Melbourne Supanova 2014 Round Up Spectacular
*Sean bursts through the door carrying a satchel full of jewels and golden idols*
Sorry I’m late!
*He throws a chest of drawers in front of the doors behind him*
There, that oughta hold ‘em. Okay, so from the 11th-13th of April, Melbourne was faced with the emergence of cosplayers and convention attendees from their underground fan-caves for the 2014 Melbourne Supanova Expo. So I hope you’ll believe me when I say that there were many people in attendance and I mean we’re talking biblical exodus numbers- okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it was a lot. Don’t believe me?
Now then, my first priority for this convention was to visit the guys responsible for IRL Shooter as the Live Action Video Game Developers David Leadbetter and Drew Hobbs have returned to Melbourne to promote “Lazarus”, the sequel to 2012’s “Patient 0”. For those unfamiliar, IRL Shooter is an Australian company looking to make First Person Shooter games in real life, so for Patient 0 they rented out a warehouse, filled it with actors attached with IR Sensors, made a custom level design and sent in IR-laser-firing M4-equipped players in teams of six at a time.
So as a veteran of Patient 0, I had to get a hands on experience of all the new shiny gadgets, like the gas-operated Mk II M4 and the new Glock 17 sidearm. Although during the presentation, David and Drew unveiled a deliciously maleficent device called “The Pain Belt”! An optional add-on device designed to deliver an electric shock to the wearer if zombies get too close, if they get shot (friendly fire or otherwise) or, to quote IRL Shooter crew, “if a player is just being a douchebag”. So naturally it wasn’t enough for me to get my hands on the two new guns, oh no, this journalist made the ultimate sacrifice – that’s right. I let my brother shoot me while I wore The Pain Belt. With Lazarus descending on Melbourne in October, it will be interesting to see if the pair of developers can break Patient 0’s record of 6,200 players and if they can make more than 8 people voluntarily exit the game. Ladies and Gentlemen, as my editors know from my constant harassing… I am incredibly excited for Lazarus.
My next stop was for a panel hosted by James Callis, the man formerly known as Doctor Gaius Baltar from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series. It was a simple affair of fans asking questions, with the London-born actor happily answering the queries of many BSG fans in attendance, so here are some highlights from the panel:
- He originally auditioned for the role of Apollo due to being a fan of Richard Hatch, however when Jamie Bamber was given the role he was offered to play Baltar but was initially reluctant because he felt the character’s involvement with Six in his subconscious was silly.
- One of his favourite episodes is season one’s “Six Degrees of Separation” as he had a lot of fun playing Baltar “as this luddite who’s supposed to be a genius scientist but can’t delete an image, so he just bashes the computer in,”
- Stories of being ambushed in airports by rabid fans “You know when you’re being chased in an airport… ‘What would you do in a nuclear apocalypse? Have you found Jesus Christ?’”
- Callis placing a maintenance cone in the background of a shot as a prank, only to have no one find it funny “The director just got really mad at me, like,” *puts on American accent* “Was that a joke? You just ruined the last 20 minutes of film and now we have to do it all again!”
- A scene of BSG that never made it to air where Three (Lucy Lawless) and Six (Tricia Helfer) interrogate a frantically, actually nude Gaius Baltar “Unfortunately Lucy Lawless couldn’t keep a straight face,”
It was also revealed that James Callis is currently in Melbourne for an upcoming 8-episode mini-series about the Anzacs called “Gallipoli”. When asked about his involvement in the project, Callis stated that he “Is very excited to play a character who means well and acts well.” Inevitably however, the question was asked as to what he thought of the recently announced Battlestar Galactica film and if he would be interested in reprising his role of Gaius Baltar.
“Good stories deserve to be told and they get to be retold several times in different ways. I was in The Musketeers and that’s a story that has been remade countless times because it delivers a good message. It’s a good story about chivalry and, justice and so it keeps getting remade. As to whether or not I’d like to play Baltar again for the movie: No. It’s like, I’ve done my time, you know?”
From there I continued to roam about, snapping photos, donating a gold coin The Good Friday Appeal through the courtesy of the Melbourne Costume Group, listening to the video game and pop-culture covers by the band “SMES” who soothed the hordes of attendees compacted into the convention hall. Soon I found myself at the Adventure Time panel for John DiMaggio (Jake the Dogg), Hynden Walch (Princess Bubblegum) and Jeremy Shada (Finn) when I heard a voice both John DiMaggio as well as myself recognized. You see folks, I attended the 2012 Adelaide Supanova Expo wherein I went to a panel for John DiMaggio and Billy West. The panel was very much like the AT and the James Callis panel with the fans asking the bulk of the questions…. But there was this one guy who asked
“If you had the chance… What animal would you shampoo?” to which John DiMaggio memorably said “Wow, congratulations on asking me the WEIRDEST question I have EVER heard! Uh… I guess, I would shampoo a Yak, because who gets to shampoo a Yak?”
So naturally John DiMaggio recognized him as soon as the man got the microphone, before promptly going into hysterics, and in case you’re wondering: Jeremy Shada and Hynden Walch would shampoo a greyhound “Because it would be easy.” So the panel continued some more fun questions from the fans, which ultimately resulted in John DiMaggio laughing maniacally at the audience after being booed for saying that he’d like to see the character “Cake” die. Eventually the trio were asked what television shows they would like to see their characters appear in:
- John Di Maggio: Jake the Dog in The Love Boat or Downton Abbey.
- Hynden Walch: Princess Bubblegum in LOST
- Jeremy Shada: Finn in The Walking Dead
- Jeremy and Hynden also revealed that Adventure Time fans can also expect an anime episode appearing in the near future.
Interestingly though the panel was interrupted with the surprise appearances of Eric Stuart, Veronica Taylor and Neil Kaplan so the six of them could play read the scenes from Star Wars: Episode IV as an assortment of characters. Seeing Princess Leia being played as Tracy Morgan by John DiMaggio, Han Solo being played Ash Ketchum by Veronica Taylor with Neil Kaplan and, Eric Stuart providing accompaniment as Optimus Prime and Brock is just… There are no words for that hilarity.
Thanks to the folks at the Supanova Expo for another year of costumes, funny stories, merchandise and random awesomeness!