Outlander took over room 6A at Comic-Con with many fans camped out to get the best spots for the panel.

The Starz crew really went all out to woo current fans and draw in new ones. For starters, it was hard to miss the castle and standing stones that hummed that were easily the showpiece of the exhibit floor. The fact the the display was crawling with Scots or faux-Scots in period attire didn’t hurt either.

Present in room 6A were executive producer Ron Moore and author Diana Gabaldon. Also present were actors Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Sam Heughan (Jamie), Tobias Menzies (Frank/Jack), Graham McTavish (Dougal), and Lotte Verbeek (Gellis).

1. What it was like filming in Scotland?

Graham McTavish and Sam Heughan said it was a pleasure to be back there and to have Scotland actually be a character. There was very little CGI needed. Caitriona Balfe stated the beautiful, natural light alone was amazing. Unlike the US or Canada, Scotland won’t let them block off public land, so the production had a lot of set visitors to deal with. However, the cast was grateful for the sugary treats they brought.

2. What did each actor want to get across?

McTavish: masculine vulnerability. Verbeek: that good and evil are not simple definitions. Menzies: exploring sadism and loss for his two characters. Balfe: inner strength under duress and stress. Heughan: the journey of almost no responsibility to being challenged to change the way he thinks.

3. Was it difficult to deal with the Gaelic?

It’s pronounced “gah-lic” the language of the Scots of the period. Both McTavish and Heughan felt they were honoring their ancestors by speaking it. The Gaelic is not subtitled in the show because it’s told from Claire’s POV and she doesn’t speak it. Ron Moore wanted the audience to understand as much as Claire did only by context and inflection.

4. Hardest scene on set.

Sam Hueghan had to have a scene involving leeches, and the leeches were black licorice that kept sliding off the table. McTavish had a fight scene with a camera mounted to him which was really uncomfortable. Verbeek loved a scene not in the novel involving ritual. Menzies had to have a scene talking to the missing Claire when he was talking to a standing stone.

5. Casting Claire was like finding Scarlett O’Hara.

They initially thought Jamie would be the hard part to find. Ironically, it was the other way around, and Claire was tough. They went to the pile of what agents originally didn’t want to send them to find Claire. Moore calls Balfe’s audition clip as a lighting moment when everyone knew she was it.


6. Gabaldon trusted in the casting and changes to novel.

Despite the fact that Sam Hueghan’s IMDB photos, in her opinion, did him no justice, Gabaldon felt Sam was it once she saw his tape. She felt the dynamic relationship of Claire and Jamie was absolutely reached in the production. In the translation to the new media Diana “fell in love with them every time I saw them.” She understands that various scenes from her book had to change sequence, be expanded, or be cut due to the new medium. Diana Gabaldon said Ron Moore’s script was the only time someone had proposed an adaptation of her work that didn’t want to make her blow up or burst into flame.

7. Tobias Menzies on playing 2 parts

Tobias Menzies found it surprisingly easy to play two parts. Each was so different and similar: Two men marked by war in unique ways. Part of making it easier for him is the costuming that helps body stance and posture.

8. Did the cast know what they were getting into?

Sam Hueghan had no idea initially what he was getting into, and then he discovered the Twitter and Facebook fans. He’s found it really positive and motivating, especially when fans come up to him on the street. Caitriona Balfe hasn’t found it intimidating because everyone will always have their own version of Claire. She hopes she does her version justice in people’s eyes. Both Hueghan and Balfe decided not to force their character’s relationships and let it evolve organically via acting chemistry.

9. Costumes.

Lotte Verbeek loves her layers and what she wears. They were warm which helped in Scotland. She felt bad that Caitriona had to do the whole first episode in a thin dress. Graham McTavish loves the kilts and period wear. He wishes they could dress with such stately elegance today. The plaid in the 18th century was 13 feet of cloth. It was everything between shelter, sleeping bag, to clothing.

10. Will the TV show capture men and women?

Gabaldon thinks of her books as without category though perhaps historical fiction is closest. Ron Moore was a fan from the word go, “I don’t think of it as a man’s show or a woman’s show. It’s just a ripping good yarn.”

