Starship Smackdown: SDCC Fantasy Football For Spaceships


One of the most enjoyable panels year and year again at SDCC (San Diego Comic Con) is the ultimate experience in geek fantasy football.  Have you ever encountered a discussion, perhaps with your DnD companions, about what fantastical starship could best the other?  Sounds AWESOME, right?  Thats’ because it is.  We have SDCC 2015’s audio for you to enjoy!


Starship Smackdown started in 2002, and has grown into a panel event unlike anything else you can see at ComicCon.  The panelists are all expert “starshipologists”; writers, directors, designers, heck, they even have a REAL rocket scientist now.  The basic gist of the Smackdown is a bracketed elimination system; ships are chosen, their merits are argued in a versus scenario until only one ship remains.  (Just remember, animated starships aren’t eligible, BECAUSE THEY AREN’T REAL.)  After weeding the entrants down to the last remaining 4 ships, random captains are assigned to the vessels.  One year, it was Captain Quint (Jaws), Captain Cold (DC Comics), and another had the Italian Cruiseliner captain who ran his ship aground.  It USED to be that the last two ships would be assigned a computer system, too.  Like HAL-9000 or Data.


Panelists this year included moderator Mark Altman (Femme Fatales), Kay Reindl (Millennium), “NASA Mohawk Guy” Bobak Ferdowsi, Daren Dochterman (Se7en), Steven Melching (Star Wars Rebels, upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy cartoon), Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise, Axanar), Christian Gossett (“The Red Star”), Ashley E. Miller (Thor, X-Men: First Class), and the absent-but-not-forgotten Jose Molina (Firefly, Agent Carter).

You never know who will show up in the audience. Three years ago, it was Neil deGrasse Tyson himself expelling the wonders of Captain America in control of the original Star Trek Enterprise.  Two years ago, it was Emmy winning composer Bear McCreary storming the stage to talk about Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek scores.They’ve even branched out into other geeky elimination panels like ‘Alien Armageddon’, and just this year, ‘Bond, James Bond’.  Anyhow, be warned there will be utterances of curse words, you may end up yelling at your listening device in defence or agreement, and most definitely laughing.

Mary Anne Butler
Mary Anne Butler (Mab) is a writer/photographer from San Francisco, California. She is a lifelong geek (comics, movies, games), huge music nerd, occasionally cosplays at conventions, does Renaissance Faires, and in general lives the life of a True Believer. She may be short, but she makes up for it with a loud voice. #TinyButMighty

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