John Jackson Miller wrote the first new canon book A New Dawn as a prequel to Rebels, and he also wrote Kenobi – the book we wanted the Disney+ series to be. I love Kenobi (both as a character, and as a Ewan McGregor) so I was very excited. I’ll be honest, all of the author requests I made were for Star Wars writers, and I’d have been happy with any of them. I was particularly happy to get Miller because of his ties to the start of the new canon. I don’t usually plug our podcast like this, but Chad does a better job editing audio than I do, and he and Schweck got a ton of information I didn’t by going to the Awesome Star Wars Authors panel. So we did a Dragon Con/Star Wars recap on this episode, and you should listen to that if you want to hear the interview as well as all of the things they learned by lurking around after the panel ended. But John Jackson Miller was very kind to keep the appointment with me despite the fact that he was losing his voice. I tried to take it easy on him, but he talked for longer than I would have expected for someone who wasn’t feeling well.
We had a busy night planned so I just kind of generally hung around before getting geared up for our Choose Your Own Adventure panel. I got to the room about 45 minutes early to drop the books off, and saw a line. Seemed weird, but okay. By the time Dave arrived the line was huge, and we had to start letting people in early because the line was clogging the sky bridge to the Hilton. I was really nervous because it was just a half-assed idea I had that I hoped would be funny. No only was it funny, but the audience was SUPER into it. I don’t think it would have gone as well if I’d had any other group of people with me. The five of us know each other’s senses of humor, work well together, and have a high degrees of trust. If you don’t have a ride or die group of con buddies yourself I highly recommend that you get one. Then it was time to refresh before Nicole’s screening of the horror movie “classic” Barn of the Blood Llama. Again, to my surprise, the audience was into it. Audiences are strange things. The instant that was over Dave, and I ran for Cybertronic Spree, while Nicole and Ryan stayed to chit chat for a minute. We made the right call because they closed the line right after we went in. So many people couldn’t get in, but no matter how many people left the show they never let anyone else in. I’m supposed to sing the Pokemon theme song with Noel dammit, not have some random girl trying to talk to me while they’re playing. After that it was another run to see Mega Ran. We were kind of at the back, but then I felt a hand grab mine and suddenly Schweck had pulled me to the front of the crowd. We were so close that when he started freestyling using things people showed him in rhymes I was able to get my Kate Bush button in front of him. The rest of our friends thought I’d disappeared until they heard him rap about Running Up That Hill, and knew I had to be involved. Saturday was really just a great day!
Sunday we didn’t have anything until the Classic Video Game Hall of Fame at 1pm, and that was another good one. The audience chose Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid as the greatest boss fight of all time. Over the Big Daddies from Bioshock, over the Human Reaper from Mass Effect 2, and even over the Tyrant from Resident Evil. Like I said, audiences are strange. We ran pretty short this year, but I plan on adding in another panelist next year to help even things out. After that it was time for me to get ready to interview Mark Meer – who you might know better as the voice of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect trilogy. The only problem was that when media relations went to his table to get him he was nowhere to be found. I got stood up by Commander Shepard, but found out later that he is almost never at his table during Dragon Con because he’s out running around and having fun. I guess I’ll forgive him. But since I had already dropped out of The Thing panel I had time to kill so I just went for a quick nap before we went for our annual group dinner. It was pouring rain so we thought it would be easiest to duck into the Westin and go in through the back of Meehan’s. That was apparently a problem for them, and we were told that we would have to wait an hour for a table outside. So no waiting in the bar even after we had purchased a drink there. Forget you Meehan’s. We ended up at Hooters because they could seat un immediately, but then our food took two hours to arrive. Sigh.
We had to run so that Dave could go introduce the animated GI Joe movie, and the rest of us went to get in line for the late night puppet slam. Lucky for us magical Schweck showed up, made a call, and we got to get in while they were still rehearsing. It was pretty cool to see everything that goes into their show, and the show itself was great as always. After that we went to the puppet track after party for a bit, and then ended our con at the Rhythm Rebellion dance party. I think we left there around 4am, and it was an eerie walk from the Hyatt back to the Indigo. It was quiet – too quiet.
Another year in the books, and another yet I felt like I didn’t do enough. I always had stuff to do because I consider wandering around people watching as doing something. I didn’t really miss any panels I wanted to see other than the Star Wars authors. I haven’t seen Strange New Worlds yet (I’m busy okay?) so none of those people being there meant much to me. I know it also sounds like I was out getting crazy all night every night. Now while I was out late and dancing, I certainly didn’t spend all of my time going coo coo for cocoa puffs. Trust me, there is no way I could dance until 4am if I was trashed. It’s just been so long since I’ve been able to go to so many dance parties, and be around so many of my friends that it was hard to resist. I could definitely feel the additional 20,000 or so people this year, but it wasn’t unbearable. I still don’t want to go back to 85,000 people ever again. And even though I got the worst flu that I can remember immediately afterwards (never tell me masks don’t work. Last year I was diligent about it all weekend, and didn’t even get a sniffle. This year I was lax in lobbies and non-host hotels and got extremely sick) just writing this makes me sad that we have another year until we can do it all again.