First panel on Sunday morning was an hour long panel for Chuck, attended by creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak, and the very beautiful Yvonne Strahovski. We got there early enough where just like the day before, we got great seats. That is except for the fathead in front of me that could never keep his head from bobbing back and forth the entire panel. From my point of view, Yvonne could only be seen at one angle, but he tried for more.
The moderator was Alan Sepinwall, TV critic of The Star Ledger. He did a fantastic job with the questions, but I did wonder who was in charge of audience control, for there wasn’t much. The cons were no rules were stated up front, so much of the Q&A was wasted with too many fans at the mic pandering for autographs and photos from Yvonne as well as offering gifts and requests for appearances. Sadly, once she accepted the first request, she opened the Pandora’s box and fans didn’t stop. Luckily Josh Schwartz said no to the first request made of him.
It started with a clip sharing what was coming for the rest of the season, offering plenty of teasers and some spoilers. Some really great information was shared in the panel, as they all talked about the inspirations for the show (tons of 80’s references), the upcoming storylines, exciting guest actors, and some interesting stories that went into filming these episodes.
Here are some of the things revealed at the panel (spoiler alert!):
– They are excited to get Chevy Chase as a guest star, since Chris and Josh are fans of Fletch and Spies Like Us and many things about Zach (Zachary Levi) remind them of Chevy Chase. It was an opportunity too good to pass up. Same with Scott Bakula, because they’re big Quantum Leap fans. Josh even admitted to going out and buying the soundtrack of “The Man From LaMancha.” Yeah, that was one of my favorite episodes too.
– When asked why season two has been so great compared to season one, Josh admitted right when they were finding their groove in season one, “the damn strike happened.” It gave them a chance to take a good look at the show and tighten it and improve it. They also got to tell Yvonne she didn’t have wear the Wienerlicious uniform anymore.
– Alan asked why get rid of that uniform, since people loved it so much. Josh answered that it was a good joke, and they like to change it up every year, plus she looks good in the yogurt uniform. He went on to add once they’ve done a fight scene with the hot dog sticks, they were like “we’ve done this.” Yvonne commented the uniform was comfortable but restricting.
– Yvonne schedules her workout regime after thumbing the script and seeing what skimpy outfit she has to fight in. Josh added sometimes they’re restricted to what they can use due to TV. For example, a towel would never work.
– Yvonne loves the fight scenes, and fighting Nicole Richie in the shower scene in “Chuck Vs. The Cougars” was one of her favorites.
– Chris promised that a Tron like sequence involving FULCRUM is coming up in a future episode.
– Is everyone in Chuck’s past is a spy? Josh said that’s not necessarily the case with Chuck’s father, appearing soon, played by Scott Bakula.
– Chuck is getting better at the fighting, and will have his first kill soon.
– When asked about filming locations, Josh mentioned he would love to film other places, especially International. Right now it’s a shot of the Eiffel Tower, followed by an entire episode in the parking garage. They’d love to film in New York as long as the tax benefits don’t go away.
– When Yvonne was asked why she changed the spelling of her last name, she said it was to make it less complicated. Josh joked that he wanted her to change it to Smith or Stryker.
– When asked if NBC has granted a third season, Chris was very thankful of the promotion during the Super Bowl, and Josh was as positive as he can be without saying its happening.
– Josh went on to further explain that NBC spent all that money during the Super Bowl promoting the show, they were coming back with momentum with episodes in February, and then Obama schedules to speak on Monday. He’s threatened to do it the next week too. So, they’re going into repeats on the West Coast while that happens. “Clearly Obama’s first plan as president was to destroy Chuck,” Josh said.
– The fight scenes have gotten more complicated and there will be a fight scene coming up soon in a car. “Depending on Obama,” Josh joked.
– Yvonne trained as an actor for three years in Australia, and she learned all sorts of accents, including American. She also announced she’ll be becoming an American citizen soon.
– Is Chuck actually getting paid by the government? Chris said that will be addressed in an upcoming episode.
– Yvonne discussed her workout regiment, which involv
es running and some dancing.
es running and some dancing.
– Everyone is a pop culture enthusiast on the writing staff, and every once in a while they have to do a purge because there are too many Star Warsones. There are also obscure sports references, like the one with Guy LaFleur (I caught that one!)