You can catch the first episode of Outlander online at Starz for free starting August 2 at the network’s website and on their YouTube channel.

The Harry Potter play Cursed Child opens in a week, and we’ve just got our first look at Ginny Potter née Weasley. But not everyone is impressed.

Harry Potter fans have long ago resigned themselves to the fact that Ginny Weasley, badass Quidditch superstar and Voldemort possession survivor, is doomed to exist on the fringes of the story.

Despite her undiluted badassery, Ginny floated on the edge of canon throughout the Harry Potter book series, and for this reason, there are unfortunately many fans who simply don’t see Ginny as anything other than Harry’s only heterosexual ticket into the OBHWF.

But while Hermione Granger (rightfully) takes up most of the spotlight as far as female representation is concerned, J.K. Rowling actually created an equally important female character in Ginny Weasley, despite — or maybe because — of her absence from Harry’s part of the story.

Related: 9 reasons why Ginny Weasley’s cooler than the movies give her credit for

Reading the book saga closely will reveal that Ginny Weasley was actually better than everyone (and she knew it). And the fact that she got to be such a quietly confident BAMF, without Harry ever being consciously aware of it (though clearly it made an impression!), definitely meant a lot to me as a young girl growing up Potter.

Ginny may not have been the Chosen One, or the Chosen One’s best friend, but she kicked ass — and continued to kick ass — whether or not anyone gave her credit for it.

Let’s recap the awesomeness of Ginny Weasley:

  • Ron may have been Harry’s best friend, but his little sister was the seventh Weasley child and the first girl in seven generations. Talk about your magic number!
  • By all accounts, she was an immensely powerful witch: Growing up with six brothers made her resilient and hard-working, and she seemed to have the same extraordinary raw talent as Fred and George (but she applied herself more).
  • She was possessed by Voldemort in her first year at Hogwarts, literally making her the only person even remotely qualified to understand what Harry was going through. This came to a head in Order of the Phoenix, when it was Ginny of all people who stood up to Harry and told him that he was being stupid.
  • She overcame her crush on Harry and went on to have a rich and interesting social life which didn’t involve him. When Harry finally noticed and fell in love with her, she didn’t let that slow her down.
  • She stood up for both Neville and Luna, clearly cool and self-confident enough not to care what anyone thought of her companions (unlike Harry, who was far more judgemental towards both Luna and Neville).
  • She was a professional Quidditch player, even taking Harry’s place as Seeker for a while before landing a spot as Chaser while still at Hogwarts.

For all this, Ginny never really amounted to the ‘fourth member of the trio’ fans might have hoped for ahead of Deathly Hallows. She didn’t join Harry, Ron and Hermione on the Horcrux hunt (solely because Harry wanted to ‘protect’ her), and yet her badassery continued to assert itself behind the scenes, as she joined Dumbledore’s Army at Hogwarts and fought in the ensuing battle.

To me, it always felt like the essence of Ginny, the soul of this character, simply would not be repressed no matter how much J.K. Rowling tried to bench her (and the benching in itself was not an issue; Ginny was never meant to be a main character, and as laid out above, it actually worked to her benefit).

Ginny Harry 2

But unfortunately, the Harry Potter movies have done a lot to undo the subtle ways in which Rowling empowered Ginny between the lines. With Ginny’s value in the story mostly inferred rather than expressly stated, it clearly became as easy of a subplot to trim away as Nearly Headless Nick’s deathday party.

Ginny had hardly any presence in the movies at all, peaking in Chamber of Secrets (because they couldn’t completely ignore her in that one) and otherwise having only a few scattered, out-of-context moments of empowerment that still paled in comparison to the material given to characters like Fred and George, Draco, Luna, and Neville. Heck, even made-up character Nigel had more of a presence in the movies than Ginny did.

And of course it didn’t help that Bonnie Wright (who is a talented actress — check out After the Dark and see for yourself) had no chemistry with Dan Radcliffe, and that they gave the best Harry/Ginny moment of the series to Ron/Lavender for some inexplicable reason.

