I have been looking forward to this trip for many months, it had been a long time in planning and took even longer to arrive at this moment.
I travelled, mainly to meet with a bunch of LOST fans who I had go to know very well over the last few years, but also to experience the often read delights of Comic Con. It was something I've wanted to do for a very long time and the LOST fan meetup was an added bonus which made my mind up for me.
Unfortunately my first experience of Comic Con on Thursday wasn't a happy one. We decided to travel in a little later in the morning and walk round the main trading floor before getting in a queue for the Game of Thrones panel, this turned out to be a fatal mistake and after queuing for 3 and a half hours we missed getting in to the panel by 30 people ! The next day we were determined to get in and see what we wanted, we got there at 7am and still queued for 3 hours but got to see everything we wanted to, including a LOST panel where Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse turned up, but that's another story.
Fast forward to Saturday and the day of the Fringe panel, we travelled in again for 7am and again queued for 3 hours but got in. To give you an idea of how long people were waiting the line went all along the convention centre in managed queues and then went onto the street and curved all around three of the harbour walks next to the convention centre. They estimated around 8000 people were in the line when we started to be let in at 10am and the panel room held only 4500. This meant we had to sit through all the panels on the day to get to Fringe, but they were mostly enjoyable and it wasn't too much of a chore :-)
So the time for the Fringe panel arrived by that time we had moved down progressively nearer the front of the hall. The panel started with a few clips of previous seasons, nothing new in there as far as I can tell on first viewing.
Then the cast were introduced one by one to tumultuous applause, each coming on stage and looking delighted to be there. There was one notable exception, and I'm sure you can guess which person it was, yes Joshua Jackson was notably absent.
The moderator of the panel told us that they needed to recast the role of Peter and proceeded to show the Peter Bishop Audition reel. This clip was of various people auditioning to take on the role of Peter and included Zachary Quinto, Jorge Garcia, Paul Scheer, Damon Lindelof and even Rebecca Mader !
The short clip ended with a figure with an observer hat, suit and a pale complexion and slowly lifted their head, of course it was Joshua Jackson. He then entered onto the stage with the hat and suit (but not the makeup).
The panel proceeded as all the panels I have seen before, with all my 2+ days of experience at Comic Con, and questions were asked by the moderator and by people in the room. T-shirts with Save Peter on them were given out but no real clues as to what would happen in the new season were given and a specific point was made that the producers wanted the new season to be a surprise.
The actors obviously get along very well and even new regular Seth Gabel seemed to be well integrated into the show. Jasika Nicole sang a little and Lance Reddick did an impression of Olivia channelling William Bell
Then all too soon the panel was over, the cast got a standing ovation and stayed on the stage for a few minutes more for photographs but had to leave to make way for a screening of the new Fox TV show Alcatraz and it's pilot episode.
Apart from the main panel there had been official autograph signings and even an unscheduled appearance of some of the cast on some lawn outside the venue which surprised everyone that was walking past and knew who they were.
As a first time Comic Con attendee I can say that a couple of things so far have made it worthwhile, and the Fringe panel was definitely one of them.