Barrowman Crisis in the DCU
In what would literally become a death-defying panel at Kansas City’s Planet Comicon on Saturday, April 29th (see below), John Barrowman dropped a bombshell of his own on the fans in attendance. Although vague about the details, Barrowman revealed that:
“I will not be a part of the DC Universe next season.”
After signing a contract to be a regular player across CW’s DC programs last year as Dark Archer Malcolm Merlyn, Barrowman spent most of his time on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow as part of the Legion of Doom. However, he also guest-starred in Duet, a musical episode of The Flash that featured a crossover with Supergirl. Merlyn is also reported to be a part of the Arrow season finale.
No stranger to protecting important spoilers after his years on Doctor Who and Torchwood, Barrowman refused to indicate the method in which the Dark Archer will meet his fate. He chose instead to be leading the audience by mentioning the strict rule imposed on those DC characters who were trapped in the Supergirl/Flash musical crossover fantasy world by the Music Meister (Darren Criss) stating that if you died in the illusion, you also died in the real world.
Not long after he dropped that bombshell, the entire pipe and drape stage backdrop began to collapse, toppling like dominos from one side of the stage to the other, causing the Actor/Author to have to run across the stage to prevent getting trapped under the debris. Always quick on his feet, Barrowman shouted:
“I brought the F****** house DOWN!”
However, the stage malfunction trapped him in his TARDIS dress and leggings (much to the dismay of the crowd) as the bag of his “regular clothes” was lost among the fallen backdrop.
A Planet Comicon representative reported to KC 41 Action News that one person sustained a hand injury while trying to stop the backdrop from falling. In a statement to 41 Action News, the spokesman reported:
“Planet Comicon Kansas City is in touch with the individual who was medically transported during our afternoon panel. The safety of our guests is our number one priority and we are working with the facility to ensure that all equipment is properly and safely secured. We appreciate our guests’ willingness to showcase their human super powers on a daily basis and spring into action to help their fellow Planet Comicon attendee.”
While volunteers ran to try to clear the stage, John stepped into full Captain Jack Harkness mode, ordering them to stand down to prevent any other injuries, commenting that it was above their pay grade as volunteers and that his first priority was to make sure that no one else got hurt. He then used the destroyed set as a wig.
Fully embracing the cosplay spirit of these Comic Book and Media Conventions, John took to the stage wearing an extremely tight pair of TARDIS stretch leggings and a very small TARDIS patterned dress that he purchased earlier in the day at a Doctor Who memorabilia booth on the convention floor. He was very amused by the fact that the vendor didn’t recognize him, allowing the fans gathered behind him while he shopped the joy of letting the vendor know exactly what he had just missed out on. In true form, he repeatedly “flashed” the folks in the front rows and also really got a kick out of making the interpreter for the hearing impaired use creative sign language. While relaying his tale about his 50th Birthday party when his Arrow co-star Stephen Amell carried out the Birthday cake, dressed only in a Speedo. The words “hung” and “donkey” were a constant callback during the panel, causing the deaf interpreter to become the center of attention multiple times.
During the Q and A portion of the panel, a red Dalek rolled up to the microphone to ask a question causing Barrowman to again channel Captain Jack, showing the Dalek his middle finger – a gesture the Dalek then returned, quickly and sharply raising its plunger, much to John’s delight. Barrowman then assumed Captain Jack’s death pose from the Doctor Who Series One finale, The Parting of the Ways and allowed the Dalek to “exterminate” him on stage, exclaiming:
“How awesome in the world that we live in, that we can have a conversation with a Dalek!”
Other highlights included him breaking into an impromptu performance of Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid, and a story about how fellow Scotsman David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) and Barrowman decided to order in chips (the British equivalent of french fries) to snack on during a scene in the Doctor Who Series Three finale, The Last of the Time Lords. Although their hunger was sated during the first few takes of the scene, they both quickly grew tired of eating chips on camera as they then had to spend the next three hours forcing them down as coverage shots were filmed from different angles.
Always wanting to be a television actor when he was young, he spoke about being grateful to Showrunner for the 2005 Doctor Who relaunches, Russell T. Davis for giving him the opportunity to be an openly gay actor portraying a sexually open heroic figure in a family show. He said the role has allowed him to be a comfort to small children in different types of distress because they trust him and feel safe confiding in Captain Jack, plus many fans have told him that the character gave them the strength to live their lives as their own true selves, coming out to family and friends.
“I didn’t think I would become not only a hero on Television to people, but a hero to them in their real lives. So, I’m living my dream and this is awesome for me. So every character that I play that you guys accept and watch and thrive on and love the things that I do, everyday is my favorite day, for that. And seriously, I have to say thank you to all of you because you make my life awesome. You really, really do.”
The inevitable question was asked regarding a return to Doctor Who, to which he quickly retorted with:
“Call the BBC!”
He’s very much open for a return and encouraged fans to tweet and contact the BBC through other channels to let them know that fans want Captain Jack back.
He also expressed a deep desire to appear on Supernatural, in a very special role:
“I would like to be the human version of the Impala.”
When asked by a fan what projects he had in the pipeline either by himself or with his Sister and writing partner Carole Barrowman (Torchwood books and comics, the Hollow Earth novel series) he responded:
“I’m doing a lot of traveling to the UK, I’m doing a movie over in the UK…my Sister and I have our next sequence of our book series coming out, and we’re looking at doing another series of the Torchwood comics, the compilation version of the Torchwood comics is coming out in a one-off big, thick edition, and I’m around doing things and looking for another job.
I just dropped a bomb here.
You guys are like, ‘Oh my God’!
Dont worry, I’ll be fine.”
SIDE NOTE: A few hours later after the set had been reconstructed, the next panel held was with Catherine Tate, who portrayed the Tenth Doctor’s companion Donna Noble in Series Four of Doctor Who. As she entered the stage, she walked softly on tiptoe to her seat as to not cause undue vibrations on the stage, proclaiming:
“I have a feeling that John Barrowman made it happen so that I couldn’t get on it (the stage). He can just never, ever stand to be one-upped. So, he broke the stage. Someone was kind of walking around (earlier) dressed as Deadpool and there was a question as to if it was actually John, and I said ‘John would never wear something that would cover his face”. That’s how we know it wasn’t John.”
Catherine and John worked together as Donna Noble and Captain Jack in the Doctor Who Series Four finale, The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End.
Convention Photos by Crystal Winterfeld
Feature Image by Jessica McCune