But still she married Harry, and still they had three kids (all of whom were named after people important to Harry, but alright). The One Big Happy Weasley Family prophecy came true, and all was well…

Until now. (Dun dun dunnn.)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens for previews in London next week, and everyone’s excited for the trio and their kids to return. Once again Ginny is getting second billing, not being announced as part of the main cast, but rather revealed a week before the show opens, along with a photograph of Poppy Miller in character:

ginny_potter_poppy_miller

There’s also a family portrait of Ginny, Harry and their son Albus, with Ginny holding on to her youngest son protectively (there’s that mother’s love again), kicking us in the feels because it’s pretty much exactly what Harry saw when he looked into the Mirror of Erised:

l-r Harry Potter (Jamie Parker), Albus Potter (Sam Clemmett), Ginny Potter (Poppy Miller)

And I actually love this. I love that Ginny is included (especially since, um, Harry’s other two kids are nowhere to be seen), front and center by Harry’s side.

As far as her clothes go, no, I’m not a fan. They remind me too much of movie-Ginny’s getup in the epilogue, and it’s just not what I’d imagine she’d wear. But it’s just an outfit; it doesn’t actually tell us anything about Ginny’s role in the play, so I’m not too worried about that.

What I am worried about is the fact that she’d be revealed here as part of Harry’s Erised fantasy. It’s doubtless we’ll see more character reveals over the coming days, and Harry will likely factor into more constellations (notably the Ron-Hermione-Harry group photo we’re all waiting for). Ginny probably won’t.

I’m worried that Ginny’s role in this story will amount to being Harry’s wife and Albus’ mom. Not that J.K. Rowling hasn’t full well established that The Power of Motherhood pretty much overrules everything else, but that’s not what Ginny is — or, rather, that’s not all she is. As much as I love Molly Weasley, Ginny represented a different kind of female character. I hope the play stays true to that.

ginny

As a long-time Ginny fan used to everyone overlooking and under-utilizing this fantastic character, I’m just desperately hoping now that the eighth Harry Potter story will give us the Ginny we know from the books, rather than her inferior on-screen counterpart. While Cursed Child isn’t and shouldn’t be about her, I’m hoping this is Ginny’s chance to reclaim some of the agency the movies robbed her of.

And call me an optimist, but I’m hopeful that this is exactly what Cursed Child is gonna give us. I trust that J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany don’t let the movies’ depiction of Ginny influence what is supposed to be the next installment of the book series.

In J.K. Rowling’s own words on Pottermore, Poppy Miller’s Ginny will be, “Kind and cool, exactly as I imagined her.” It’s not the bat-bogey hexing firecracker we know and love, but hey, everyone grows up, right? So even if we get just a couple of scenes with Ginny, let’s presume she’ll be her badass, Quidditch player self, and that she’ll be given space to exist in her own right, rather than as a prop in Harry’s perfect family.

She may not have been the most important character in Harry Potter, but she was my favorite, and Cursed Child has an opportunity to undo the damage the movies did to this fantastic, empowering heroine. Let’s hope they take it.

Are you looking forward to seeing Ginny Potter in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’?

Ever since ABC canceled Agent Carter, fans have been fighting to bring it back. Now, Hayley Atwell has joined the fight as well.

Agent Carter‘s cancellation left its fans devastated, but — just like Peggy Carter herself — they’re not about to give up without a fight.

ABC’s decision to cut ties with the ailing show, as well as choosing not to pick up Marvel’s Most Wanted, allegedly came as part of a programming overhaul led by new entertainment chief Channing Dungey. According to ScreenRant, Dungey wants to move away from serialized programming in favor of “close-ended episodic procedurals.”

But Agent Carter doesn’t need ABC. Agent Carter needs fan support, a new home, and some goodwill from Marvel.

It’s definitely got plenty of fans fighting for its renewal, with the Change.org petition Save Agent Carter having amassed over 110,000 signatures to date, and many other fan projects in the works to spread awareness for the show.

And, during a panel at MegaCon in Orlando over the weekend, star Hayley Atwell confirmed that she’d be down to reprise her role if the opportunity arose.

“YES. 100%. I love Peggy. I love the people working on this project. [It would be] a privilege and an honor to bring her back to the fans,” said Atwell, as quoted on Twitter. “I’d shoot on the weekends. Blue serum. Whatever it takes.”

