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With hundreds of thousands of people attending San Diego Comic-Con every year and the July 20-24 event kicking off this week, 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.
THR: What were your first impressions of Comic-Con?
Padalecki: I’m a total sci-fi/fantasy/comic book geek; I collected comic books growing up; I’ve got every Star Wars incarnation of the trilogy; and I’ve read all the Lord of the Rings books and have a tattoo – I’m just kidding about that! – I was digging through my brother’s wallet and saw one of his passwords was Gandalf, and I teased him about it but I’ve done the same thing.
THR: What stands out from your first Comic-Con?
Padalecki: We lovingly call ourselves The Little Show That Could because we have always been up against big heavy-hitting. We always knew we had a loyal following but I had no idea how loyal it was. I remember being onstage and seeing people standing up in the back of the auditorium and then looking at the front row and seeing [Warner Bros. Television CEO] Peter Roth sitting there looking around with a look on his face that he didn’t realize how huge the fan base was.
THR: What’s the best thing a fan has said to you at Comic-Con?
Padalecki: Jensen and I have started going to conventions and meeting lots of fans worldwide. What amazes me every time I hear it is that the show has gotten them through hard times and that they have connected with my character, Sam Winchester, and been strengthened and emboldened by his courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles. That always means a lot. Sam Winchester, MD, JD, CPA, FBI – everything depending on the episode!
THR: What panel would you stand in line all day for?
Padalecki: I’m a big Star Wars fan and grew up watching the movies. I read all the books and have read Star Wars fiction that went between the newest trilogy and the original trilogy and it was part of my childhood. I’d love to see George Lucas’ take on the last three decades of fandom that he largely inspired. So Lucas and all the producers from the original Star Wars movies.
THR: What questions would you recommend fans not ask?
Padalecki: Once I was asked why Sam was wearing a lot of yellow and how it impacted his character’s direction. It gives me more confidence as an actor that people notice all these little nuances. Those questions are OK, but personal questions about my wife and what kind of underwear I’m wearing are off limits.
THR: What tips do you recommend to have a successful panel?
Padalecki: I’m a sucker for gag reels and teaser trailers for new seasons. One of the great parts of panels, especially on a show like Supernatural, which can be so dark, it’s fun to get up there and laugh and remember we’re only telling a story. Seeing Eric Kripke and Ben Edlund up there being so funny always makes me laugh.
THR: What advice do you have for Comic-Con first-timers?
Padalecki: Plan out a schedule; if you haven’t been there yet, it’s enormous. It’s like going to a museum: I know I want to see the Mona Lisa, Joan of Arc, the Statue of Michael, break! Knock out what you want to see because you will get sidetracked. Make a plan and be flexible.
THR: If you were to attend in costume, what would it be?
Padalecki: Boba Fett. I’m in San Antonio sitting in my bedroom that I grew up in and I have four Boba Fetts in here (pictured). I have an irrational childhood love of Boba Fett. (Laughs.) Ever since I watched the movie, I always wanted to be a bounty hunter; it sounded so cool to me as a child. I always remember the scene where Han Solo is dying and I just got the sense that Boba Fett was just really cool. I always wanted to dress up as him. And he had that great rocket on his back. That must be it, I always loved the Rocketeer, too!
THR: Season 7, Sam faces a foe unlike anything before. What can you tease?
Padalecki: I’ve seen the episode that Jensen Ackles is directing, which is the first one we’re shooting and I’ve seen the season opener. We have to go big or go home and Supernatural has a tendency to go big and badder and this season the foe will be bigger than Armageddon, bigger than the apocalypse, bigger than Lucifer and bigger than God. Although I don’t know what that could possibly be, but I’m looking forward to finding out. If it could be Boba Fett, I’m quitting the role of Sam and playing Boba Fett! (Laughs.)
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