– Chuck has O’Reilly books on his shelf, and the San Diego comic con symbol in his room, plus a Tron and Dune poster on his wall for anybody that missed those.
– How does Chuck do the spy thing and not get fired by the Buy More? It’s not exactly hard to pull a fast one on Big Mike.
– A fan asked for an Adam Baldwin anecdote, and they couldn’t come up with one easily. They said the Ronald Reagan picture was his idea, and something that didn’t make the cut on last year’s Thanksgiving episode was him lining up his peas in a row. He’s good at bringing little details to the role.
– Why did they choose the name Chuck? At the time, it wasn’t common claims Josh, although when the show came out everyone was using it. Even the moderator so wisely pointed out that Josh used the name in his other show, Gossip Girl. “I should watch that show,” Josh joked. They wanted a newer ordinary guy name, and were also reading a lot of Chuck Klosterman too.
– When Chris writes Casey, he goes into an angry face. When asked about Sarah killing the unarmed FULCRUM agent, Chris mentioned that each week Chuck becomes more like them and learning what they’re world is like and they become more like Chuck, who’s an ordinary guy.
– Time for the cute kid moment of the presentation. The kid asked that because Casey’s toe was shot off in the Christmas episode, did he get a robotic toe? “He does now, as of today,” Josh answered. “Does that mean he’s like Darth Vader?” is what the kid came back with. Then he/she (I couldn’t tell) mentioned that Stryker the name of a bad guy in The X-Men. “That’s why it’s awesome,” Josh said. Kid then asks “Aren’t you afraid Wolverine(I think) is going to come after you?” “I think about that every night,” Josh countered. Alan then mentions Stryker is the name of a character in a comedy movie. Josh goes back to the kid, asking “what do you think about that?” The kid asked was that the comedy movie.
– Fans easily pick on up just about every pop culture reference they use and are pretty savvy about that sort of thing. Chris especially mentioned that the episode with Sarah’s dad had a Midnight Run quality and people picked up on that.
– Someone asked what else they’ve written besides Chuck, and it’s obvious he was the only one in the room that didn’t know Josh has also doneGossip Girl and The OC.
– So how does Josh go from his other projects, which are very different, to Chuck? Chris presented the idea to him and he thought it would be a fun thing to do. In exploring the idea of a relationship like he does in his other shows, where there’s all this potential but it hasn’t worked out yet, that’s a hard show to do on an hourly basis and keep it interesting. If that main character is being chased by ninjas, it’s sustainable. It was an opportunity for him to do something different, and it’s been a blast.
– Will Chuck move out, and has anyone considered the comedy gold of him moving in with Casey? They’ve talked about either him moving out or Awesome and Ellie moving out, but nothing yet.
– Are all the father figures supposed to be ex-Starship captains? Is that a happy accident? Chris claims there are no happy accidents.
– They got the opportunity to get Tony Hale, who they loved in Arrested Development, and needed that Assistant Manager antagonist (since the actor who plays Harry Tang went on Dexter). They created that role around Tony and have him for the rest of the year.
– Someone asked about my favorite scene of the season, the fight scene in the Gravitron. Chris talked about that, who took on the challenge because they were doing a fair theme and he was told no one could do an action sequence inside a Gravitron. He filmed part of the scene staying still with Chuck and the bad guy climbing around, and then the rest with the Gravitron moving, strapping them down. He was on one side filming when the Gravitron was moving, and after two minutes felt like he was going to have a heart attack.
– Someone asked if they wanted to do crossover episode or an episode at Comic Con. Josh mentioned they’ve thought about Comic Con, how they can’t figure out the bad guy since everyone’s like Darth Vader. Logistically it’s difficult though.
– Have they ever gotten crap from Best Buy? No. They’re going to see the Beverly Hills Buy More in an upcoming episode, which to Emmett is sweet.
– Were they considered for the Super Bowl spot? No, but they got the next best thing since all that time they got during the ads was really expensive.
– There are a lot of natural obstacles to the Chuck/Sarah relationship, as well as other parties that come along, so that will be driving their situation for a while.
– Jeff and Lester are getting a band. Called Jeffster!
– Are they influenced by anime? No.
With that the Chuck panel ended, and I’m sure Yvonne Stravohski will think twice before agreeing to another autograph. They certainly got me excited about the rest of the season, and the next one too. From the impression I got, the rest of the audience too. Now we need to get Obama to speak on a different night.