The 3rd annual east coast edition of PaleyFest began with a musical bang, with a reunion of the team behind the 2008 hit internet musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Fun stuff to be sure, as co-creator Joss Whedon was there along with stars Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris. They treated the packed house to a screening of the full film about the love triangle between an angsty, lovesick supervillain, an egomaniacal superhero, and the girl they both want. That was followed by a positively adorable panel discussion heavy on quips and anecdotes about the production.
But those hoping for an announcement of Dr. Horrible 2 came away disappointed. “They’re exactly where they’ve been for a long time,” Whedon said when asked where plans for the sequel were. He came up with a ton of ideas in the wake of Dr. Horrible’s success, but then things “became a blur,” and he hasn’t had the chance to develop them further.
That blur was the quick succession of his Fox TV show Dollhouse (2009), the horror movie he cowrote and produced, Cabin In The Wood (2009), and of course the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which he joined in 2010 when he signed on to direct The Avengers. However, despite the fact that he’s now out of the Marvel game, so far Dr. Horrible 2 remains vaporware.
Speaking of Marvel, Whedon repeated the claim he’s made elsewhere, that he ultimately made more money from Dr. Horrible than he did from directing The Avengers. True or not, it’s certainly an endearing tribute to the success of a strange musical made on a literal shoestring during the writer’s strike of 2007-2008, on which none of the cast and crew were paid (at the time). Since then it’s sold a lot of copies, become a staple of fan conventions and a modern cult classic.
No wonder then it’s apparently Whedon’s favorite of his projects. “There’s nothing I’ve done that I enjoyed more, that I cared more about that I thought would disappear more quickly than Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog,” he said. “It came from a political place and a whimsical place… that’s been the bench mark of everything I do. If you’ve seen the last movie I made, you know one thing about how I feel about superheroes – I like villains. And this guy is my favorite.”
As for the rest of the panel, if you’ve been to a previous cast/director reunion than it was familiar territory – they’ve done a lot of these over the years. But it was no less enjoyable, if only for the camaraderie of the people involved. Lots of subtle sex jokes were made, a flurry of puns erupted and the audience swooned for all of it. A few highlights:
“I’m still thinking of the cereal – they have little hammers, little goggles, and little pennies… and Every box would be a little moist.” – Nathan Fillion joking about a Dr. Horrible cereal in response to a bad pun on the word “serial” minutes earlier.
“When my brother, who’s three years older than me, was listening to Aha and Duran Duran, I was secretly Into The Woodsing it.” – Neil Patrick Harris on his musical background prior to Dr. Horrible.
“The woods was my penis” – Neil Patrick Harris immediately after Fillion pointed out the possible double entendre.
“Why is the beautiful orca coming into the pond that’s too small for him?” – Felicia Day on Joss Whedon deciding to make Dr. Horrible as an online release.
PaleyFest New York started today, and lasts through October 19.