Moments after the Charmed panel was supposed to begin, fans were becoming antsy. There was a palpable amount of anticipation in the crowd, mostly young women in their mid-twenties, for the three stars to make their entrance. After fifteen minutes of waiting a Wizard World staff member announced that the cast was running a little behind but would be there soon. Minutes later Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Brian Krause unceremoniously walked onstage. Shannen was gripping a Starbucks cup, looking over it. Holly and Brian both seemed tired from the weekend’s events. They became settled and then the fan questions began. And boy, were there some interesting questions.
If there is one thing I admired about the Charmed panel it was the unabashed cattiness all three stars displayed when responding to fan questions. They were unfiltered and bitchy. At times possibly even rude. But it was also refreshing to see stars quip back at fans’ all-too intense questions about the show. “I feel like the front row should be up here answering for us,” Shannen quipped at one point. “It’s been nearly twenty years for me and I still don’t know as much as you all do.” And yet, underneath the sarcasm there was a real warmth and intelligence from the stars. I had just returned from The Fam Tour panel and it was invigorating to hear adults actually speak passionately about their projects. There was a true banter between audience and performer and at times it was riveting to watch. Despite how sarcastic the celebrities responded to fans, there was also a deep love for the fans felt. Shannen asked two men to stand up halfway through the panel because of an extremely special event that had happened. “This man proposed to his boyfriend in front of my booth yesterday,” Shannen declared. “And I’m assuming you guys haven’t changed your mind?” They both shook their head “no.” Everyone laughed. “Then I just wanted to publicly congratulate you guys,” Shannen said warmly.
Holly Marie proved to unexpectedly ballsy at times and I really enjoyed her conversations with fans. One young woman prepared a long speech that she read off her iPhone “I started watching you guys when I was eight,” she began. “I’m 24 now. That’s sixteen years.”
“Wow,” Holly cut her off. “And I just grew another grey hair.”
Another fan who invoked a large amount of laughter from the cast was a woman who asked the girls to describe kissing Brian. “I noticed in one take, Holly,” she began. “The kiss was a little more intense than usual and I was wondering why?” Shannen looked wildly amused for a moment. “Would you mind explaining how you noticed this,” she asked, egging on the fan. The woman blushed. “Yeah, um,” she stuttered. “Holly, you opened your mouth a lot more. And there was a lot of tongue.” Shannen lost all control and fell over screaming in laughter. As did the entire audience. “I don’t even know what to say right now,” Holly said finally, after regaining composure. “I think you’ve seen the show a few too many times.”
Most interestingly for me was Shannen and Holly discussing their new reality show “Off The Map”. “We traveled all around the south, and went to Leaper’s Fork, Tennessee,” Holly said. “The fans voted on what they wanted us to do when we got to every town and they ALWAYS voted for us to do something illegal!” They announced the show will be premiering in early 2015. “It’s been really exciting for us to work together again,” said Shannen. “We have so many years of friendship to fall back on.” This provoked one fan to ask if the girls see themselves reuniting with anyone else from the cast. “Well,” Holly said coyly. “We feel pretty reunited.” A few giggles from the audience emitted. “The truth is,” Shannen added on. “We love each other but everyone else hates us.” So to answer your question, fans, no Alyssa Milano is not welcome back for a reunion.
As expected, one fan did ask whether a Charmed movie would be made. “Yeah, there will be a Charmed movie,” Shannen responded. “And it will be on Vine. Over in six seconds but we’ll still gain millions of followers!” Earlier in the afternoon Shannen had made no secret of her disgust with the Vine stars when asked what her thoughts on them were. “I don’t even know how you can HAVE FANS IF YOU ARE ON VINE,” she seethed. “Maybe I should get on Vine so I can finally have six million followers because clearly I’m not doing something right. Then I can figure out whatever the hell the Fam Tour is.”
It was true though, “whatever the hell the Fam Tour is” was clobbering anyone else who wasn’t William Shatner in fan revenue at Comic Con. There was a general wave of bitterness and jealousy directed at the teenage boys because of the huge amount of hysteria they were inspiring. No one, especially not Shannen Doherty, could understand what they were doing there. “Is there anyone here who actually likes those kids?” she asked, still on a rampage. One hand shot up. “Only one,” she said flatly. “Okay what do they do? Why do you even care about them?” The young girl attempted to explain but no one on the panel cared. To them, the Vine boys should have never been allowed to come in the first place.
Despite the jokes, the three stars displayed a real love and gratefulness to the show throughout the panel. When a man asked how the cast felt about a Charmed reboot he was met with this answer: “Well, for one thing,” Shannen clarified. “It’s not going to happen. And even if it did, we wish them luck because they will never accomplish what we did.”
“Why do you think no one else has tried to recreate a show with such strong female leads?”, another man asked the ladies at the beginning of the panel. Holly looked at him in surprise. “Um, they have actually,” she said flatly. “Quite a bit. There are plenty of shows that have tried to recreate what we had. But the truth is, what we had was extremely special.” And it was. Especially for the hundred or so fans who came to support the cast members at this panel.
I also had the opportunity to ask a question for Baewatch. I thought long and hard about a question that wouldn’t be a typical fan question until I came to this, “What do you miss most about the 90s, arguably the best decade ever?” They were both stumped. “We’ve actually never been asked this before,” Shannen said after a few moments. “And I think we’re all struggling to come up with something good to say.” Brian jumped in, “I really liked that I was still in my twenties–and young.” Everyone laughed. Holly then answered with a nice thought, “I really love that in the 90s we were all just so present in the moment. We didn’t have our heads buried in our phones and we weren’t so concerned with social media. We just enjoyed each other. And I wish we could get back to that.” Shannen nodded her head in agreement. “Yeah, we’ll go with that.”
For nearly every fan at the panel though, their clear favorite thing about the 90s was Charmed.