10 Things We Learned from This Year's Saturn Awards

Monday, June 30, 2014 at 6:00 am

5. Malcolm McDowell Won The Life Career Award.

A big honoree of the night was Malcolm McDowell, who won The Life Career Award at the Saturns. When the clip real focused on A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek: Generations and Halloween, it's easy to see why. If there was a clip of Tank Girl in there, I missed it, but they did show Caligula. Of course, the screen legend never thought of himself as a science fiction actor.

"No, you're not science fiction actors," McDowell told me in the winner's room. "You're actors period, in a science fiction movie. There's no specialist. To be an actor in a science fiction thing is the same as doing any other genre movie."

Even the landmark Clockwork Orange, a portrayal of ultraviolence in the future of London, wasn't really a sci-fi movie. "75% of the movie is shot present day in 1969. It's just that the opening was so revolutionary at the time, the whole look was so staggering. Of course now it's been copied a million times. How many videos have you seen with Bowlers, eyelashes, codpieces? At the time, it was so startling, people sat there in total silence. They didn't leave the theater after the movie finished and it really upset a lot of people."

4. Revolution Season Three Plans Revealed

NBC's Revolution will not be back for a third season. It looks like the lights finally went out for real. Wait, wait, I have another one. The Revolution will no longer be televised! The late NBC series' Saturn Award win for Best Network Television series, tied with Hannibal, may be its last hurrah. Producer Rockne S. O'Bannon, of Farscape himself, told us what the third season of Revolution would have been about.

"The third season was going to get very deeply into the nanotech story and go into a really interesting science fiction direction which was of great interest to me," O'Bannon said. "The nanotech which was behind the blackout in the first place but as we developed in season two, the nanotech was taking on a certain self-awareness. What I found really interesting was nanotechnology is something that's totally in our future. It was very much present time. The nanotech was going to be a character. It was an entity that we had to deal with."

3. NBC's Constantine Will Do the Hunger Demon Story

Matt Ryan in NBC's Constantine

Don't feel too bad for Rockne S. O'Bannon. He's now got a job on the upcoming Constantine TV series. We watched the Constantine pilot earlier this month, so O'Bannon was able to give us a scoop about what's coming up later in the show's first season.

"One of the stories that we're doing presently is the Hunger Demon story," O'Bannon said. "That's what we're hoping to do in the early part. It won't be in episode two. It'll be a little bit farther down the road, but one of the good things about the Constantine comics is they have such absolutely fascinating standalone stories. The series we want to do, there's certainly a continuing story that threads through it, but it's also a show that you could really watch and enjoy on a week to week basis which is very much like the comic books. We're trying to stay as faithful to the comic book that we all fell in love with and all love. NBC and Warner Bros. are very anxious for us to do exactly that."

The pilot got a lot of things right, like having Constantine be British and a former inmate of Ravenscar undergoing ECT treatment. One of the things it got wrong was moving John Constantine to Atlanta, where the show is being filmed and taking place. Neil Marshall, director of the pilot, was on the red carpet at the Saturns and told me he didn't plan to keep the show in Atlanta for long.

"Hopefully it's going to be kind of a road show and we're going to move around a bit," Marshall said. "So I don't think it's going to be set in Atlanta for the whole series."

2. The Walking Dead Episode "The Grove" Came With A Warning

The Walking Dead star Melissa McBride won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television. When she came back to the winner's room, I asked her about the season's landmark episode "The Grove." You know the one with the two girls? Yeah, that was intense. McBride told me the script for that episode came with a warning, although that's par for the course on The Walking Dead.

"They kind of do that with all the episodes," McBride said. "'Heads up, this is a heavy one.' Yeah, they let me know that there was going to be some particularly difficult material."

She agreed with me that "The Grove" was a landmark episode though. "Absolutely a landmark episode for myself as the actor and for Carol. It just forced so much on her to make these very difficult decisions. I think it's bringing a whole different self-awareness for her."

Since showrunner Scott M. Gimple told Larry King he thinks The Walking Dead could last more than 10 seasons, I asked McBride if she agreed. "Gosh, I think that would be awesome. It's totally possible. The comic books are still going on and always introducing new characters. The threats are always there and the world is getting worse, so people are going to die and we're going to meet other people along the way. It can go on and on."

1. James Gunn Asked Joss Whedon About Thanos.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Okay, here's the biggie of the night. Kevin Feige accepted the Saturn Award for Best Comic-to-Film Motion Picture for Iron Man 3. He wasn't doing any interviews that night, but the presenters of his award were the director and star of his next movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn and Michael Rooker.

I asked Gunn how Guardians would fit into Marvel Studios' Phase Two plans. By now we all know that Thanos will be in the movie, with the voice of Josh Brolin. Gunn told me he had to coordinate his Thanos with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"We had a little bit of Thanos' minor plans that we had to deal with but other than that it was pretty much open to do whatever I wanted to," Gunn said. "I mean, we're creating the cosmic universe which hasn't existed in the Marvel [Cinematic] Universe so it's kind of the first time we get to play in that field."

Thanos was introduced to the MCU in The Avengers. Gunn said he talked to Joss Whedon personally to make sure he didn't contradict and future plans for Thanos.

"Listen, I talked to Joss a lot about Thanos and what our plans were, what we were going to do with him in the future," Gunn said. "There was a lot of that."

Also by Fred Topel

The Comic n00b View - The 5 Things NBC's Constantine Gets Right, 5 It Still Doesn't

10 Things This Comic N00b Learned About The Flash From Watching The CW Pilot

10 Things We Learned From The CBS Summer Press Day About Extant, Under the Dome and More

10 Things I Learned About The Sega-Nintendo War From Console Wars

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