Nicholas Brendon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, was one of the headliners at the Rose City Comic Con in Portland, held September 20 and 21, 2014. Along with Brendon, another Buffy alum was a guest of the convention: Clare Kramer, who played fifth season antagonist Glory.
Along with signing autographs and posing for pictures ($40/autograph, $30/picture), Brendon sat on a Buffy panel held on Saturday. He was joined by Kramer, who also was signing autographs and posing for pictures ($30/autograph, $30/picture) during the Con while not on the panel. The panel was moderated by Scott Allie, editor-in-chief of Dark Horse Comics, and held from 3-3:50pm.
The panel mostly consisted of questions from the audience, and they were mostly focused on Brendon, though Kramer was a good sport about it all. Considering that Brendon appeared in 143 episodes of Buffy (only missing one episode in the series) while Kramer appeared in 12 episodes, it makes sense that he would be the main focus of the small panel.
A few things we learned about Nicholas Brendon (a.k.a. Xander Harris):
- He's got some nicknames. Kramer, as well as Allie, call Brendon "Nicky B" or "Nicky".
- Brendon's twin, Kelly Donovan, is often mistaken for Brendon. Considering the two are identical twins, this doesn't come as a huge surprise. Brendon told the audience about the first time his brother had a problem with the comparison: The two brothers had taken a road trip, and during their traveling had pulled over to eat at an In-and-Out burger. A "bus full of teenage girls" also stopped at the restaurant and started squealing over who they thought was Brendon. When Donovan tried to tell them he wasn't the Xander they were looking for, they started pelting him with french fries. That, apparently, was when Donovan became less amused with being mistaken for Brendon.
- The hardest episode of the series for Brendon to film was actually the first episode. He missed in the script that he actually had another scene to shoot, and left thinking that he was done with filming for the day. He kept the crew and other actors waiting for an hour while he rushed back to set. Since he had missed the section completely, he had not memorized his lines. Allie commented that that experience is the stuff that nightmares are made out of for actors.
- Spike, played by James Marsters, was Brendon's favorite character after Xander. He enjoyed acting against Spike more so than Angel, because while he liked David Boreanaz, Angel's character was so "brooding" and not very multifaceted. Spike, on the other hand, came into himself by being able to make fun of himself, which Brendon enjoyed more.
- Brendon actually preferred that Xander have no superpowers. He liked being the only one in the Scooby Gang who was just a regular human. Buffy was the Slayer, Willow was a witch, Oz was a werewolf, Giles was a Watcher, Anya was a demon, Dawn was the key, etc. Something that Brendon actually wanted to see less of was the carryover of Xander's military training from the “Halloween” episode (season 2, episode 6), where Xander gains the knowledge and skill of the solider he is dressed up as from a spell. Brendon would have preferred that Xander lost all of that knowledge rather than have some of it stick around.
- He still remembers the Snoopy Dance, which he performed on “The Replacement” (season 5, episode 3). To prove to Willow that he is the real Xander, he performs the Snoopy Dance for her, which she likes to see each year when they watch A Charlie Brown Christmas together. An audience member at the con asked if he would do the dance, and Brendon obliged to raucous cheers from the crowd. Brendon has performed it at a number of comic cons through the years.
- Brendon has only seen each Buffy episode once. He gathered for the weekly viewing parties that Joss Whedon held at his house for the cast and crew to see the episode air "before DVR was around". There was a strict no talking and no phone policy during the episode watching parties.
- He had a hard time staying focused during the Con. One fan asked if he had ADD, to which Brendon first replied "yes", then changed that answer to a "no". He also waved the microphone around a lot, or would simply leave it in his lap, once prompting Kramer to come over to Brendon's chair, put her arm around him, and have him talk into her mic.
In all, it was an interesting experience seeing both Kramer and Brendon in person from just a couple dozen feet away. It would have been nice if Brendon seemed more engaged in what he was doing, but he was at least offset by a cheerful and engaged Kramer that worked the crowd well. The only time disappointed murmurs rippled through the crowd was when Kramer stated she hasn’t seen all of Buffy; instead she had seen only season 5 in preparation for being added to the show that same season. After joining the show, Kramer watched each of her episodes once but did not finish watching the series.
At 3:50, Brendon and Kramer headed back downstairs to continue the autograph and picture cash cow process, and Sean Astin moved into the conference room for his panel, which lasted until 4:50.