Atwell isn’t the only star lending their voice to the movement. Bridget Regan (Dottie Underwood) RT’d the aforementioned petition on Twitter, and also wrote this short but important message:

Meanwhile Lotte Verbeek (Anna Jarvis) and Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark) both attended the MCM London Comic-Con, and both had heartening words for Agent Carter fans.

Via Comic Book Resources, Verbeek told panel attendees, “You guys were just amazing supporting it and I’m sorry it got canceled. I feel like we’re kinda letting you guys down — but it wasn’t my decision, unfortunately.”

Cooper, arguably the most ‘unavailable’ of the bunch, has also confirmed that not only would he be down to reprise his role as Howard Stark, but he also sees “hope” for the cancelled series.

“There may be more story to tell, and what’s wonderful about streaming sites is that while it may have been the end of the road, now there’s hope that it might not be,” Cooper said during MCM (as quoted by CBR).

“I know James [D’Arcy] and Hayley, the fact that people have gotten behind it and want to see it return means a huge amount to them … I’m well up for doing more Howard Stark and I know they’re up for doing more of their characters, so fingers crossed.”

Related: Thank you, Agent Carter

But actor goodwill aside, the question still remains: Will a streaming site, whether it be Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, actually pick up Agent Carter?

It seems to us that, if nothing else, a one-off special (similar to the 2013 short that landed Peggy her TV series in the first place) or a limited series wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility — if Marvel actually acknowledges Peggy’s continued importance to the MCU, even after her canonical death in Captain America: Civil War.

Saving Agent Carer would be fan service in the most positive sense of the words, giving us the wrap-up Peggy’s story deserves and proving that Marvel, if not ABC, knows her value.

Here’s to more Agent Carter! Make it happen, TPTB!

Dan Aykroyd loves the new ‘Ghostbusters’ movie

As the "originator of the original," let's listen to him.

6:31 am EDT, May 31, 2016

Dan Aykroyd, star and creator of the original Ghostbusters, has seen the 2016 reboot. And he liked it.

“As originator of the original: Saw test screening of new movie. Apart from brilliant, genuine performances from the cast both female and male, it has more laughs and more scares than the first 2 films plus Bill Murray is in it! As one of millions of man-fans and Ray Stantz, I’m paying to see that and bringing all my friends!”

This is what Dan Aykroyd wrote on his Facebook page. Evidently, he is very pleased with Paul Feig’s re-imagining of his 1980s comedy classic.

And this isn’t the first time he’s offered endorsement of the contentious reboot (which Aykroyd is also producing and cameoing in). Earlier this year, he wrote on Twitter:

Despite everyone and their father already having made up their minds about this particular reboot, all we’ve actually had to go on so far have been a few trailers, Paul Feig and the cast’s infectious enthusiasm, and generalized opinions about Hollywood reboots/the cast.

But now that test screenings are beginning to roll out, we can finally begin to get a real sense of what this movie is actually gonna be like.

And if anyone’s opinion should hold some clout, it’s Dan Aykroyd’s. He not only starred as one of the original Ghostbusters, but came up with the concept and co-wrote both of the previous films.

Of course his comments haven’t gone over well with everyone. When he says it has “more laughs and more scares” than Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 combined, many people have taken that to mean that he thinks the new one is better than the original — but it’s worth noting that that’s not actually what he said.

Related: New Ghostbusters trailer updates the title to Ghostbusters: Answer the Call

The original Ghostbusters (if not its sequel) was a masterpiece, and Aykroyd isn’t suggesting anything different. He’s merely suggesting that there’s a higher quantity of funny and scary scenes in the reboot. Which, knowing Paul Feig (who blew us away with Bridesmaids and Spy), makes a lot of sense.

The important takeaway here is that Aykroyd seems to genuinely enjoy the new Ghostbusters movie. Regardless of your feelings on the original, the new one can still be fantastic, and if anyone would know, it’d be Aykroyd.

At the end of the day, the new movie really is a win-win for fans — it’s an excuse to dust off our old merchandise, and we’ll get to see an exciting new team take on the iconic monsters. July can’t come soon enough!

‘Ghostbusters’ premieres July 15, 2016