo removes his beret, sunglasses, as peels away his mustache to reveal… Nathan Fillion.
The thousands in Ballroom 20 came to their feet as a rising tide of applause and cheering drowned out everything around me while men and women swooned over the captain of the Serenity.
My admiration and respect for Nathan Fillion was solidified that day. He had me completely fooled, and it was funny. I’m glad I didn’t hit him, because the 5000 people screaming for him in Ballroom 20 would have surely killed me.
As luck would have it, I found YouTube footage of this, the first entry in Con Man. Enjoy, my friends.