Parsippany, New Jersey isn't exactly what we picture when we hear the word, “exciting,” however, this past weekend Parsippany was truly one of the most exciting places to be. Well, that is if you are a fan of the hit CW series, The Vampire Diaries or its spin-off series, The Originals.
Creation Entertainment, the brain child of Adam Malin and Gary Berman, has been providing science fiction fans with their favorite actors from a variety of television shows and movies, including Star Trek, Supernatural and of course, The Vampire Diaries (TVD)/The Originals. While each event is different they all have one similarity, the fans get the face time they desire with their favorite actors.
This past weekend the Hilton Parsippany was the best place to be if you wanted to get face-to-face with the stars of the hit CW shows. This past weekend fans got up close and personal with some of their favorite starts from the hit series, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Guests included: Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore), Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore), Daniel Gillies (Elijah Mikaelson), Arielle Kebbel (Lexi), Zach Roerig (Matt Donovan) Michael Trevino (Tyler Lockwood), Chase Coleman (Oliver) and many more.
The three-day event consisted of question and answer panels with each guest, autograph sessions, photo ops, a cocktail party and even a fun night of karaoke. While each event had its own special quality to them the events that seemed to be the most memorable were the Friday night karaoke party and the photo ops.
Fans came from all walks of life to Parsippany, each one hoping to get even so much as a glimpse of their favorite Vampire Diaries actor. For Nikki Claine the interaction with the actors is what she loves most about the conventions. This was her favorite part not because of the show but because she has “started to look up to them because of their other endeavors, such as Ian Somerhalder’s charity.” Claine went on to say that she attended this year’s convention because she had heard such great things about the events she “just had to attend.” While Claine enjoyed nearly everything about the event and wouldn't change much she did have a comment about the cancellations and changes to the schedule stating, “It sucks when actors cancel or when actors’ agents mess up the days they’re free, but that was nowhere near anybody at the con’s fault. I do believe they handled what happened with the NJ con and the cancellation and reschedule very well.”
Friday welcomed a newcomer to the convention scene, Chase Coleman, who plays “Oliver” on the spin-off series, The Originals. Although fans were not exactly thrilled with his character on The Originals it became clear that Coleman, the man, quickly grew on convention goers.
This writer spoke with a few of the fans about Coleman and the responses proved that he was a guest they wanted to see again and again. One fan said, “He had me hooked before a single question was asked during his panel,” while others were equally as impressed by his body, “His body…whoa!”
Coleman became almost instantly conformable with the convention scene and was shirtless shortly after karaoke began. A gesture that the female fans were quite pleased with. Fans were still squealing about Coleman three days after he made his convention debut. “Chase is one of my new favorites,” a fan said in passing to her friend while this writer was standing on line waiting for her third cup of coffee for the day. “I never realized how hot and nice he was until I met him,” another fan boasted. It is both this writer’s hope and the hope of the rest of the TVD fandom that Coleman be invited to all future conventions from here on out. Claine also enjoyed the newcomers. “The newcomers were great! Just because these newcomers weren't leading roles on TVD, they still, in my opinion, had vital roles in the series. Plus who could complain about two sweet, funny, and attractive me?”
With these conventions it is well-known that Ian Somerhalder, one of the show’s stars, is a major draw to these conventions and when he had to switch his scheduled appearance day from Sunday to Saturday the convention workers had to act quickly to make sure the fans still go the chance to interact with this talented and gorgeous actor. It wasn't a seamless transition but somehow they made it work and fans were thrilled when Somerhalder stepped on stage on Saturday and turned the ballroom into pure chaos. This we’re sure is due, in part, to Somerhalder’s smoldering blue eyes and warm personality.
