NY Wintercon 2016 Day 1 – Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Panel
By Dr. Zaius
Sunday, December 4th, 2016 at 12:40 pm
NY WinterCon celebrates the best in sci-fi and fantasy and rolled this weekend into the Resorts World New York, located close to JFK Airport. The main attractions are the 35th anniversary reunion of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, as well as reunions for The Warriors and the pilots of Star Wars. More than anything though, this weekend is about the fans, who were out by the bunches today, meeting and greeting their heroes and dressed in some of the most elaborate cosplay I’ve ever seen.
The Road Warrior hit theaters back in 1981 and is widely regarded as the best of George Miller’s original Mad Max trilogy. It features Mel Gibson’s Max in a post apocalyptic wasteland dealing with a variety crazy characters including The Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence), The Feral Kid (Emil Minty), and Warrior Woman (Virginia Hey) and psychopathic villains like red-headed mohawk wearing biker Wez (Vernon G. Wells), and Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson). In a panel led by star cosplayer Tank (who cosplays as Humungus), the above mentioned stars of the film hit the main stage.
They were asked about what the film meant to them after 35 years, and the fans continued adoration of it. Vernon Wells started the responses by simply stating, ” I think you’re all insane.” He said it was an amazing experience being a part of the film, but that films like Road Warrior can lead to typecasting. He did compare himself to Wez, but only when driving on the freeway in LA. The other actors concurred that the fans are amazing, and went back and forth with stories. Kjell Nilsson mentioned being noticed while going through customs at the airport. Emil Minty, who was only 8 when the film was made, joked about being able to show his child his own action figure.
Bruce Spence and Virginia Hey discussed the importance of the stories director George Miller was telling. Back in the 70s and early 80s when the original trilogy was made, the chief concern for Max and the others were the gas shortages. In the 2015 remake, water was the scarce resource. So Miller was ahead of the game when it came to reminding humanity about the perils we create for ourselves. There’s definitely a nod to climate change in Miller’s work.
In the funniest bit of the panel, Tank asked about cosplayers (“freaks like me”) who come up to them at conventions, and Kjell Nilsson said he was flattered, and it means he obviously left a mark on the fans’ lives. Wells laughed that he’s never seen a full bodied Wez… and of course there was one in the back row! They then took questions from the adoring fans.
NY WinterCon continues today, December 4th at Resorts World Casino NYC from 10:30am to 5:00pm.