After a hugely successful Indiegogo campaign and months of anticipation from fans, the trailer for the upcoming web series Con Man was released at the show’s Comic Con panel on Thursday, hosted by Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick. Con Man is a sort of spoof on the popular, yet short live Sci-Fi show Firefly and the lives of its actors after its cancelation. The show revolves around Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk,) an actor who played a pilot on the canceled Sci-Fi show Spectrum alongside the ship’s captain Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion). Jack has gone on to be wildly successful, while Wray is still very much stuck in his past, begrudgingly attending conventions to celebrate his one and only successful project. Naturally, Wrey is more than a little upset about his lack of a colorful resume.
The release of the trailer brings in even more exciting news. While the Indiegogo campaign released many big names that would be on the project (Seth Green, Felicia Day, James Gunn and Gina Torres,) even more stars were announced during the panel and can be seen in the trailer. The cast list includes Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse), Joss Whedon, Sean Maher (Firefly, Eastsiders), Seth Green (Family Guy/Austin Powers), Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers), Jewel Staite, (Firefly), Summer Glau (Firefly, Terminator: SCC), and Sean Astin (Lord of The Rings.)
The web series will be released exclusively on Vimeo On Demand for $14.99 and is available for pre-order. It’s curious that fans will have to pay for the show, as web series are usually free. It is especially strange given the Whedonverse routes that this is coming out of. Joss Whedon’s web series Doctor Horrible Sing-A-Long Blog was first released for free before going to DVD as was Felicia Day’s The Guild which is still available to watch on YouTube. With the $3.2 million that was raised for the project, one would think Con Man could afford to go the same route. Regardless, the show still seems to be worth every penny.
Tudyk has sacrificed a lot for this project. He originally brought it to a television network but was unsuccessful, which led him to take to Indiegogo instead. He even loss his agents over the show because he decided to take time off during pilot season to dedicate himself to the production of the show. “My agents fired me,” Tudyk said. “I said, ‘I can do something in six months.’ They said, ‘Yeeeaaah, we’d be happy for you to do that with someone else.’ ” Tudyk took the risk anyway. This show means the world to him.
The most difficult part for Tudyk was getting people outside of his friend group involved. Many agents are wary of web content and wouldn’t even tell their client that they had been approached for the project. They didn’t want to take the risk, much like his own agents. “There is a sort of firewall,” Hardwick said about how the agent/talent dynamic sometimes works. Tudyk said that he is hoping that Con Man will show the film industry just how lucrative the web can be. Felicia Day believes it could “blow up the world the way Doctor Horrible did.” So far, this doesn’t seem like a far off claim.
Another cool thing that came out of the panel was a marriage proposal between leading visual effects artist Billy Brooks and makeup artist Barry Bishop after Tudyk invited them on stage. Bishop tearfully said yes. “We were born and raised in the deep south, and now we can go to our home states and get married,” Brookes said.
Things are definitely looking awesome for this group of creators. Con Man will release September 30. There is no word yet on Bishop and Brookes’ wedding date, but is certain to be equally exciting.