“I never felt like I had any control over my life; I think that’s why I like video games.”
Felicia Day’s panel at Boston Comic Con Sunday afternoon started with a quick video package highlighting her breakthrough online series, The Guild, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Day confessed this felt strange–“I don’t feel older, I don’t feel more mature, I didn’t learn a lot,” she joked. “You gotta do what you can while you can, because we’re all dying.”
Indeed, it can be surprising to learn the YouTube series about a World of Warcraft guild is now ten years old. Gaming has changed a lot since then–Day was asked how the show would look right now. People [nowadays] tend to go from game to game with a group of people” instead of sticking to just, say, Warcraft, so the show would have to reflect that new mentality, Day said. As for how that show would materialize, though, Day was a bit more unsure. When asked about a reunion, she opined “There’s nothing sadder than when people look old when they’re playing the same characters.”
The solution to that may be a reboot, which was discussed. “I would be fine [with that]–somebody fresher? Yeah. I mean, I’m fresh, okay? But I would wanna make sure we’d be able to retain the spirit of the show.” If a reboot isn’t in the cards, though, Felicia said animation would be a fun way to tackle the issue. Either way though, she feels that being away from the show for three or four years, she’d be able to get back to it with a fresh perspective.
The conversation then turned personal as she talked about her new baby. “They gave me the baby and I was like ‘I don’t know what to do with it.’ The learning curve is steep, but she’s still alive.” As far as raising her daughter, Day mentioned she wants to ensure she lets her “fly her geek flag strong.”
“I really want her to know fairy tales. I’ll be reading her the originals–well, not the ORIGINALS because that’s creepy,” Day said to laughter. “I’m not a big Disney fan for girls, but if she wants princesses I’ll give her fifty princesses.” When it was pointed out that Princess Leia is now technically a Disney princess, her response was a groan and “I guessssss.”
“My job as a parent is to expose her to everything, and whatever she likes give her everything she likes in that area,” she explained, going into her strategy as a parent a bit more. “Unless you’re exposed to something you don’t know if you like it.” Even…trucks? “Maybe you wanna be a truck designer. …That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever said,” Day confessed to more laughter. Day’s infectious, positive personality was on full display during the entire panel, making it a joy to listen to her.
Starting the Q&A portion of the panel, Felicia was asked if she has anything coming up that we should be excited for.
“YES! Mystery Science Theater just came out. It’s so good! I forget I’m in it, because I just do the sketches and I’m laughing my butt off and I’m like ‘oh I’m in this!'” She also had a funny story about being in the show. “My uncle went to the live show and he didn’t know I was in the show! It made my day.”
As far as the status of the recently revived Neflix series, Day divulged “We’re waiting for a pickup. They’re supposed to let us know this month. I’m hoping we do another season.”
Besides MST3K, she explained “I’m writing a show and I’m going to be acting in it, but I can’t go into details of it. We’re shooting this fall. Hopefully next year I’ll have lots to talk about but I can’t right now.” So Felicia Day fans should stay tuned and follow her Twitter account for updates.
Next up was a question about Critical Role, a weekly web series featuring a group of voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons. The show is produced by Day’s production company, Geek & Sundry, which also hosts the show on its Twitch channel. She’s guest starred in two episodes as Lyra, and was asked what the character has been up to since then.
“They did not let her out of library duty. She decided she wanted to prove herself so she went on a walkabout and she got lost. There’s a certain country she’s in but she can’t speak the language and can’t get home.”
From there the conversation turned to Twitch itself, which Felicia was something of a pioneer of. “I started doing Twitch for fun on my own time and I loved that communal, hanging out experience and I wanted to do it again.” If you want to catch up on Critical Role, she joked, “it’s only like, 180 hours to catch up.”
Putting so much focus on Twitch was something of a gamble at the time, though, and Felicia was asked if she’s had any experiences where she tried to forge ahead and someone told her “you can’t do that.”
