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SDCC 2015: Nerd HQ – Nathan Fillion Panel Coverage (‘Con Man,’ ‘Firefly,’ ‘Castle,’ and a Good Amount of Vegemite)

Over the last few years, Nerd HQ, the four-day event created by actor Zachary Levi (Chuck, Thor: The Dark World) and held the same weekend as the annual pop culture convention San Diego Comic-Con, has become a staple of the Comic-Con experience. Offering exclusive gaming and tech activations, nightly events, and intimate celebrity panels (all benefiting the charity Operation Smile), Nerd HQ has even become the perfect “alternate Con” for some geeks who are less than thrilled with the exhausting and over-crowded experience that can be SDCC.

While working press at this year’s con, Fanboy Comics was invited to attend a number of the Nerd HQ panels, including the hour devoted to every geek’s favorite Browncoat, Nathan Fillion. The panel was a one-of-a-kind experience, and Fillion’s charismatic connection with his fan base and his laid back, comfortable demeanor created an atmosphere similar to hanging out with a good friend (the kind of friend who you secretly believe is far to cool to be hanging out with you, yet, for some bizarre reason, they genuinely seem to enjoy spend time in your presence). In addition to giving insights into his work on Castle, Firefly, Con Man, and more, Captain Mal also raised a ridiculously impressive amount of money for Operation Smile. In fact, Fillion’s auctioning off of personal items and signed memorabilia made up the meat of his panel, while the answering of fan questions was peppered around this short, intense sprints of charity fundraising. Apparently, Fillion doesn’t just play a hero on TV.

Below are some of the highlights from this charming and hilarious panel (We also live-tweeted the panel, and you can find those tweets by searching for the hashtag #FBCMal.):

– Fillion started the panel by announcing that, “If anyone wants to know anything about Alan Tudyk, then I am the man.” Tudyk came up multiple times during the panel, which makes sense, given that the two are not only close friends, but are working together again on their new project, Con Man.

– When asked where the concept for Con Man came from, Fillion stated that, “Alan has been talking about this for years…,” and that Tudyk “…takes these kernels of truth” from their experiences with fan culture and “interprets” them.

– Fillion said that he has been blown away by Tudyk’s work ethic on Con Man and that Tudyk “knew everybody’s name by heart on the second day” of shooting. Fillion called it “amazing.”

– As mentioned in the opening paragraphs, Fillion brought a bizarre and hilarious assortment of items to auction off for the benefit of Operation Smile, including (but not limited to) the following:

Vegemite, “Keep Calm, Chive On” t-shirt, a poster that read “Always be yourself, or better, Batman (Unless you can be Nathan Fillion),” more Vegemite (marked do not eat), a Mal Reynolds action figure for auction (Fillion stated that “They can’t keep these on the shelves… Just lots of Jaynes and Washes), a picture of Liam McIntyre trying to kiss Fillion, a “crap ton” of Con Man temporary tattoos, Fillion’s shirt from his Captain Canada costume, temporary tattoos of Alan Tudyk’s face, a Boba Fett grilling set, a Chewie bottle opener, Fillion’s San Diego Comic-Con badge, a Princess Leia bottle opener that says, “You’re my only hope,” when it opens a bottle, a piece of plastic signed by Fillion, the opportunity to be in a selfie taken by Fillion, and much, much more!

– Apparently, when he got the Con Man temporary tattoos of Alan Tudyk’s face, Fillion put one on his butt and sent the a picture to Tudyk letting him know the tattoos had arrived.

– Fillion is still very interested in rebooting The Greatest American Hero.

– Of course, Fillion stated that his completely on board for Dr. Horrible 2, as is the rest of the cast. Timing seems to be the main obstacle in the way of the Dr. Horrible sequel.

– One fan suggested that Fillion should be cast as a character in a Star Wars film and asked what kind of character would he want to play. Fillion answered that he’d want to play a bad guy and he would want to be killed. A few seconds later, he followed that up by saying that “seriously, I would play anything.”

– Fillion was apparently pen pals with comedian Red Skelton.

– Fillon stated that his job as an actor is to say the line “fresh” every time, like it just came to him.

– Fillion was asked by one fan about his experiences at Joss Whedon’s now famous “Shakespeare parties” held at Whedon’s home, and Fillion admitted that it was Angel and Dollhouse actor Alexis Denisof that “made it work” for him. Fillion shared a humorous experience where he got engrossed in Denisof’s performance while reading across for him and suddenly realized that a particularly pregnant pause was occurring because Denisof had finished and it was Fillion’s line.

– One fan asked when we will get a Castle crossover with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., to which Fillion replied, “I’d love that.”

– Fillon also mentioned that he wants a Castle episode where Tudyk guest stars as a “mirror” version of his character – another writer who works with another police team.

– In regards to the many running jokes on the series, Fillon stated that, “Anytime I can get a running joke in Castle, I do it.”

– Fillion got serious when asked by one fan to describe his “hard times.” Fillion replied honestly, “What hard times? I am living my dream.” Fillion humbly stated, “My worst day is a great day,” and discussed how grateful he was for the life he currently leads.

– When asked by a fan to choose between appearing as Green Lantern in a DC Comics film and the chance to work with Whedon on a Marvel film, Fillion replied that he would unquestionable go with Whedon.

– When asked what he had learned about himself from the characters he’s played, Fillion said the he had learned that “I love telling stories” and how to have “a thicker skin.”

– Fillion revealed that he wants his head stone to read, “He hitched his wagon to the right horse.”

– Towards the end of the panel, Fillion was asked if he would do more Firefly voice-over work if the upcoming Firefly Online is a success? Fillion replied that he is fully committed to doing anything he can to keep Firefly alive. The captain of the Browncoats also added that, “It isn’t the worst thing that Firefly died. It would be the worst thing if it stayed dead.”

That wraps up this year’s Nerd HQ Nathan Fillion panel. Fanboy Comics wishes to extend a special thank you to Nathan Fillion, Zachary Levi, Xaque Gruber, and every one else at Nerd HQ who helped make this year’s event possible. Keep up the excellent work!

For more of Fanboy Comics’ coverage of the San Diego Comic-Con 2015, please visit

Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President


Favorite Comic BookPreacher by Garth Ennis and Steve DillonFavorite TV ShowBuffy the Vampire Slayer Favorite BookThe Beach by Alex Garland


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