The Girl Who Waited: Karen Gillan Panel

Posted January 30, 2015 in
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Karen Gillan
Karen Gillan, most recently known as Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy and most heart-breakingly as Doctor Who’s Amy Pond. You wouldn’t know it from her American roles, but her natural accent is thick and delightfully Scottish. Photo: Matt Brunk / unlifephotography.com

The last thing I expected this year at Fan X was to nearly burst into tears during a celebrity spotlight panel—let alone Karen Gillan’s. Before I divulge into the details of my brief moment of nauseating emotional sensitivity, I feel some context is in order.

As I arrived at the south ballroom of the Salt Palace, I immediately started to choke on the atmospheric humidity. It had managed to reach what I can only assume to be a palpable 70 percent. Causing some three hundred bodies to heavily perspire. While I rushed past the countless aisles of chairs I noticed the line of audience members circling around the southwest corner of the room, waiting for their chance to ask Gillan their questions. As Dan Farr entertained the crowed with another one of his laffy-taffy wrapper jokes I decided in my mind that I would hate Gillan before the panel was out. Not because I wanted to, but because I know what they say about meeting your heroes, and this would be the closest I knew I would ever come to meeting her one-on-one. She came out onstage and I tried hating her even more, then that damned angelic Scottish accent of hers hit the air and the hour that followed proved Gillan to be worthy of my devoted fangirling—not that she actually was striving to. During the brief onstage interview she joked about the Utah weather reminding her of home, marveled at the concept of 24hr gyms, shared that she didn’t know how to drive and serenaded the audience by singing a Gaelic choir song. I try to refrain from describing women with adjectives associated with small animals, unfortunately Gillan makes that goal nearly impossible to achieve. In those brief moments onstage she revealed herself to be the most adorable, loveable and delightful individual to watch.

Gillan’s true charm didn’t kick into full swing until the audience members began their extensive line of questioning. The hot topics for the evening were primarily centered around her role as Eliza Dooley in “Selfie,” Nebula in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and of course Amy Pond in “Doctor Who.”

A completely genius young woman asked one of the most controversial questions of the evening: “I am a huge Dr. Who Fan, but my question is from Guardians of The Galaxy … I was wondering if you could show us some of your best dance moves from Guardians of the Galaxy?” Of course the crowed started laughing, then laughter quickly shifted into utter chaos when Gillan asked someone to have a dance-off with her onstage. A well-endowed Robin cosplayer, who appeared to have sprinted twenty yards in under two seconds to get onstage, accepted the challenge. Gillan, staying faithful to her characters individual histories, shared her favoritism for Amy and Rory’s love story from Doctor Who and commented on Henry and Eliza’s budding romance in “Selfie” when she said “ Rory waited 2,000 years for Amy, Henry’s only been around for a few weeks!” When asked about future projects coming up she exclaimed, “I have something really exciting that I can’t tell you about right now! I will tweet it as soon as I can.” She went on to share a brief insight to “In A Valley of Violence,” which she claims is very exciting for her. “I never thought I’d get to be in a western, ‘cause its so quintessentially American, and I am not,” said Gillan. The questions ranged from “What’s you’re favorite color,” (Teal) to “What villain, in any universe would you like an opportunity to play,” (The Joker) and everything in between.

Finally we arrive at my emotional demise. Roughly half way through the audience a little girl, no more than seven years old, approached the microphone to ask a question. After mumbling her name she let out the big guns “ What was your emotion when Dr. Who said ‘just a minute’ and then never came back,” she said. The question itself was simple enough, the length of what the little girl was asking and saying was by no means simple. She was reminding us of the weight that the series can so often carry. She was reminding us all that, celebrity aside—Karen Gillan helped create a character whose entire life story we knew by heart. Amy Pond was, after all, the reason Gillan was sitting on that stage. Additionally, it was a crucial example of the audience range that Dr. Who reaches as a series and how invested an individual can become in the shows character at any age. Whether or not such a sentiment was worth my eyes sweating over can be debated, but every member of that audience swooning over that little girl asked her question couldn’t.

Check out our photo gallery for more photos from Fan Xperience 2015!

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