Curse You, Nathan Fillion! (A Convention Adventure)
In the past I’ve written about my fleeting encounter with Song of Ice and Fire scribe George R.R. Martin at the Supanova convention. In the time since I’ve contemplated which stars would be on my wishlist for future encounters. People responsible for creating my favourite characters and shaping my interests. People like Tara Strong and Jim Lee. The top of the list would undoubtably be Joss Whedon, but running a close second would be one particular awesome actor.
The man is a legend in geek circles. This is mostly due to his signature role as Capt. Mal Reynold’s in the TV series Firefly, a show whose briefness of tenure is matched only by the intensity of its fandom. This was the tongue-in-check Han Solo for a new audience. He was charming, witty and (when the need arose) vicious. Firefly was short lived but it’s impact is long reaching, with Fillion and Alan Tudyk parodying that time of their lives in the upcoming Con Man.
But it’s not just Mal Reynolds. It’s also Captain Hammer, the dimwitted egomaniac super hero in the musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog. It’s Caleb, one of the most terrifying villains Buffy Summers ever faced. It’s the long running starring role as Richard Castle, a crime solving crime fiction writer in Castle. He was in Slither, Super, Community, Gravity Falls, Monster University, a blink and you’ll still miss it cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy and a number of turns voicing the Green Lantern. He has even spoofed his role in the geek community playing himself in The Guild and The Big Bang Theory.
So imagine how thrilled everyone was when it was announced that Fillion would be headlining the next Supanova event in our tiny little city. This is one of the biggest names they could bring down here. We waited as the months drifted by, catching our breath every time a name cancelled their appearance. Nancy Cartwright. Morena Baccarin (again). Willa Holland. Many of the big name appearances were dropping out. Nathan Fillion didn’t. The weekend came around and we could buy our autograph and photo tokens. They weren’t cheap. To get my Firefly box set signed it would be the most expensive autograph I’ve paid for. More than Shatner or Carrie Fisher. I paid. It was worth it.
Then there were the lines. If you wanted that brief face to face with the man you were giving up a couple of hours from your convention time. You’d be waiting in line through panels, photo ops, demonstrations and more. I was working. My role was to get coverage of the event, standing in line was going to put that entire burden on my photographer. I had to call in some major favours, make many promises and essentially give up my dignity and beg…but they fast tracked me through the line. I’m not going to lie…it was a very special privilege that I don’t feel like I earned. But I took it.
I joined the group at the front of the queue and handed over my token. They took my box set and added it to the line of items to be signed. They didn’t ask for my name – they had a long line to get through and there was no time for personalisations. After a few minutes my time had come. The person in front of me was moving aside and…Nathan Fillion picked up my Firefly DVD box set, dented at the corners, creased in places and carrying a lot of evidence of use.
There was a drill to follow. We step up, they smile politely, will take your hand if proffered, and answer a question if you have one before the talent agent shuffles you along. There were so many things I wanted to ask him. What does it feel like being the patron saint of geek culture? What’s your favourite moment from Firefly? What would you do to get the chance to bring that show back? What’s next for you?Are you going to try out for the Han Solo prequel?
But then…he did something totally unexpected.
“Hi there, I’m Nathan. Pleased to meet you,” he said, holding out his hand.
I froze. I couldn’t respond. His Canadian politeness had disarmed me. Who was he to act like a normal person, presume that he would need to introduce himself? Like he’s people!
This had never happened (well, once) before. I’d met my heroes before without tripping over my own tongue. Just recently I’d talked Batman with Matt Smith and sat down with Robert Englund. What had happened to me? The time it was taking for me to compose myself was stretching out. Fillion picked up the slack.
“This is a good collection you’ve got going here!” He was talking about the autographs already on my box set. I’d been lucky enough to have Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite and Sean Maher scribble on it already.
I muttered something about how lucky I was to meet such cool people already.
“Good thing you haven’t been to Adam yet. His signature takes up the whole box.” Adam Baldwin was on the next table. Fillion added his own name to the cover.
“Thanks for coming by!” he added, cheerily. I shook his hand again and told him that it was a genuine honour to have him here, and that I love his work.
He was immensely cool, and very charming. But he acted like a totally normal person. That wasn’t part of the plan. My own brain glitched at this revelation. I felt somewhat foolish, and wish I’d gotten a question out.
It was still awesome.