WonderCon 2010
Or: Getting Hatched in One Day

On April 2, 2010, I attended the first day of the 3-day WonderCon convention at the Moscone Center South in San Francisco, CA. I would have attended the next two days of that weekend convention but a busy schedule could only allow time for the first day. Plus, certain events occurred only on certain days during that 3-day convention. One of those events was also the main reason why I attended that day: actor Richard Hatch (the original Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica TV series and Tom Zarek in the re-imagined Galactica series) hosted a Q&A and fan discussion panel on both the old and new Battlestar Galactica series and its spin-off series Caprica. Having enjoyed his roles in both the old and new Galactica and wanting to discuss with him and other fans in the same room about the shows, I knew I had to be there.

Although I bought my ticket online 2 weeks in advance, I still had to wait in the long lines for the doors to open at noon. This was not a problem except the Q&A session was to take place at 12:30 PM and these panels may have their seats filled up quickly. Luckily, I was waiting in line with a couple of BSG fans named Jennifer and Ashley and all 3 of us went together to find the room where the panel took place. We found the room in time and several rows were already filled up but we managed to find seats. Hatch showed up a few minutes later and was talking about his recent work, sci-fi shows not getting their due until long after the fact, and everything BSG. On the latter, he asked us what was our favorite moment in the re-imagined series finale "Daybreak parts I and II" and among the answers were when the new Earth was found and (my answer) when the "Colonial Anthem" was played as the fleet flies into the sun because it made me cry. He also said that what ever question we have regardless of how silly it might be, do not be afraid to ask. This prompted me to ask him perhaps the silliest question I had in mind: on the original BSG, how did he deal with those Triad outfits. Yes, those. ;) Well, if I remember correctly, he said the Triad game, which is half football/half basketball and renamed in the new Galactica as Pyramid, was fun to play and choregraph on set. As for the outfits, whenever he sees the Triad scenes he noted how he and the actors involved were in very good shape and not too bad back there. My thoughts exactly. :D To this day, I still wonder whose idea was it to design those outfits. No matter, all the actors were damn good-looking in those so no complaints there ;)

Other highlights at the panel included an audience member dressed as a Viper pilot from the new series (the outfit was bought), a woman who pointed out that her husband had adored Hatch since succeeding Michael Douglas in the TV series The Streets of San Francisco (in other words, the guy had a man-crush, as Hatch noted :D), and a video clip of new-BSG composer Bear McCreary's version of "All Along the Watchtower" featuring clips from the season 3 finale. Visual problems in using the video equipment prevented more clips to be presented but it seemed none of us were too bothered about it. We were just happy to be in the same room with Hatch.

Immediately after the panel, I had Hatch autograph my copy of his book So Say We All, a collection of essays on the old and new BSG, and a photo with him. I went downstairs to the many dealers tables and celebrity signings in the Moscone Center South's main room. I walked around quite a bit, browsed the dealers tables, bought a Doctor Who T-shirt with the TARDIS on it and a sonic screwdriver that lights up (the blue one used by the 9th and 10th Doctors and briefly by the 11th Doctor before it was replaced). I also met and chatted with Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol of the new-BSG) here at his first appearance at WonderCon though he has appeared in other conventions before. I told him I still couldn't believe about certain plot twists regarding his character and Aaron said he was surprised too but it all worked out in the end. Shortly after, I met Adam Baldwin (Jayne in Firefly and currently CIA agent John Casey in the spy comedy series Chuck) and said he was great in Firefly but what was the Fox Network thinking of cancelling the show. Adam wondered about that as well but the movie follow-up Serenity was redemption and a second chance for the show. :) Next, I talked with Herb Jefferson Jr. (the original Boomer in the original BSG) and said though the original BSG did not last, I was glad he and his cast had the opportunity to be on the show. All the same, I wish it went on longer than be cancelled after one season.

After walking around the floors, I met up with Hatch and mentioned I first saw him as Zarek in the re-imagined series, admitted to having a love and hate relationship with his character but I figured loving and hating Zarek made it fun. He said he never saw his character as a villain but as someone who believed what he was doing was right even if others like Commander Adama see otherwise. I agreed with Hatch's answer and said that when the characters in the new-BSG have conflicting views, I just sit on the sidelines and let them slug it out. I also told him I watched him in the original-BSG as as the original Apollo and admitted having a crush on his character, which he got a kick out of. On the forgettable spin-off Galactica 1980, I only saw "The Return of Starbuck" episode, which he and I believed was the only episode worth seeing and never mind the rest of that series. In response, I mentioned my ending for 1980: the original Apollo wakes up in bed with Sheba and tells her the strangest dream he had and Hatch thought that was a cute idea. (Said idea was inspired by the famous last scene in the final episode of the TV series Newhart where Bob Newhart wakes up in bed with his on-screen wife Susanne Pleshette from The Bob Newhart Show and the dream Bob tells Susanne was his Newhart series.)

Back on the new-BSG, even when it had a solid four-year run, there were some story elements that could have been more elaborated on, one of them being the Zarek/Laura Roslin relationship because something seemed to go on between those two. Hatch thought so and said he would have liked to have seen a love triangle involving Zarek, Roslin and Adama. Since it didn't happen, it is still possible it could happen in written form such as the BSG novels Hatch wrote. On observing the pictures he had on his table to be signed for fans, I pointed the picture of him as Zarek in a leather jacket, which I liked because that jacket suited him. Hatch said he tried to get the jacket from eBay's auction of BSG memorabilia but someone already did. I too was after the jacket but the price offered would have been out of my price range. Besides, I already have a leather jacket if not the leather jacket. Lastly, I mentioned that in between reading essays in So Say We All, I was also reading a book on Japanese anime (Antonia Levi's Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation) and was pleasantly surprised to find that he too is into Japanese anime. One of the reasons I like Hatch: he is a sci-fi/fantasy/anime enthusiast as much as the fans who are into those genres. That and he was handsome then in his original-BSG days and still handsome now :) Yes, he is nearly 40 years older than I but then again, most of the actors I fancy happen to be about 10 or more years older than me :P

In the midst of a grueling week of grad school classes, attending WonderCon 2010, meeting Hatch and incidentally, seeing Matt Smith in his first Doctor Who episode as the Eleventh Doctor, were a major relief and the best things to happen during that time.


Images make take a while to download due to their large sizes.

Stormtroopers seeking droids. No, I was not asked for identification. There was no need to see my identification. They can go about their business. Move along...

From the BSG panel. Sorry the lighting was bad in these shots. Second photo from left is a fan dressed in a Viper pilot flight suit.

From left, with Richard Hatch, Aaron Douglas, and Adam Baldwin

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