Dragoncon 2000, May 31-July 2, 2000, held in Atlanta, GA. Dragoncon is the largest sci-fi convention in the Southeastern US and they also have lots of great guests!
Scifispace.com’s staff photographer, Neb Burgess, and I made the 8 hour drive from Orlando to Atlanta to attend and must thank Dragoncon for the nifty press passes!
Also see photos from Dragoncon here.
The Convention Itself:
I’ve been hearing a lot of negative reviews of the convention itself this year and a so-far unconfirmed report that their attendance was only about 10% of normal (though it sure didn’t look that way!). As I have also ran a convention and know the problems that face convention organizers, I am perhaps not as harsh at judging another convention as others. Yes, their were problems and things that could have been done differently. My biggest complaint from a fan point of view was I would have liked to have seen many of the actor’s talks moved into bigger rooms. In theory, it made sense to have Ted Raimi speak in the room being used for Xena programming all weekend...except when you consider the room only held about 150 people and there were many more than this that wanted to see his talk - especially as this was his first visit to Dragoncon. People were jam-packed into the room and in the hallway just outside trying to hear. Moving the celebrities to the larger ballrooms upstairs would have been harder to schedule, perhaps, but much, much easier on the fans. There also seemed to be a lack of security and organization in general this year, but lack of staff is an on-going problem for most conventions, mine included. I’ve also heard gaming was very disorganized this year and many games were cancelled. I’m working on getting a review of the gaming itself from someone who was there, so stay tuned.
All in all, Dragoncon was a fun time - though admittedly much of my fun came not from attending the scheduled events but in seeing old friends like Richard Hatch, David Prowse, Herb Jefferson Jr., Jack Stauffer, Brinke Stevens and Apollo Smile and meeting new ones. As this was my first year attending as “press”, I wasn’t sure the best way to approach it but will be far better prepared for next year!
News from Dragoncon
One of the reasons for attending Dragoncon each year is to find out about things you might not otherwise know about. Unfortunately, there were fewer surprises than in past year, but here are a few brief tidbits of info with more to come!
Buffy: The Vampire Slayer -- Producer Jane Espenson revealed a few things about next season including a stronger focus on Xander, played by Nicholas Brendon (one of my favs that I feel has been underused this season!) and a strong and very interesting plot line for Riley, Buffy’s current boyfriend. She also revealed that Joss Whedon, Buffy’s creator and main writer, is working on a comic book mini-series for later this year that will take the Scooby Gang 10 years into the future.
Lord of the Rings -- Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) and Karl Urban (Eomer) did their best to give fans a taste for the films without revealing too much. I have a lot of notes I’m still sorting out from a special panel with them on Saturday, but some of the things I remember are: Both actors are greatly impressed by the attention to detail being paid to the film. Every rivet, every sword, every costume and prop is meticulously crafted and each race has had their own language created by 2 linguists who practice with the cast relentlessly to get everything just right; Christopher Lee (who plays Saruman) is a huge fan of the novels and actually knew J.R.R. Tolkien (whom he didn’t like very much actually). He is holding the cast and directors in line being the first to speak up if something “isn’t right”; The trailers I saw of the film look incredible! I’ll have more on this one soon.
Dungeons and Dragons the Movie
The future is here now so we turn our collective imagination sideways to view an alternate realm, a realm of Dragons, Dungeons and Powerful Ring Wielding Lords. In this Second Age of Humanity the Catch Phrase is No Longer Fiction and Science, but Fantasy and Magic.
In an interview at DragonCon2000 Justin Whalin said it best "this (Fantasy) is an untapped Genre whose time has come." The D&D Movie is 100 minutes Long, over 456 Special Effects, 150 Dragons in one fight scene, Beholders, Imps, and everything you love about a Fantasy Movie. It is based on the internationally popular Dungeons and Dragons® Game. So, yes, there will be alignments for good and evil, such as Red Dragons are Evil. Also if you Play D&D you will catch a lot of the inside jokes on the screen. Out of the 16 scripts written, only one was used for Final Production of this Trilogy Movie.
Possible Release Dates: Thanksgiving, Christmas or Memorial Day 2001. The film is complete and is currently seeking a distributor.
At DragonCon2000 when asked about D&D vs. Lord of the Rings Director Courtney "Corey" Solomon responded "Both will be good for Fantasy Movies." Later on there will be a DVD version of the Movie with special outtakes, Blooper Reel, and the Con Only Trailer from DragonCon2000.
Special thanks to Executive Producers Allan Zeman and Nelson Leong (Sweetpea Entertainment) for making the D&D movie possible!
Here is a Fan Web Site worth checking out: http://www.dndmovie.com/ Report by Neb Burgess
Dune Novels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Working from recently discovered files left by his father, Brian Herbert and best-selling novelist Kevin J. Anderson collaborate on a new novel, the first volume in the prequel to DUNE ”where we step onto planet Arrakis decades before DUNE's hero, Paul Atreides, walks its sands.” House Atreides is available now, House Harkonnen will be available in October, and House Corrina is in its forth draft and is the final book in this House Trilogy set. At DragonCon2000 Mr. Anderson mentioned he is also working on a Dune Novel that takes place 10,000 years before DUNE. Web Site: http://www.dunenovels.com/ Report by Neb Burgess
Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda
Imagine an Empire Spanning 3 Galaxies ...Imagine a way to Travel Faster Than Light without Breaking the Light Barrier ...Imagine A Great Catastrophe Befalling your Beloved Empire ...Imagine A Sentient Warship over a Kilometer long with a Great Captain stuck at the edge of a black hole waiting to be rescued...waiting to restore the Empire to GLORY
This is the world of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda
The Creative force behind Andromeda is lead by Robert Hewitt Wolfe. His previous projects include Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation, so he is no stranger to Sci-Fi. Mr. Wolfe admits he has always wanted to do a starship saga and when Andromeda came along it was his chance. Andromeda was created from notes of Gene Roddenberry giving the basic outline for the Andromeda Universe. Mr. Wolfe stated that every episode will have a continuity that strings it all together, but will not leave a new viewer tuning in late trying to play catch up with the whole plot.
The show will air in October on your local Fox and Independent Networks (i.e. Hercules/Xena stations), but the four 30 second TV teasers are airing now. There is also a web site for those of you who cannot wait to get started: http://www.andromedatv.com. It includes a timeline that tells the history of the 10,000 year old Systems Commonwealth and when the Humans joined, The Alien Races of the Systems Commonwealth and the cast members. The High Guard Sentient Starship is called the Andromeda Ascendant.
More coming soon! Please check back!
Have an event you think we should cover? Want to be a reporter for us at an upcoming convention or other special event? Please contact me!