Wizard World Chicago: Special Features with the Dreddful Karl Urban

Perhaps you’ve heard of a little franchise called Star Trek, or maybe Lord of the Rings? You could be an avid Sci-Fi fan following Riddick’s blood trail or a gamer still playing Doom. But to me, the man that ties all these epic titles together will always be Dredd, the gallant and funny Karl Urban.

I am the law! I am the law!

One advantage for genre fans attending their nearest comic convention is the opportunity to see, and in some cases interact with, their favorite players from film and television. So was the case with fanatics roaming the recent Chicago Comic-Con as Mr. Urban took the main-hall stage for his Q & A.

By now a veteran of the convention circuit – like most with a Star Trek credit on their IMDB page – Karl took his seat in front of a cheering crowd with a smile, prepared to entertain.

Okay, who farted? Okay, who farted?

“Are you out of your Vulcan minds?” was how he addressed the amassed nerd population, rousing another standing ovation.  The moderator was quickly reminded by a fan of Urban’s involvement in the cult favorites Xena and Hercules, asking about his time on those sets, “A lot of the people who worked on those shows, from the camera crew and wardrobe department, went on to work on Lord of the Rings,” Karl praised, adding, ”Ngila [Dickson] won an Oscar for her work on that.

“It was getting to work on a show with a production level that was higher than we were used to in New Zealand,” he explained about his time with the warrior princess. Urban credited Lucy Lawless for her professionalism and how that example was key to his preparations and on-set habits for the ill fated Almost Human.

Dammit Jim, i'm a street judge not a cowboy vampire!  Dammit Jim, i’m a street judge not a cowboy vampire!

After discussing his adventurous spirit – which included Everest’s death zone and pulling a hammy by simply walking on a shoot – a participant posed questions circling Karl back to Almost Human, “It had so much potential. I loved working with everyone, that crew was phenomenal. And I’m hoping many of that crew will be able to join us on Star Trek 3.”

He also informed on the long, grueling days required on a show like AH as well as his immediate rapport with co-star Michael Ealy. After broaching the subject, questions about ST3 were now on the table, leading to Karl divulging that the third film and the franchise’s 50th anniversary might be more than coincidental timing and that time on that set is more fun than work when saddled with jokers like Simon Pegg and Chris Pine. Laughs were not in short supply apparently.

I said just a little off the sides... I said just a little off the sides…

The laughs for us had just started, though. When asked about a story – involving drinks, debauchery and the subsequent headache – told by Star Trek: TNG alum, Marina Sirtis, Urban cracked wise saying, “All I remember is waking up in my hotel room and wondering why there were M&Ms all over the floor! The mini-bar was open. I don’t remember too much about it, but it wasn’t my fault!”

The moral of that story is simple: If your flight into Chicago runs out of red wine and you switch to vodka, don’t hang with the Next Gen cast back at the hotel unless you want a hangover. That and most stories involving Benedict Comberbatch aren’t fit for public disclosure, it would seem.

Karl’s prank feud with LotR brother-in-arms, Viggo Mortensen, prompted the panel’s final topic, bringing out the mischievous nature of our star’s off-set proclivities. Following a decade long wait to repay Mortensen – you should see Viggo’s goat farm – Karl has devious plans for Pine and Pegg after their Neutron Cream prank. And with ST3 looming, payback should be inevitable. Urban may not strike first, but when he does fire back, he shoots for the evening news.

Yes, I'm pretty sure it's just my leg that's bionic.  Yes, I’m pretty sure it’s just my leg that’s bionic.

Steve, Karl’s Almost Human driver and now friend, may be his greatest adversary in the prank department and based on some of the stories, the rest of the cast and crew were often caught in the crossfire. Word to the wise: If Karl Urban asks you to return his rental car for him and it’s raining, make sure there’s more than a mile worth of “petrol” in the tank.

I have to say that out of all the conventions and all the panels we’ve hit the past five years, Wizard World Chicago 2014 did not disappoint with the options they provided. And better than that, the panelists all aimed to entertain, seeming to enjoy the fandom before them, sharing funny, interesting and engaging anecdotes.

Karl Urban was no exception, giving eager fans a laughing good time for forty-five minutes.  Charismatic as I’d always heard him to be, don’t pass if you get the chance to sit in a room with this guy! 

And stay tuned for much much more from Wizard World Chicago! 

About The Author

Michael Pellegrini

Michael is a classic example of a child trapped in an adult's body - and I use the word "adult" very, very loosely. With interests ranging from comic books and movies to theater and fine art, Mike has followed humble journalistic beginnings that have led to interviews, reviews, news write-ups and opinion - though it's ever changing - pieces covering those same interests. All of that brings us here, to a site where a community of like-minded geeks can inform the rest of the world on the topics we adore. And on the personal side of things, Michael squeezes time for his lovely wife and house full of dogs between all the comic reading and video game playing.

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