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DCC drew to an enthusiastic close on its final day for 2016. More celebrities from stage and screen brought swarming crowds to the BellCo Theater – including a final convention send-off from Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston. But before that final session, geeks of every genre found celebrity and fan programming catering to their interests.
The DC Television Universe was represented first with several stars from the FOX series, Gotham. Set approximately a decade before the debut of Batman, Gotham examines the origin stories of the Caped Crusader’s most deviling opponents. So far, the show has brought forth underworld mainstays such as The Penguin, The Riddler and Mr. Freeze. But in addition, a much longer origin arc is being drawn for young Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Selina Kyle (Catwoman), as well as Bruce’s mentor and guardian Alfred Pennyworth. The three stars bringing those characters to life – David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova and Sean Pertwee – all arrived in Room 712 for an audience Q & A, moderated by Star Trek: Voyager’s Garrett Wang.
The early portion of the conversation focused on the three actors’ scariest moments as part of producing the program, both for their characters and for themselves. For Pertwee, Alfred’s stabbing by his longtime friend Reggie Payne in Season 1 earned the nod. For Alfred, it was the first time he was facing his own mortality. For Pertwee, however, he suddenly had to portray Alfred with a motivation he had yet to work with, survival.
“To that point, he had only been concerned with taking care of Bruce,” he explained.
Bicondova found portraying the vulnerability of Selina Kyle equally formidable. While the eventual Catwoman never had much in the way of material support, Kyle believed she could always count on the relationships she chose to maintain. The seeming death of her friend, Bridgette, shattered that notion.
“Her connections are all she had,” Bicondova said. “When Bridgette died, she had nothing.”
For his part, David Mazouz saw a difference between the scenes that were most difficult as an actor and those that were most daunting for Bruce Wayne. Talking about himself, his first fight scenes gave him the most trepidation.
“I’d never done a scene like that before and I just wanted to make it look real,” Mazouz said.
For Bruce, though, he believes that confronting his parents’ killer, “Matches” Malone, was his most terrifying moment.
Steadying young “Master Bruce” through all these adolescent challenges, however, is the presence of Alfred. Through the first two seasons, Alfred has taught the son of Thomas and Martha Wayne a variety of skills. Whether fighting, sleuthing or even sowing, Alfred’s varied fields of expertise have been critical in helping Bruce become someone who can stand up for himself.
“I liken Alfred to a Swiss Army knife,” Pertwee said.
Before the discussion came to a close, the panel eventually turned to what twists the acting trio hope are in store for season 3 of the program. Mazouz brought a cheer from the crowd when he wished for more integration with the rest of the DC Universe.
“I’d love for Clark Kent to visit Gotham, or even just see a headline about a boy saving a bus of school just children. Any Easter egg like that,” Mazouz speculated. “Or, of course, a crossover with Arrow or Flash.”
Gotham’s third season is set to premiere on Monday, September 19th, on the FOX television network.
Doctor Who: Panels
Over in the “Whoniverse,” the countdown to the arrival of Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston began with a mid-day panel reviewing the tenure of Coleman’s Clara Oswald in the TARDIS. Heather and Thomas Maloney of the Doctor Who Geekport Podcast, Shad Gray of Whovian fan-site Torchwood Seven, UC-Denver Communications graduate Cassie Schoon, and this writer took questions from the audience and moderator Chris Getzan about where Clara Oswald ranked among the all-time companions of the show.
Afterward, Somer Leigh Suter, Jeff Allen, Shelley Duncan and Trevor Liam-Byrne Smith of the Denver fan community Mile High Who conducted a review of the television writing career of Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat. The discussion featured clips ranging from the early 90s series Press Gang all the way up to the Emmy Award-winning series Sherlock. Moffat has announced that series 10 will be his last with the program. As Doctor Who enters the second decade of its wildly successful reboot, Broadchurch producer Chris Chibnall will take control of the show’s creative reins.
Doctor Who: Jenna Coleman & Alex Kingston
With Day 3 entering its waning hours, actors Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston arrived at the BellCo Theater stage to talk about their time travelling with the Doctor. Kingston recently reprised her fan-favorite role of River Song in the 2015 Christmas special. The run of Coleman’s Clara Oswald, meanwhile, just recently came to an end with the Series 9 finale, entitled “Hell Bent.” Both actors have had the chance to play opposite several men cast as the Doctor, and both expressed joy at working with the latest to take the role, Peter Capaldi.
“It was wonderful that Peter was cast after David and Matt,” Kingston said of the contrast in age between Capaldi and his two younger predecessors. “After all, the Doctor was a grandfather when it started.”
For Coleman, her departure from the show proved bittersweet. While she was ready for her career to move toward new opportunities, she lamented discontinuing her work with Capaldi.
“I just find him absolutely hilarious,” Coleman said. “He’s one of my best best friends.”
Recalling how their work relationship began, Coleman remembered getting “the eyebrows” when she would try to pilot the TARDIS from its main console. Capaldi, as the Doctor, famously referred to them as “attack eyebrows” in his debut story at the start of Season 8. Kingston jokingly responded that she had never received any similar guff for her helmsmanship of the mystical blue box.
“He wouldn’t dare do that to me!” Kingston proclaimed, later adding, “(River Song) knows how to fly the TARDIS better than he does.”
While participating in the Q & A, the duo also reflected on the recent explosion of the program in North America and around the world. Noting how the show was previously considered niche or cult, Kingston credited the acquisition and backing of the program by BBC America and BBC Worldwide for the surge in the program’s following.
“Almost overnight it became a huge phenomenon,” she said. “The fans are so damn loyal that they want to watch everything!”
Coleman agreed, stating that she didn’t fully realize how big the show had grown until she visited her first Comic Con in the United States. While grateful for the fandom supporting the show and her time on it, Coleman was uncertain about the possibility of a Clara spin-off. In the Season 9 finale, both Clara Oswald and the immortal Lady Me flew off together in their own TARDIS, disguised as a 1950s diner. Kingston was a bit more tantalizing with the notion of future adventures for River Song.
“There are still some adventures in River’s diary that haven’t been done yet,” she revealed.
As for further installments of Doctor Who, the show is currently on hiatus for 2016. The “Mad Man in a Box” is confirmed, however, to return for Season 10 the following year.
What I Took Away
Taken all together, the fifth edition of Denver Comic Con came together as a fantastic success. DCC 2016 featured some of the biggest names from the hottest franchises in comics (Stan Lee for Marvel), horror (Jeffrey Dean Morgan for The Walking Dead), fantasy (Lena Headay for Game of Thrones) and science fiction (Coleman & Kingston for Doctor Who). The addition of the BellCo Theater facility to the available con space was invaluable for making sure fans got the opportunity to see the artists they followed. Though the June temperatures indoors and outdoors could drain even the most ardent consumers, Denver Comic Con isn’t losing anything as a cool experience for geeks of the Mountain West.