‘Castle’ Salutes Comic Con with Sci-Fi Surprises Galore

Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion in "Castle" (ABC)

Castle” and Comic Conventions go together like peanut butter and chocolate. The show is known for its hilarious panels at the famed San Diego Comic-Con. Star Nathan Fillion, who previously starred in the cult sci-fi series “Firefly” loves Cons, often attending in costume. So it’s fitting that tonight’s episode, “The Final Frontier,” involves a murder at a fan convention. It guest stars genre favorites Armin Zimmerman  (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine“), Ed Quinn (“Eureka“), Christina Moore (“True Blood“), Erin Way (“Alphas“), and Chris McKenna  (Joey on “One Life to Live” before Fillion took over the role). “Castle” recruited “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star Jonathan Frakes, who has appeared at numerous fan conventions, to direct the episode. Frakes revealed why the show is a must-see for all genre fans, how attending a Con spices up Castle and Beckett’s relationship, and which character wears a scandalous costume.

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What treats are in store for “Castle” fans?: The episode opens with our dear friend Richard Castle autographing copies of his newest graphic novel at what turns out to be eerily familiar to a Star Trek convention. The show is not Star Trek. The convention is not Comic-Con. But everything is mostly based on what these conventions are really like. We peppered the guest cast with stars from other sci-fi shows. Nathan Fillion does this incredible Bill Shatner impersonation on the show. My buddy Armin Shimmerman who played a Ferengi on Star Trek is the mad scientist on this show. I make a cameo appearance as Castle’s number one fan. The voice of the oracle on the spaceship happens to sound vaguely like Stana’s voice. It’s peppered with easter eggs.

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How much did you draw from your own experiences attending fan conventions and being a part of a show with the strongest fandom in television history?: I think why [showrunner] Andrew [Marlowe] and [executive producer] Rob Bowman asked me to do it was that I was able to bring 25 years of experience in the convention [world] to it. I give great credit to the production designer and the costume designer who captured much the way that “Galaxy Quest” did the real, accurate assessment of what it is like to be on the floor of the convention. There’s a bridge that looks not unlike the Enterprise but is totally different from the Enterprise that was built for the episode of television. It’s really quite amazing production value.

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How does attending a Con together impact Castle and Beckett’s relationship?: It turns out that Beckett still possesses her Nebula 9 Lieutenant Chloe costume from her days at Stanford. Mr. Castle persuades her to don her costume for a little Cosplay in the last scene.

Nathan Fillion is known for being the king of Comic-con. What was it like directing him? Was he like a kid in a candy store?: Both of us were. I mean, he’s sort of like a brother. Between “Firefly” and “Next Gen,” there’s a lot of fandom and appreciation for the fans of these shows.

Are there any jokes about the Castle fandom in the episode?: The opening of the show is about Castle and his rabid female fans. So we’ve got “Castle.” We get “Firefly.” We get “Star Trek.”  We’ve got “Star Wars.” It’s peppered with treats for genre fans.

Were there any scenes you were particularly proud of as a director?: I was thrilled to have Armin and Nathan and Stana together. I enjoy all three of them as friends and as actors so we had a wonderful day together. We shot at a newly mined 1898 chocolate factory that someone discovered in downtown Los Angeles. It turned into Armin’s lair. He’s a mad  scientist and the set building is just spectacular.

Do Ryan and Esposito and the rest of the characters also end up at the Con?: There’s a great moment where Castle sees his beautiful daughter [Alexis] (Molly Quinn) dressed in quite a revealing outfit that I think will astonish the fans of the show. Also, Esposito (Jon Huertas)  is interviewing potential witnesses and [one] peels her costume away so she’s shockingly topless. Ryan (Seamus Dever) is appalled at the people in costume and how some of them don’t speak English, they speak a language from some other planet.

What is the best costume at the Con?: Ironically, the costume that Beckett wears at the end of the show. It’s something worth staying tuned for.

What is your personal most memorable experience at a convention?: We attended a convention at Royal Albert Hall in London after the opening of one of the Star Trek movies. Royal Albert Hall was filled with raving costumed Star Trek fans and it was actually quite breathtaking.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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