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A Look Back at Wonder Con 2017

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Wonder Con 2017 took place in Anaheim over the weekend of March 31 to April 2 and for the 7th year in a row I had the opportunity to attend the pop culture event.

On the first day of the convention, I walked the exhibition hall floor for a short time before going into my first panel room, which was for the return of Prison Break. That panel featured stars Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller taking the stage along with newcomer Inbar Lavi (who viewers have seen on the Bravo cable drama Imposters); they were joined by Executive Producers Vaun Wilmott and Michael Horowitz. The premiere episode was screened during that panel, making those of us in the audience the first people to see it.

Series regular Sarah Wayne Callies wasn’t able to take part in the panel, but she did record a short video from Texas, where she was filming a movie, to say hello the fans gathered in the convention room.

Among the items that the panelists discussed were the challenges of who from the original series – beyond the brothers and Sarah (of course) – should return for the limited series event; original series creator Paul Scheuring came up with the premise of the latest story, but the creative process germinated when Dominic and Wentworth appeared together on The Flash and they both shared that it was rather “surreal” to be back playing their respective characters, though.

Prison Break will air the second episode (of its nine episode run) of its limited event series on FOX tonight (April 11) at 9/8c.

Then I took in the Riverdale panel that featured nearly all of the main cast – K.J. Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Ashleigh Murray, Luke Perry, Madchen Amick and Marisol Nichols – and creative minds – Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Sarah Schechter – on the stage to talk about the Archie Comics small screen adaptation.

Some of the more interesting shares among the cast and creatives included:

• K.J. saying he is “the luckiest guy in the world” having Luke Perry as his TV dad and Molly Ringwald as his TV mom;
• Cole joked that he “survived a Disney career without having to sing on TV so I’m not gonna sing” in an kind of musical episode if that ever happens in the show;
• Show creator Roberto said that “I hope so,” when asked if we will see Jughead’s younger sister Jelly Bean;
• Ashleigh was a big fan of the Archie Comics well in advance of landing the role of Josie McCoy while Lili Reinhart “didn’t know who Archie was” in fact she thought he must be a superhero (because it was a comic book character); and
• Camila Mendes would love if Andy Garcia played her incarcerated dad and Cole would love if Eva Green could play his as-yet-to-be-seen mom.

The next new episode of Riverdale will air on The CW on Thursday, April 13 at 9/8c.

Saturday was a full day with panels for FOX’s cop drama APB, NBC’s upcoming supernatural series Midnight, Texas, Syfy’s fantasy series The Magicians and ABC’s sci-fi series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Those were followed by a panel saluting fan favorite showrunners, the con’s annual “Inside the Writer’s Room” panel and ended with the U.S. premiere screening of the much-anticipated Doctor Who spin-off series Class.

Among the highlights from those main TV panels was that:

• APB executive producer Trey Callaway shared that 30 beta-tested tech items have been featured on the show so far and at least two dozen actual Chicago police officers have appeared in the show; 99.99% of the drones featured on the show are pure visual effects and executive producer Len Wiseman shared that “Chicago was always the (chosen) destination for the show.” The next new episode of APB should air on Monday, April 17 at 9/8c.

• The Wonder Con audience were the first people in the world to see the pilot of Midnight, Texas; that the show has perhaps some of the most unusual character names (Manfred Bernardo, Bobo Winthrop, Fiji Cavanaugh and Lemuel Bridger to name a few); without spoiling the reveal in the pilot – viewers need to watch out for Fiji’s cat and that the show was filmed in Albuquerque. Midnight, Texas will debut on NBC on Monday, July 24 at 10/9c.

Jason Ralph, the star of The Magicians, shared that spending time in the world of Fillory “felt like a real vacation;” the show’s executive producers John McNamara and Sera Gamble wouldn’t provide any spoilers, but they did share that they will run with “the weirdest ideas” for the show; and there was a lot of “tedious planning and choreography” involved in the ‘Les Miz’ musical number (and thankfully cast members Hale, Summer and Brittany can all sing). The next new episode of The Magicians will air on Syfy on Wednesday, April 12 at 9/8c.

NOTE: Please check out my featured piece on The Magicians and their Wonder Con appearance at our sister site: The Fairy Tale Site.

• The Wonder Con audience not only got to see the advanced screening of the intense and trippy return episode of Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (or is it Agents of HYDRA now?!) as well as a very full panel including cast members Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Ming-Na Wen [who was recovering from what appeared to be a serious leg injury, as she was brought out in a wheelchair wearing a full leg brace], Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Mallory Jansen, Brett Dalton and Jason O’Mara and executive producers Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon and Jeff Bell. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air its next episode on ABC tonight (April 11) at 10/9c.

I spent several hours on Sunday morning checking out all the cosplayers as well as taking another walk through the exhibition hall. Please check just some of the pictures I took during the convention below:

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Arrow, Grimm, The Blacklist, Teen Wolf, Killjoys, Dark Matter, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Switched at Birth, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash and The Fosters (among others). She is looking forward to the limited-run returns of Prison Break and 24: Legacy as well as the debuts of Emerald City and Midnight, Texas. Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at rueben@nicegirlstv.com.

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