AwesomeCon 2022, Part 2: The Multiverse of Radness

Hayley Atwell at AwesomeCon 2022

AwesomeCon 2022 returned to Washington, DC this past weekend with a variety of celebrity guests and many great moments.

AwesomeCon 2022, Washington DC’s comic con, returned this past weekend to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. There were many highlights throughout this year’s convention; many of them came from the celebrity panels that took place on the main stage throughout the weekend. While I couldn’t attend every guest panel this year, here are my favorite moments from the panels that I intended.

Charisma Carpenter & Amber Benson: The actresses, best known for their roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, took the stage to celebrate Buffy’s 25th anniversary. Benson discussed joining the cast of Buffy later in the series and the importance of Tara’s relationship with Willow when LGBTQIA+ representation was nearly nonexistent on TV. Carpenter discussed the grueling process of filming Angel and paid respect to the hard-working crew that brought the show to life. The two detailed how they initially met and admitted that they had become close friends after the show despite their characters never meeting on screen.

When asked about their characters’ endings, Carpenter simply said that her answer was well documented while Benson discussed the importance of moving away from the “Bury Your Gays” trope, even if she believed that Tara’s death made sense at the time. While the moderator attempted to shut down a question about the shows’ legacies due to Joss Whedon, Benson suggested that the show was produced by the hard work of several different people and that the fan impact transcends Whedon.

Hayley Atwell: Atwell, most known for playing Peggy Carter, took the stage to a crowd filled with many Agent Carter and Captain Carter cosplayers. She began by expressing her support for a bisexual Peggy, which brought a huge smile to this Cartinelli (Peggy & Angie) shipper’s face. Atwell said that she loved all versions of Peggy Carter, but admitted that she believed that being able to do more as a woman as Captain Carter was more empowering than having to navigate a patriarchal society as Agent Carter.

She then detailed the training she had to do to prepare for her upcoming role in the next Mission: Impossible installment and talked about the struggle of keeping up with Tom Cruise while filming. When discussing the animated What If?, she detailed recording lines in her sweatpants with the sound of snoring French Bulldogs nearby. Atwell would love to return in whatever form to play Peggy but wants Peggy to maintain her agency in any future projects.

Simu Liu, Meng’er Zhang, & Florian Munteanu: The three, who played Shang-Chi, Xialing, and Razor Fist in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, took the stage together early on Saturday morning. The three detailed finding out that they would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Liu discussed getting the call in his underwear and being told that he would have to keep the news a secret until his appearance at Comic-Con a few days later, while Zhang admitted that she didn’t realize that she was auditioning for Marvel. When asked about the importance of Asian representation, Liu admitted that he was initially hesitant about the constant representation questions, but that he has decided to embrace the opportunity to help pave the way for others in the community.

When asked about their go-to karaoke songs, Munteanu shared that he was supposed to appear in another karaoke scene that was cut from the movie featuring Backstreet Boys song “I Want It That Way.” The question turned into an impromptu singalong, as the three led the audience into a rendition of the song.

Anthony Daniels: The actor, best known for the role of Star Wars’ C-3PO, was eager to promote his book and chose to move about the audience as he answered questions. Daniels talked about how he was drawn to the role of C-3PO after seeing the concept art and talked about the laborious process of molding and building the suit to fit him. He admitted that his favorite movie to film was the most recent installment, The Rise of Skywalker and dodged a question about a potential future appearance in The Mandalorian.

Anthony Rapp & Wilson Cruz at AwesomeCon 2022

Wilson Cruz & Anthony Rapp: The two Star Trek: Discovery stars took the stage together as part of the convention’s Pride Alley programming. They discussed their friendship that began when they briefly starred in musical Rent and has endured from there. After answering questions about Rent and My So-Called Life, the two admitted that they were both excited to work together in Star Trek: Discovery and that their chemistry came naturally due to their friendship. On recent criticism that Star Trek has become “woke,” the two pointed out that the franchise has always tried to be inclusive, and Cruz made a passionate speech about how choosing to not be awake and embrace others’ differences is boring.

Giancarlo Esposito: Receiving questions about a variety of projects, the panel spanned the entirety of Esposito’s career. Esposito shared the approach he takes into playing villainous roles, such as in Breaking Bad, The Boys, and The Mandalorian. He expressed his enthusiasm for getting the opportunity to be in the Star Wars universe, commenting that it’s like being a kid again. When asked about the fan casting of him playing Doctor Doom in the next Fantastic Four movie, he expressed his support for the idea.

Noah Schnapp: Off the heels of Stranger Things’ fourth season premiere, Noah Schnapp answered questions about the series. Though there was no mention of the recent controversy, he expressed his support for the Byler (Will & Mike) ship twice during the panel. Schnapp discussed his experience of set and admitted that he is closest to Millie Bobby Brown out of everyone on the cast. Though he admits that he doesn’t know much about what is in store for Stranger Things’ final season, he has faith in the Duffer Brothers to create a satisfying ending.

Sean Astin: In the final main stage panel of the weekend, Astin primarily discussed his roles in both Stranger Things and The Lord of the Rings. After describing the audition process for Stranger Things, he talked about his experience on set and how the Duffer Brothers delayed his inevitable death in the season because they loved his character.

Astin then talked about The Lord of the Rings experience, mentioning the pranks on set and Viggo Mortensen’s tendency to distribute chocolate to the cast. When asked about his biggest takeaway of the experience, Astin talked about how the crew got the indigenous people of New Zealand to bless the set before filming, and how it showed him the weight of the massive undertaking the trilogy was and the responsibility they had to each other and to the earth.

Each celebrity panel at AwesomeCon 2022 was an enjoyable experience, and there were a lot of great moments throughout. Other guests at this year’s convention included Melissa Joan Hart, Beth Broderick, Caroline Rhea, Kel Mitchell, Sean Schemmel, Sylvester McCoy, Wes Johnson, and Wil Wheaton. The convention offered a good lineup of guests this year, with many fandoms represented. Hopefully, AwesomeCon 2023 will have a similarly expansive lineup and great moments for its attendees.

Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

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