Despite many fig names at the Motor City Comic Con, I am not sure there was one my wife and I were more interested in than seeing Felicia Day. Despite being the first question and answer panel of the day, she brought a lot of energy to it and did her best to answer any and all fan questions.
Right off of the bat, it was clear that this was going to be a popular session. One of the staff members remarked that it was the busiest one to date, in terms of fans having gathered in the room. Scanning my surroundings at that point, I had to agree that it was a pretty great turnout with a wide range of people who brought a lot of different questions to Felicia throughout her session.
Having been following Felicia for quite a few years now, I have seen her play a variety of roles and I have always had this impression that the quirky, charming personalities most of her characters displayed were just an extension of Felicia’s own personality. I am happy to say that notion was only reinforced from the moment Felicia walked onto the stage, kind of giggled and said, “I had a slight amount of caffeine,” to which there was a good deal of laughter.
The moderator kicked things off with a silly but amusing question and wanted to know if Felicia ever played tabletop games. Given that so much of Felicia’s popularity revolves around board games and tabletop roleplaying, the audience got quite a laugh out of that as she talked about how growing up, she basically played the classics like Hungry Hungry Hippo. However, it is quite clear that over the years Felicia’s tastes have changed quite a bit. In later questions when she was asked about her favorite games, she listed much more strategic ones like Splendor and Agricola. She tossed in a side story about how she really loves the card game Marring Mr. Darcy and frequently uses it was a warmup game when she has people over. However, she was also quick to note that it brings her a great deal of personal pleasure to see the guys – calling out her brother in particular – getting riled up over losing as she imitated her brother saying, “You stole my man, bitch!”
The gaming theme continued as she was asked what her favorite game to record was, and she called out an episode where she played Resistance. For those unfamiliar with it, this is a game that relies very heavily on bluffing – something Felicia claims that she is really not all that great at (but I mean, in fairness – she is an actress so…). In the episode, she was playing with Wil Wheaton and how a lifetime of bad bluffing set her up for the unexpected win where she just destroyed him in the contest. Wil’s name came up a handful of other times as well, including earlier when she mentioned he was the one who convinced her to come to Motor City Comic Con and assured her that she would have a great time. She also mentioned that one of her early ideas around recording games was to just do a weekly Dungeons and Dragons show, and how she hoped that Wil would be the Dungeon Master. It was apparently his idea that instead, they do a different game every week so there would be more variety to what the fans were watching.
One theme that came up a handful of times was her favorite character class in Dungeons and Dragons. It started with someone asking what role in a movie would Felicia most like to play, and at first she gravitated right towards something of a fantasy setting, like getting to be a badass like in Red Sonja. However, Felicia was pretty quick to self-depreciation as she admitted that she was far more likely to be a bumbling spellcaster than a powerful warrior of that nature. The spellcaster theme came up when asked about one of her favorite characters we as fans haven’t seen on her shows. She brought up a five year-ish running Dungeons and Dragons campaign with a character who was named Lyra (the same name she popularized with her character on Critical Role). While Felicia was quick to admit that there were some similarities between the two, the one from her long-running campaign years ago was more ‘uptight’. She also then brought up another favorite named Josselyn, who was impetuous, had high charisma and low intelligence and just liked fireballing things.
Felicia has worn a lot of hats, and while she is probably best-known for her on-screen presence, her contributions as a writer and producer are equally notable. Being a new mother, she seemed particularly taken with one question, inquiring about her favorite children’s picture book. Felicia mentioned how she hopes to one day write her own, but was quick to mention two by author Ben Hatke. The first she talked about was called Nobody Likes a Goblin and then she briefly discussed Julia’s House for Lost as well. She described them as nerdy, beautiful and possessing nice messages underneath it all.
There were several questions around other favorite things of Felicia’s. Given that there was a pretty strong Supernatural contingent at the Con (quite a few Castiels to be found throughout the event), it was probably inevitable that she would be asked about her favorite episode. Immediately Felicia went to the LARPing one, which garnered a lot of knowing nods from the fans – but she then transitioned to the episode where she got to play a good version of Charlie and a bad one. One of the trends I noticed is that Felicia seems really interested in pushing herself, playing slightly more ‘bad’ or ‘badass’ characters that run a bit counter to her cute, quirky personality and usual band of characters. More on that in the video right below here.
Conversely, when asked about the worst thing about working on Supernatural, she was quick to call out her character’s death. Charlie was a fan favorite, so I suspect a lot of people in the audience could sympathize – when I saw it myself in the show it was a tremendous bummer that hung on for me for several episodes afterwards. Felicia discussed how all day long, there was just a gloomy vibe on the set that was impossible to escape.
One of her answers to another ‘favorite’ question actually resonated with me really well. Again, it goes back to Felicia being a new mother, but she was asked about favorite games, and she had a couple of quick answers such as World of Warcraft (which obviously there are many parallels to in her popular webseries The Guild) and Fallout. She commented how it was difficult anymore to play a game like World of Warcraft, now that she has a baby. I remember that experience myself as well. When I had a few kids running around, it became really difficult to play games that did not have a ‘pause’ feature, such as MMO’s, so when I heard her say that, all I could do was nod very knowingly. On the less than 1% chance she sees this article, I just want to offer up some good news that it doesn’t last forever (even if there may have been times where it certainly felt like forever).
There was one question however, that really set Felicia to call out a theme that had been laced throughout the session. When asked what Felicia felt her greatest achievement was, she said that it was not about her, but what she was able to do to help others get their voice out into the world. That allowing people to be themselves was a legacy that people could pass on to their children – to let them be faithful to who they are inside (see in video below). Throughout the panel session, Felicia had dropped a few similar comments in answer to other question, such as when she said that “The greatest disservice we can do in this life is not be ourselves” and “Representation is something we can all celebrate… that is what art is all about”.
Throughout this part of the panel, reflecting on characters and talking about games, there was an undeniable energy that Felicia brought to her answers. She certainly comes across as genuine and someone who is trying not to take her good fortune for granted, as she is essentially living a dream where she gets to do her favorite things for a career – an enviable position to be in indeed. She was a great deal of fun to listen to and every bit as likeable in person as she has been in her various roles as well.
Article by Nick