This year (2015) Boston Comic Con handled the big name guest panels a little differently. Attendees had to get online tickets (no charge) for seats. I think this worked pretty well and kept you from having to line up hours before a panel to get a seat. It did however require some pre-planning. Thanks to The Goog, who went online to get tickets as soon as they went up while I was driving us to NH, we were able to attend the Haley Atwell panel late on Sunday. If you are reading this you likely know that Atwell plays Agent Peggy Carter in the Marvel Universe. She has been in both the Captain America movies, and her own Agent Carter series, which is getting second season.
When the panel started we found there was a special bonus, Brett Dalton (Agent Grant Ward from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) was joining Atwell in the panel and doing some moderating. After the “Hail Hydra’s” died down once Dalton took the stage, the first question he teasingly asked Atwell was “What’s your favorite color?” She responded with a snarky, “I don’t have one, I’m not 6.” But in case you are wondering, Dalton’s favorite is blue.
Atwell is just as lovely, funny, and delightful as you might assume. When asked if she thought playing Peggy would take off the way it has, she said she had no idea. Really, she said she just wanted to be able to smell Chris Evans… and Dalton chimed in, “Don’t we all?!”
Speaking of Chris Evans…some important things to know about him is that he laughs hysterically and grabs his left boob, which is now a thing you can’t unsee if you see him doing any interviews. He’s also game for crazy schemes. This launched Atwell into the hilarious story behind these dubsmash videos. Recently there was a Dubsmash war between the Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D cast and the Agent Carter cast. For the videos starring Cap himself, Atwell and James D’Arcy (who plays Jarvis in Agent Carter) left LA at 3:30 am, and flew to Atlanta to hang with Evans for a few hours and do the videos. And yeah, she made him practice that kiss a lot, telling him, “Come on now, it has to seem like you really want me!” Then it was back to LA the same day, and all because Atwell hates to lose. Of course the real winners here are the fans, and we were given a heads up on staying tuned for another chapter in the dubsmash war that will help raise money for charity.
Much of the panel was audience Q&A, and for the most part, questions were good. We were able to find out that Atwell’s favorite fight scene to film was the diner fight scene in Agent Carter, during which she has Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” playing in her head. She also really appreciated how listened to she felt in the context of playing Peggy. She thinks the term “strong woman” is weird, because all women are strong, but an important thing about Peggy is that she can also be sad, and vulnerable. Peggy uses her wit and her warmth to achieve her goals, and like many of her fans, Atwell aspires to be Peggy Carter in her real life.
It wouldn’t be a Comic Con panel if the question of who would win in a fight between Agents Carter and Ward didn’t come up, and it did. While this will never actually happen, Dalton admitted he would be terrified to fight Atwell. This was a good segue into a question that asked Atwell what was the most grueling thing about playing Peggy. Atwell admitted that there was nothing particularly grueling about playing Peggy but did share a story about an experience in the theater. Theater is her first love but earlier in her career she worked with a director who discounted a suggestion she made, but then applauded the same suggestion when it came from a male actor. When she brought this to the male director’s attention she was told, “You are an actress and under 30, why would I listen to you?”
After a brief interlude when both Atwell and Dalton learned some Irish step dancing, yeah, really, Atwell shared some quotes and words of wisdom that inspired her. They seem like nice parting words, so I looked them up and you can read them below. In all it was a fun panel with a delightful pair and I can’t wait for Season 2 of Agent Carter.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Maryann Williamson
“Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman