Comic-Con 2011: 'Terra Nova' EPs Talk 'Star Trek' Memories, Killing Captain Kirk and Their Hopes for the Upcoming Fox Drama
Brannon Braga and Rene Echevarria offer tips for convention newbies and the secrets to a successful presentation.
With hundreds of thousands of people attending San Diego Comic-Con every year and the July 20-24 event quickly approaching, The Hollywood Reporter chatted with the big names in television to discuss their favorite memories and tips for attending the annual event. THR’s Live Feed will talk Comic-Con with actors, writers and producers in the days leading up to the event so check back soon for interviews and the latest news on panels and screenings.
Geek Cred: Star Trek: Generations, FlashForward, 24, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Geek Cred:The 4400, Castle, Medium, Dark Angel, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation,
Upcoming: Fox’s Terra Nova
Comic-Con panel: Terra Nova, Saturday, July 22 11 a.m., Ballroom 20
THR: Is there a story that stands out from your first Comic-Con?
Braga: I’ve been going since the late ’80s, when the comic book renaissance was beginning and I was there as a fan. There were a lot of comic book artists and writers there that I was a big fan of. My favorite comic book character is Iron Man and there was a run of Iron Man with covers done by an artist named Bob Layton. I’d been looking to meet this guy and for some reason had not been able to find him. I’ve been going to Comic-Con off and on for 17 years. I finally met him at Wonder-Con a few months ago and it turned out he knew who I was. It’s now like a mutual admiration society.
THR: What’s the best thing a fan at Comic-Con has ever said to you?
Braga: I had one fan forgive me for killing Kirk, which really wasn’t even me; it was a collaborative murder. He said he thought I got a bad rap. It was a bit of a backhanded compliment.
THR: What makes for a successful panel?
Braga: Bring behind-the-scenes stuff; you have to give them something they can’t get anywhere else. That’s why we didn’t do a panel for Terra Nova last year; we hadn’t started filming yet. We were slated to do Comic-Con, but you don’t go with nothing. You’ve got to have marquee talent and a smattering of behind-the-scenes people.
Echevarria: Make sure you can hear the questioner’s questions. There was one year I was there for Medium and we couldn’t hear the questioner and were constantly answering questions that weren’t asked. People later told me we sounded like buffoons up there, just answering randomly.
THR: What Comic-Con tips do you have for first timers?
Braga: Don’t try to drive down there on Saturday night. It took me eight hours once to get from L.A. to San Diego. Make sure you book your hotel room six months to a year year in advance. And don’t think you can get it all in one day.
THR: If you were to attend in costume, what would it be?
Braga: I would probably wear an Iron Man costume. There’s a guy who sells Iron Man costumes that costs thousands of dollars; that’s what I would do.
THR: What are three things you’d do if you were to work on any other show?
Braga: I wouldn’t have to gone to the one-hour format forThe Twilight Zone. For current shows, I would love to work on The Walking Dead.
Echevarria: The original Star Trek: I would double the budget and double the ratings. If I double the budget I could do everything I’d want to do, back then. That’s where my geek stuff comes out, on the original.
THR: Who would be on your dream panel?
Echevarria: I’d go see Gene Roddenberry and the cast of the original Star Trek any day. I’d spend the night.
THR: After all the delays with Terra Nova, do you feel added pressure to deliver?
Braga: Yeah, you feel the pressure all the way. The delays were all for very good reasons. It’s a pretty big show; I think when people see it, they’ll realize what an epic it is. I’m feeling a little less pressure only because it’s coming together very well. It’s coming together pretty well. In that regard, as we approach Comic-Con and the September premiere, we’re getting positive feedback, and a little bit of the pressure is going away. But until it premieres and we see whether or not people tune in, that pressure will always be there a little bit.
Echevarria: For a million reasons, the delays turned out to be the best thing for the show. We know there has been some talk out there, but we’re feeling really good at the way things are coming together. I would rather be a bit of an underdog than Goliath.