While most of us know Alan Tudyk as Wash from Firefly and Serenity, he’s had a steady career in the years since that role came to an untimely end. Like a leaf on the wind, he’s moved from project to project, performing voices in Disney films including Frozen and Big Hero Six to the ultimate role—droid K-2SO in the upcoming Star Wars film Rogue One, scheduled for a December release.
Most of his time and energy, however, is poured into Con Man, a crowdfunded web series he created. Tudyk stars as Wray Nearly, a struggling actor who once played a spaceship captain on the TV series Spectrum. He now visits cons and meets his fans. Talk about life imitating art! Or moreso art imitating life?
And now there’s Con Man: The Game! The free Sims-style game is available on Apple and GooglePlay, and it allows users to build their own con. The game, which will constantly be updated, contains Easter eggs and nods to various fan favorites, such as Stargate, Deadpool, and the Whedonverse.
Tudyk, joined by producer P.J. Haarsma and actor Nolan North at Dragon Con over Labor Day weekend, discussed Season 2 of Con Man (Lou Ferrigno plays Lenny in Of Mice and Men, the musical), the new game, as well as Star Wars and other projects.
One of Tudyk’s favorite roles was Simon in Death at a Funeral, directed by none other than Frank Oz. Yes, Frank Oz of Miss Piggy and Yoda fame. Speaking of Yoda, (which leads directly to Star Wars) Tudyk also mentioned that working on Rogue One was a great experience. ILM’s makeup for characters who aren’t anything other than walking action figures is extraordinary, he said. When I had the chance to speak to him one on one, as he wore an ILM Rogue One cap, he mentioned (jokingly?) the catering improved nearing the end of production, as the crew for Episode VIII began moving in.
His memories of Star Wars growing up? “It was like Jaws . . . it was huge and respected. I remember going to see Darth Vader at the mall . . . I was so afraid. It was just some guy in a suit. He didn’t say anything. My brother and I were terrified.”
Of Star Wars fans, he said, “It’s a different group of fans . . . people are serious about Star Wars. Don’t mess it up.” He attended Star Wars Celebration in Europe over the summer and no doubt collected tons of stories to introduce in future seasons of Con Man. We as fans can be rather, um, passionate. But I say this as someone who totally does not have a Yoda shrine. No. Not me. Not at all.
Shifting the conversation back to conventions, one of the more positive sides of cons and fandom, producer Haarsma mentioned, is the charity work done by fan groups such as the Browncoats (Firefly) and the 501st Legion (Star Wars).
Hopefully Tudyk, Haarsma, and North had a fantastic time at Dragon Con and collected many amazing stories to share in future seasons of Con Man. Personally speaking, it was one of the best years of Dragon Con ever, and if you’ve never attended, be sure to go next year! Dragon Con is always held over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.