“That’s like, my whole career, dude,” she shot back to more laughter. “Everybody said The Guild wouldn’t work because it’s about gamers. People have tried Twitch before and it failed, so don’t try it. Well, I guess we’ll have to have the #1 subscribed Twitch channel then!”
That type of attitude is one of the main things that has propelled Felicia Day to such success in such untested markets. When asked about the recipe for her success, she explained, “A lot of it has to do with going to conventions. I don’t sit in LA and not know who my fans are. I talk, I listen to the questions you have to ask, hear directly about what I do that you want more of. I feel that connection gives me an instinct.” She’s turned down many roles, she said, and only works on things that make her think, “‘I can’t wait to show everybody this.’ Everybody being you guys, not some development executive. If your gut is telling you, ‘no, I’m pretty sure I wanna pursue this,’ it’s always gonna be worth it. If you make mistakes, at least it’s your mistake.”
Lots of questions from the audience were about her role as Charlie Bradbury on Supernatural. An audience member asked if it was emotional for her to film the episode where her character died, which Felicia interrupted with “Spoiler alert!” to some laughter. “It was. I realized at the time when the called and told me I was going to perish, The times I would go up to Vancouver to work [on Supernatural] were the highlight of my year.”
When asked about her favorite episode of the show, she decided “It has to be the LARPing episode [huge applause].” The question was asked by a Boston local with a strong accent, who corrected her pronunciation–It should be “Lahhhpin’.” Day called the Boston accent “so cute” and confessed that she’s “wicked bad at accents,” which got a laugh out of the Boston crowd. “I love that [episode] because the set was so good, it was like, ‘I really feel like I’m in a renaissance village.’ And I got those red leather pants (which the audience member called “wicked hot.” Felicia agreed.)
Of course, for for many, Felicia got on their radar thanks to her role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Vi. She was asked what it feels like to look back on her character on the show and what it means for her today. Joss Whedon is a huge part of her career, and she’s thankful for that. “Without Buffy I wouldn’t be here because that introduced me to Joss Whedon. I owe everything to Joss — a lot of people do. When he picks somebody to be part of his world, you know they have something unique to offer. I’m so blessed to be a part of his family.” Regarding Buffy‘s impact on the whole, she said, “I think Buffy is formative because at the time there were no women characters that were [strong like that]. Everybody in high school who wasn’t popular could look at that and see there’s a group of people who love each other, and also they kill vampires. There isn’t really a show that channels that, even today. So I would love to see something like that emerge. We have a lot of male superheroes on TV today…Supergirl, I know a lot of people like, but it’s a little more girly. Ms. Marvel would make a great TV show [in that regard].”
Speaking of Ms. Marvel, Felicia was asked which comic book character she’d love to play the most. “Ten years ago I would have loved to play Squirrel Girl,” she explained, but she went on to give props to Milana Vayntrub, who will actually be taking on the role. “The girl who does it now, Milana, she’s amazing. She’s actually Zaboo from The Guild‘s (Sandeep Parikh) old roommate. She’s gonna be so perfect and so funny. She’s a whole 360 kinda girl and I’m very excited for her.”
As for comic book icons she’d like to play at this point in her life? “In a universe where I have more confidence, Poison Ivy. But no, I’m not showing my butt [laughs]. Especially after a baby, no way.” Finally, she settled on Ms. Marvel. “I love Ms. Marvel. That’s the one [comic book] I always read.”
Felicia Day has been on the forefront of a few new frontiers in the entertainment world, such as YouTube and Twitch. She was asked if she had any idea where the business was headed, and though she noted she’s no swami, she did have some thoughts, mostly around the idea of creating content for niche markets. It’s no longer about appealing to the lowest common denominator. “There’s so many TV shows out there that you’re able as a creator to make a show on a dime. There’s too much out there! This glut that might dry out a little bit. We’re so scattered in the world, but so unified around different things now that we keep making smaller niche content. You don’t have to appeal to everybody, you can still maintain a business that way. A lot of business decisions betray the audience they love because they are trying to appeal to more people. Make that kind of niche content people feel very drawn to and not water it down to not get ‘better’ audience, which is not necessary better.”