While there was far too much that happened during Somerhalder’s panel to put into this article this writer has included a few highlights. When asked what his favorite season of the TVD series has been so far Somerhalder said that season one was his favorite because he “loves villain Damon.” He believes that Damon and Vicky (R.I.P.) would have been a “hot couple.” Of course the standard question of the weekend was which relationship each guest, “shipped,” Delena (Damon and Elena) or Stelena (Stefan and Elena). When Somerhalder was asked he answered by not answering saying that “there have been some beautiful layered Delena scenes.” It seems silly to ask such questions but it is one that fans are just dying to know. Somerhalder also admitted to getting emotional during some of the shows more powerful scenes, which only enhanced the love and admiration of his fans. The questions were, for the most part, well thought out and entertaining but then again with Somerhalder’s wit it’s difficult not to be entertained. One of the most endearing statements came when Somerhalder likened the fans to his family saying, “People who are fans are family.” Awww!
As if Coleman and Somerhalder weren't hot enough fans were delighted when it was time for Daniel Gillies, their favorite original, to take the stage. The smooth and cunning actor wooed the audience with his sexy accent and his generosity towards his fans. When asked about which couple he ships Gillies played into what he knew the crowd wanted to hear and proudly said that he wants Damon and Elena to end up together. Fans were thrilled and their love for him only increased. Furthermore, Gillies believes that his character should come up with more creative ways to kill people rather than ripping their hearts out. Honestly, so do we.
Friday and Saturday was filled with more excitement than any one person can handle in two days but the fun wasn't over yet we still had Paul Wesley Sunday! Fans, at first, were a bit nervous, as they've heard rumblings that Wesley was not quite as comfortable with the convention scene as his television brother, Somerhalder. Most weren't sure what to expect but they were surprised and pleased when Wesley stepped on stage and showed no signs of nerves at all. He was sarcastic, entertaining and quite comfortable on stage and felt at home enough to call his younger sister, Julia, on stage with him. The questions were repetitive but Wesley took them all in stride. When asked if he, Paul Wesley, would be as forgiving as Stefan was about his ex-girlfriend, Elena and his brother, Damon hooking up Wesley said, “No!” He would have beaten his brother up and said, “Peace,” to Elena. This of course, would be any normal person’s reaction to such a betrayal. Another fan asked Wesley to describe his cast mates in one word, after some negotiations with the fan about how many cast mates he would describe Wesley said this of Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev and Daniel Gillies: “Ian - Smoldy, Nina - Boss Lady, Daniel - Sweet cheeks.” Fans were up in arms to get him to describe his new girlfriend, Phoebe Tonkin but Wesley refused in the most polite way possible. The panel lasted approximately 60 minutes and gave fans a taste of Wesley many of them hadn't seen before.
Next up for the afternoon was Arielle Kebbel who plays Lexi, Stefan’s best friend. Kebbel was also the “host,” of the event although she only appeared on Sunday. Kebbel was bubbly and incredibly interactive with the fans and even called her boyfriend during the panel because of an anti-Germany (who had just won the World Cup) text she received from him. With Kebbel fans were not given the “shipping” answer they wanted as the actress never really answered the questions because she didn't want the crowd to erupt against her. Despite her lack of answer fans knew which relationship she “shipped.” The bubbly actress’ panel was only 45-minutes but kept the crowd entertained the entire time and even took a “selfie” with a fan who was dressed similar to her. All-in-all Kebbel was one of the most refreshing panels of the weekend.
Last but certainly not least was a newcomer to the show, Michael Malarkey who plays Damon’s best friend, Enzo. Malarkey is cunning, suave, sexy and just plain fun to watch. He too refused to answer the shipping question but did come up with the idea to have a Stelena and Delena ice cream flavors stating that Stelena would be green and Delena would be purple. This writer thinks that sounds delicious. Malarkey entertained the crowd with his comedic answers, sarcasm and the occasional Enzo-esque statement. But fans were certainly surprised when Malarkey first began speaking and that thick English accent was almost non-existent. Despite the lack of accent, Malarkey had the fans wrapped around his sexy little finger and when his time on stage was up the crowd erupted in a resounding, “awww!
The Vampire Diaries convention this past weekend was both chaotic and a success. It was the perfect opportunity to come face-to-face with some of the most talented actors on television, and in our opinion some of the best looking. Creation Entertainment continues to excite fans and give them the ability to have their dreams come true and for that we hope they continue on for years to come.
*Photo op credit: Chris Schmelke