An Alternate Storyline For The Walking Dead?

James Sabata attending Phoenix Comic Con for Bleeding Cool;

Sunday, the final day of Phoenix ComiCon. The weekend goes too quickly. Seriously, if you ever have the opportunity to attend a convention, just go. It’s amazing.

Today I attended a panel called, “Jon Bernthal Vs The Walking Dead.” Bernthal came out about ten minutes late, but it seemed to be more of a problem in communication than him standing everyone up. He apologized immediately and stated that he came out without a moderator because he didn’t want to keep us waiting. His moderator joined him a few seconds later and things got underway. He talked about landing his role as Shane Walsh, stating he had never read the comic before he got the part. He had six screen tests, and at the time, he had long hair hanging down to his shoulders, which almost cost him the part. When he finally landed the role, Jon picked up copies of the comic and went home to begin reading it. In his words, “I opened the comic, started reading, and eating a sandwich. By the time my sandwich was gone, my character was dead. I was like, what did I just do?”

The most interesting part of the panel to me was Jon discussing his idea for a slightly different ending to Shane on the Walking Dead. (SPOILER COMING). Jon’s version was mostly the same as what we actually saw go down in the final episodes of season two, with one important change. He wanted Shane to knock Rick’s gun out of his hand, then they’d wrestle, Rick would stab Shane, and Shane would reanimate as a zombie, as we saw. Here’s where it differs. Rick would grab Shane’s gun, intent on killing the zombie and it would click. Click. Click. No bullets. The idea was that Shane had never intended to kill Rick at all, but had brought Rick out into the woods to kill him. Jon Bernthal is convinced that Shane knew he was a cancer to the group and that he had to go. He just wanted Carl and Lori to be safe and for Rick to man up and take the role he was supposed to take. He said he truly believes that Shane was never as heartless as he wanted to appear that he was, and that’s what makes him so entertaining to watch.

During Season Two, he wanted Shane’s loneliness to resonate with the audience, so he isolated himself from most of the cast, living in a cabin in the woods for over a year, not interacting with the other members of the cast when not shooting. During the final episode, after he’d shot his last scene, Jon sat out in the woods, watching the others film. He didn’t want to disrupt what they were doing, so he watched them from the woods for over two hours.

He went to rapid fire questions and answers with the audience, trying to let as many people as possible ask questions. His favorite character aside from Shane is Darryl. He would have absolutely shot Otis in real life. He would shoot Carl if Carl were a zombie. The things he hated most about the show were the sex scenes, because he always feels really awkward in them. He also hated dying… twice. He hated the car he had to drive due to product placement. “I have nothing against Hyundais. I just refuse to believe that out of ANY car out there that Shane would pick a green Hyundai.” The whole auditorium erupted into cheers when he added, “And why can’t they keep track of that damn kid?” He’s a boxer in his spare time and has had his nose broken fourteen times.

Jon said he’s a big fan of where the show will be going and is glad to see it’s heading back to it’s comic roots. He said season three will be “extremely badass” and thinks fans will really like where it’s heading. Jon has a new movie called Snitch, coming out, starring himself and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He will also be starring in LA Noir sometime in 2013 on TNT.

Next up was the Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Cast Reunion. Jonathan Frakes was not in attendance. Patrick Stewart was originally scheduled, but had to back out at the last minute, due to scheduling conflicts, so it was really just Levar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, and Wil Wheaton… I wouldn’t say anyone was too upset about it, though. Before the panel started, Michael Dorn came down to where the media people were, and was taking pictures as Levar Burton was introduced. Dorn was standing next to me when they introduced him. He turned to me and said, “Oh, I should go.” Or something similar. All I could really hear was a little voice in my head yelling, “HOLY CRAP! I’M STANDING NEXT TO WORF!” Dorn ran on stage by the time it occurred to he was running past me and I should take a picture. Dorn stood up there, taking pictures of the audience and of Levar. Levar stole Dorn’s camera and took pictures of him. They went back and forth like this for a while, laughing the whole time.

This will be a short review, as I was really enthralled with the panel and not taking notes. :) They started the panel with each person describing how he/she met Gene Roddenberry. They then made fun of Patrick Stewart not attending and decided to share their favorite Patrick Stewart moments. Marina talked about how annoying it was to constantly claim she had a bad feeling about someone, when it was clearly obvious to everyone that the person she was talking about was hiding something. One day, she said, “Captain, he’s hiding something.” Patrick Stewart flipped around and said, “We know that, you fat cow.” Then he smiled and ran and hid behind Brent Spiner. Marina yelled at him, “It’s no use hiding behind Spiner. He doesn’t really have superpowers!” Brent Spiner insisted on doing Patrick Stewart imitations, one of the best I’ve ever heard.

They spoke about how many of them had rocky relationships to begin with, but they grew to be true friends. Some of the questions they answered included favorite guest stars, how many hours they spent in make up, how they found out they were cast in the show, who their heros are, and which episodes were the hardest to film. Brent Spiner’s hardest episode is “Masks.” Marina Sirtis was explaining her hardest episodes were the ones where she was raped, however, Brent Spiner interrupted this by making faces and making people laugh. Marina set down her mic and stared at him, annoyed, but it was all pretty playful.

Levar Burton got the entire audience (around 4,000 people) to sing the theme song from Reading Rainbow. Brent Spiner followed by trying to get everyone to sing the theme song to his show Fresh Hell. Will Wheaton told everyone in attendance that Phoenix ComiCon is one of the best run conventions in the United States and that he loves attending the convention there. Marina Sirtis ended the panel by telling us that she had misplaced her passport and she was worried she’d be arrested, here in Arizona, and deported to Mexico. She said we should bail her out, or at least explain that Mexico was not the country she should be deported to…

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