Note: This post does contain show related spoilers through the end of season five. You have been warned!
I consider myself a truly devoted Walking Dead fan, so I couldn't get my Walker Stalker Convention tickets fast enough when I found out they would be coming within a couple hundred miles of my home. Every time a new guest was added I would squeal with excitement and do the dance of the supremely happy. I opted for the VIP pass option, because I've found that is really the only way to go. Early entry, shorter lines and closer seating at the panels is worth the additional cost to me every time.
I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of the cast at other conventions so I mostly stalked those I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting yet. Top of the list, Abraham's Army!
Christian Serratos, Michael Cudlitz and Josh McDermitt are every bit as kind, funny and straight up--bad ass as you would expect them to be. The Abraham's Army panel definitely got the most laughs of any panel I attended and that was because it was clear these three love each other and genuinely have a fantastic time when they're together. They laughed and joked and teased each other and it was amazing. This was the first legit panel of the convention and it really set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
My dear friend, Teresa, dressed up as Eugene Porter on the first day of the con and she had the brilliant idea to reenact Josh McDermitt's infamous "Self Help" scene. We stayed up late the Friday night before the convention drinking wine and constructing what I consider to be a pretty epic photo prop for her costume. Josh loved it and nothing made our day more than that. We literally skipped away, happy as hell after we got to show it off to him.
Even though Ross Marquand is a fairly new addition to The Walking Dead cast I have been so impressed with what I have seen of him on the show, in interviews and those amazing YouTube impersonation videos. Aaron is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters and I hope he is in it for the long haul! Please don't make us love him and then immediately snatch him away! I was so excited to meet Ross and he was every bit as charming and friendly as you would expect him to be. This was his first ever convention experience and I truly hope Dallas, Texas treated him well so he will return! I forgot to ask him every question I had wanted to because I was just so glad to meet him.
David Morrissey and Danai Gurira had a panel together and we had to run, like a horde was on our heels, from our Abraham's Army photo op to make it over to the panel in time. I've seen both of them speak at other panels, but never together so it was a real treat. David talked about how great it was to be called back to the show recently for episode 509 "What Happened and What's Going On." Danai and David both had such great things to say about each other and the trust they had to have in each other to film one of the greatest fight scenes in TWD history in "Made to Suffer."
I missed the beginning of the Grady Bunch panel because we were in line to see Danai. So many great things to see and do at the same time--so hard to choose! Erik Jensen, Tyler James Williams and Cullen Moss were really fun. They talked about how excited they were to be a part of the TWD Family. This panel was the day before we lost Noah in episode 515. I wish we could have given Tyler James Williams a hug! Cullen Moss, who couldn't possibly be any less like Officer Gorman, brought suckers for everyone at his booth.
After the con closed down on Saturday Emily Kinney had a concert in the convention hall. It would have been a better setup if they had turned the lights down and made the show standing room, because I always feel weird sitting to listen to live music. Emily put on a killer show though so it didn't take me long to get over the setup. She was beautiful and had fantastic stage presence. She played all of her songs from "Expired Love," a song from her new album, "The Parting Glass" from Season 3, and (my personal favorite of the night) "Struggling Man" from her recent reappearance on Season 5 to play Tyreese out. Emily killed it and I can't wait for her to come through again and play more shows.
Note to the Cult of Bethyl, Emily misses being on the show but is more than happy that she is getting to pursue her music and is thrilled to be working on new projects. Calm down-- Beth is in fact DEAD, but it is OK.
Sunday when the convention opened we made our way straight to Chad Coleman's line, because seeing him was one of my top priorities for the last day of the con. You really have to pick and choose who you want to see the most and plan accordingly at an event like this, because there are so many great guests and I would have been thrilled to talk to them all. I don't think I have ever been to a convention where there wasn't downtime to sit around, rest and kill time before the next interesting panel or guest. Literally everyone and every panel was something I wanted to see. It was a true test to fit in as much as we could.
Back to Chad! He was a true gentleman and was taking such time to talk to everyone waiting in his line. I had dressed as Tyreese on Sunday and he was very cool about my attempt to represent Ty. When we saw him later in our photo op he was happy to oblige us with exactly what we wanted for our photo. In my opinion, the best photos are the fun ones and he delivered that.
Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kennedy had the first panel of the day called "Sisterly Love" and as soon as we finished with Chad we hauled butt to the other side of the convention hall to catch Lizzie and Mika together again. These girls are so cool. Kyla had such well thought out answers to every question she was asked. Brighton was hilarious when she joked about how often fans ask her to "look at the flowers, Lizzie." The two wrote a song together about their experiences with the show and they sung it for us a cappella. You can download Begin Again on iTunes. These are two extraordinarily smart and talented twelve year-olds.
Next there was a short TWD break to "break bad." RJ Mitte and Giancarlo Esposito had a panel together, which was interesting since I believe they only had two scenes together in Breaking Bad. When we caught up with RJ at his booth he admitted to us that he wasn't exactly caught up on The Walking Dead. Funny thing to admit at a Walking Dead convention, so we advised him to go straight to his hotel room and pull up Netflix,
The Comic Book Men had a roadshow to close out the convention. They appraised and ridiculed items (you've seen the show, right?) that guests brought for their inspection. Dammit, I had considered brining something for them, but didn't because I didn't think I had anything good enough. Ha! I definitely should have. Anything in my house could definitely stand up to most of the other items presented. Love these guys and always happy to talk to them at conventions--super nice and funny.
So much to do and see. This was really a great convention. Everything panel, ever guest was absolutely top notch. I just wish I could have cloned myself and covered more ground because there were so many guests that I wanted to talk to that we just didn't have time to see. When Walker Stalker comes back to Texas, I will definitely be there.