SiliCon with Adam Savage 2022 returned this year with a two day convention that had a few hiccups but many high points as well. Savage managed a coup by hosting a panel where he talked live with astronauts on the International Space Station! However, for me, the highlights of the convention were the opportunity to spend time chatting with the most gracious Daniel Abraham (half of the writing duo James S.A. Corey), attending The Expanse panel which included the cast and creative team, and hosting my own panel, The Villains of The Expanse.
I had the opportunity to chat with Daniel before The Expanse panel. Sadly, I was unable to gain any intel regarding any future Expanse projects. However, our stroll about the exhibit floor allowed fans of the series to approach him to have their books signed. He graciously signed books and posed for photographs with the fans.
Kyle Hill moderated The Expanse panel in a lively discussion exploring the behind-the-scenes working of the series. The panel included some of the main cast: Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala), Wes Chatham (Amos “Timmy” Burton), Steven Strait (Jim Holden). They were joined by the writers of the series of novels and short stories, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, collectively known as James S.A. Corey. Other panel members included Director Breck Eisner (The Last Witch Hunter), and Writer/Producer Dan Nowak (The Killing). The series showrunner and Executive Producer, Naren Shankar, could not attend and sent a special video message for the audience.
From the beginning of the panel, it was very apparent that the cast and the creative team were truly friends and enjoyed each other’s company. Since Kyle had previously moderated Expanse panels at San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con, he knew how to elicit the best stories from the panelists about the creation of the series, as well as amusing anecdotes of behind-the-scenes shenanigans by the cast.
The panel began with Ty and Daniel discussing how they collaborated to write the novels. Daniel noted that by the end of the first trilogy of books, their process was so seamless that they were unable to determine who had written which chapter or portion. However, Daniel admitted that he handed the fight parts to Ty and he handled the big speeches.
One of the more interesting details that Daniel revealed was how the novels went from the written medium to the visual medium. Daniel said that for the most part, the negotiations took part without input from either him or Ty. They only had the final yes or no regarding which production company would have the control of the IP (Intellectual Property) rights of the novels. Kyle then moved onto the cast and the remainder of the creative team regarding stories from life on the set.
Chatham treated the audience to several interesting stories. The most gripping incident occurred when he had a near death experience on the set when his communication equipment malfunctioned and he could not communicate with anyone on the set! The director, Eisner, had become distracted fixing another problem before he realized that he had left Chatham hanging upside down in the air. Chatham told the audience that he had seen his life flashing in front of him.
Chatham was also known as the prankster on the series. Strait spoke of an incident during filming when Chatham was trying to make Strait laugh to ruin Strait’s take. However, Chatham had forgotten that the crew was filming him for this shot, not Strait, and the shot was ruined. The prankster had pranked himself.
The convention ended on a high note for me when Krys Keller (Admin of The Expanse Geeks group on Facebook) and I co-hosted The Villains of The Expanse panel with guest panelist, John Bultena (Founder of Abraxas Precipice). The panelists and the audience engaged in a lively discussion about the villains of The Expanse series. Some of the villains, such as Dresden, were viewed in a historical context with comparisons to Nazi scientists. Other “villains,” such as the Gate Builders and the destroyers of the Gate Builders, were viewed on the Kardashev civilization scale and as such could not necessarily be judged by human standards.
SiliCon with Adam Savage 2022 was a fun convention and the chance to see the team responsible for The Expanse again was a treat. Co-hosting a panel was a great pleasure and meeting new Expanse fans was exciting as well. I cannot wait for next year.