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Fan Expo Toronto - Day One - Dark Matter Panel

The line up...
Day one of Fan Expo is generally pretty quiet, getting started at 4pm. However, this year the floor of the dealer’s room and the main autograph/photo op areas were already crowded by 5. The Dark Matter panel had a huge line up and more than filled the allotted room – much to everyone’s surprise. The panel itself had great energy and included Three, Four, and Five. Space Channel’s Inner Space hosts Teddy Wilson and Ajay Fry moderated. They did a good job taking a back seat to the cast and letting the audience ask lots of questions.

The cast was excited to see the fans and were really appreciative of the fan support that fueled the season two renewal. Anthony Lemke seems to be a bit of a leader, often taking point on questions, but all three commented on how much fun they had on set.

Jodelle Ferland said that all the twists were cliffhangers for them too. They had no idea what was going to happen from one script to the next. She said they often texted each other to see if the others had read the new script yet. They didn’t know the final twist until they were filming. They laughing referred to showrunner, Joe Mallozi, as the Puppet-Master. In fact, they all had fittings as the “traitor” so no one knew who it would be. In fact, that was the last scene they filmed and they were all called together just before it was filmed and were told who was the traitor then!

Anthony Lemke said that they read all the tweets fan send – so keep them coming! And he repeatedly thanked fans for their support. There will be 13 episodes for Season two – or at least that’s the number he’s heard…

They’ve all been surprised by their backstories. Alex Mallari was surprised that he killed his mentor. Anthony Lemke was happy that his character was not just an asshole. Jodelle Ferland really likes her character and finds she has a lot in common with the character. She really enjoyed the character’s arc as she clearly doesn’t fit in at all with the others to begin with but really finds her place by the end of the season.

They mentioned that there is a four episode comic of the show available.

There was some discussion about 5 and 6’s relationship. Once the traitor was known, they knew it was going to change things for everyone regardless of who it turned out to be. Then Anthony Lemke and Alex Mallari teased Ferland about the possibility of her character being involved and wondered where her character was during that last scene?

There was a question about what their favorite set has been so far. The show is shot in Toronto but all three chose locations just outside the city. Alex Mallari said his was the steel factory they shot in in Hamilton for the first and second episodes. It was so cold in the factory they had to go outside to warm up, but there was already a camaraderie forming between the cast and the guys were always singing. Anthony Lemke went with the Dundas Conservation Area that they used for outside shots – also by Hamilton. Jodelle Ferland said it really motivates her to get up and go to work just knowing she’s going to work on a space ship! Her other favorite set was the Palace which was shot in Waterloo in an Industrial Park.

They were asked who would be least likely to have a happy ending. None of them liked that question, but Anthony Lemke had fun with it saying it had to be Alex Mallari because you can’t just off your mentor and not expect bad karma!

Apparently, none of the cast actually got to shoot with David Hewlitt. He shot his material on a different set and they all shot with a green screen.

Alex Mallari was asked if he’d like to see his character become Emperor or stay on the ship. He laughed and said if he was Emperor he’d have to have a spin off for his own show. He said he’d rather stay on Dark Matter.

Someone asked if androids were being picked on in the show. Anthony Lemke said he gets beaten up by everyone! Jodelle Ferland said she loves her scene with Zoe. Jodelle Ferland also said she loved the scene where she tricks the projection because it was 5 standing up for herself.

Alex Mallari was asked about his martial arts training. He said he’d trained competitively with Taikwon Do when he was younger but he’d had no previous training with swords or other weapons. Apparently, filming the high kick in the first episode, he pulled a groin muscle.

They were asked if they had fun shooting. Anthony Lemke said if you asked their first assistant director, he’d say that they are all pretty much jokesters.

They were asked what it was like working with Ruby Rose. Jodelle Ferland loved her, she kicked Anthony Lemke’s butt, and Alex Mallari was happy to have gotten a massage from her.

Jodelle Ferland pointed out that in most of the scenes with all the characters she and Alex Mallari usually don’t have any lines – or very few – so they end up having to just react to everyone else. They were asked who would kill Will Wheaton and they said they didn’t know. In fact, Anthony Lemke said it’s shocking just how little they know about their own characters. Jodelle Ferland said she prefers to learn things as her character does as it makes it easier to get the reaction right.

They were asked if they get recognized in public. Alex Mallari said he was just recognized at PetSmart where he was picking up a puppy-pack for his new puppy Bo – a French bulldog. Anthony Lemke said that as a Canadian actor, he most often gets, “Heeey…you dated…. Or…um… did we go to highschool….” He was hilarious doing the befuddled semi-recognition. Jodelle Ferland said that happens to her to, and she likes to play along, finding it funny until she finally takes pity on them and tells them who she is.

Anthony Lemke said his favorite episode was the one in which we meet 3’s significant other. He said that Joe was pitching one particular storyline to Paul Mullie about that particular episode. It’s a cools story, but no guarantee it will go forward – and he wouldn’t give any details! Anthony Lemke said that Joe has 5 seasons of the show mapped out in his head, but these things are fluid. The Darth Vader character was not part of the original story for example and the android has way more to do because she’s just so good.

They were asked to make up a story for their own character. Anthony Lemke said that 3 and 5 would be stuck on a planet together because he really likes the dynamic of their character’s relationship. Jodelle Ferland asked if there could be aliens, and Anthony Lemke said of course! With three heads! After being annoyed that the two collaborated and left him out, Alex Mallari said he’d like a really dark story. He’d have 4 go off to other shows and start killing the characters there – like Michonne on The Walking Dead.

Anthony Lemke addressed the initial criticism of the show that the characters were flat and just stock characters. Because of starting with their memories wiped, they had to appear that way, so he thanked the fans again for sticking with the show and allowing it to develop. The final question came from his daughter – both his daughters were there dressed as 5! She asked if they’d ever return to earth. Jodelle Ferland said she’d love to know what Earth was like in the universe of Dark Matter.

There was some silliness with signed script giveaways at the end of the panel. Naturally, with season two just announced, the cast – who is clearly kept in the dark at the best of times – couldn’t really comment on upcoming storylines. They definitely appreciate the fans and really seemed to enjoy the panel. Even though the panel started late, it did go for its allotted time.

Other than walking around that was about it for Day one. Stay tuned for Day Two adventures which include Graham McTavish of Outlander and The Hobbit, Christian Slater from Mr Robot, and Orlando Jones of Sleepy Hollow.

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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