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“Shadowhunters” convention in Brussels: The Hunters of Shadow – A celebration of fandom

THOSbe was the place to be!

Fandom is forever. Even if a show has been cancelled, the characters and the story live on in the hearts and minds of people who love them. Never has that been more apparent than during the “The Hunters of Shadow” in Brussels, Belgium. It was the first convention after 3b had aired and the first time fans saw the cast together again.

The Hunters of Shadow Belgium (short: THOSbe) gave fans the amazing opportunity to immerse themselves into the epic world of Cassandra Claire’s Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments.  It was a time to get together with other fans and to geek out about the inclusive show, its characters and also the fantastic actors who worked so hard to bring these beloved characters to life. It was a time to talk plot, characters and what could have been in the numerous panels and Meet and Greets. And it was a time to share a private moment or two with the cast during photo ops and autograph sessions. Above all, it was a time to have fun, to laugh and to be passionate about what you love.

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It was my first con ever (like really – can you believe it?) and while I was nervous (How will everything work out? How am I supposed to do three pictures at the same time? What will the M&Gs be like? Am I too old for this sh*t?), it was one of the best experiences of my life so far!  With only about 400 attendants, THOSbe has been one of the smaller cons and had an intimate feel to it as well as an amazing lineup: Matthew Daddario, Dominic Sherwood, Katherine McNamara, Harry Shum Jr. and Jade Hassouné attended the complete weekend while Nicola Correia-Damude and David Castro joined the fun on Saturday and Anna Hopkins and Isaiah Mustafa on Sunday.

Before we delve right in, a huge shout-out to the whole team of Wevents Production for the perfect organization and for what must have been hundreds of hours of agonizing preparation. From panels to photoshoots, from M&Gs to autographs and other panel activities – everything went down smoothly. Even though things got a bit crazy sometimes (“Final call for Kat’s autographs – but some peeps who need it are still in line for Isaiah…” / “Help! I have breakfast with Harry and Jade – but I am supposed to be at Matt’s photo op at the same time!”), the girls and their energetic team always kept their cool and found a way to make it work. The whole crew worked really hard on making sure that all dreams and wishes were fulfilled and even kept fans hydrated during the gruesome heat wave that struck on Sunday, handing out water and candy.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to look behind the scenes!

The Wevents Production crew – Picture: @Silke_Mi

The opening panels

At the heart of every convention, there are the panels which offer a unique chance to see the guests interact with each other and also to ask all your burning questions. At best, they are questions that haven’t been answered a million times before and that give each cast member on stage the chance to speak their mind. And let me tell you – fans came up with some intriguing questions!

All the attendants of Saturday's thosbe
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Saturday’s panel

After an emotional opening video (the feels!!!), it was time to welcome the cast on stage and start the Q&A game. People wanted to know what the show has meant for the cast in terms of representation. Everyone agreed with Nicola that “the message was always one of inclusivity” and that Maryse’s character development (from despising Magnus for being a downworlder to accepting him as a family member) was so important. At some point later that weekend, Harry said that the series shows how “hurt people hurt people” – an interesting perspective worth thinking about!

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Unsurprisingly, the cast’s happiest moments on the show were the scenes they did together. Kat also mentioned that her favorite moments were the funny ones. Some cast members would be interested in working as a director (Dom, Matt, and David) in the future, but feel not ready yet. Jade added  that he could imagine being the producer of a smaller project because “there is something so interesting about creating your own work that just doesn’t compare to being part of a giant production.”

By far the funniest and most creative question was what type of shoe everybody would be if they could (yes, you read that one correctly). This led to a rather hilarious discussion if shoes have faces between Matt, Harry, and Dom – sadly the matter remained unsettled. However, we now know that Matt would be a sneaker, Kat would be a combat boot (badass!), Harry would be a sandal and Nicola would be fine to be the shoes she’s wearing. David only knew one thing for sure: He wouldn’t be the bricks that Raphael called shoes.

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Sunday’s panel

Right before the opening panel on Sunday, fans felt the need to express their ongoing passion for the #SaveShadowhunters campaign and their unwillingness to give up on the show. Throughout the weekend, whether it was during panels or M&Gs, the Shadowfam witnessed how deeply affected the cast still appears by the unexpected cancellation a year ago, how much they still live and breathe their characters and how emotionally invested they are in this show that still has so many stories to tell.  Fans have fought hard for over a year now – and it seems they aren’t done yet. With the help of convention host Daniel Cardoso (who did an absolutely awesome job, by the way), this picture was taken:

poster designed by @ShadowhuntersOE/organized [email protected] – Picture: Daniel Cardoso

Everyone was happy that Anna Hopkins and Isaiah Mustafa joined the con on Sunday. Once again, the panel included lots of great questions. Regarding favorite stunts, Anna joked that Lilith, unfortunately, didn’t have any (“I just slit people’s throats”) whereas Kat gave kudos to the badass Shadowhunters stunt team. Concerning crossovers, Kat liked the idea of a Shadowhunters/Supernatural one (imagine our favorite Shadowhunters teaming up with the Winchesters – would be pretty cool!) while Isaiah and Harry wanted to see a Shadowhunters/The Walking Dead crossover. This brought up another interesting question: Can zombies see the New York Institute? Food for thought!

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Sunday’s opening panel also explored the reasons why the cast decided to audition for Shadowhunters. Most of them mentioned pragmatic reasons (such as having to pay for water and electricity or having been unemployed), but also interest in supernatural shows in general (Isaiah). Jade initially thought Shadowhunters was a cop show. Matt added that he always wanted to play a cop and thought of Alec as a supernatural kind of cop. The cast also remembered the audition process quite vividly and Jade revealed that originally, casting directors were looking for “a tall, blonde blue-eyed guy” as Meliorn.

Asked what their Shadowhunters characters could learn from other characters they played, Matt said Alec could probably learn some charm. While Harry couldn’t come up with a trait that Magnus could learn from Mike Chang (Glee), he jested that Mike could definitely learn one thing from Magnus: “He’d learn to talk.”

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As we all know, Shadowhunters is a rather tame show when it comes to language. Consequently, there was one burning question that needed to be answered: “If your character could drop the f-word only once on the entire show, when would it happen?” Harry jumped right in and got into Magnus mode: “The law is the f****** law!” Yes Harry, agreed! Matt said that Alec feels like dropping the word every single time someone comes into Alec’s office (“What the f*** did you do now?”) and Kat thinks it would be the moment when Jace first brought Clary into the Institute. Dom considers the moment when Valentine stabbed Jace in the heart as the appropriate time to use the f-word while Jade wished that the show would have been less censored language-wise. All in all, the opening panels were fun and the cast really in a chatty mood.

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Up close & personal: Behind the scenes of Dominic’s photo ops

We got the opportunity to watch one of Dominic’s photo ops up close and personal. Just like his fellow cast members, Dom was open to very much every pose that fans suggested and it was heartwarming to see how much time he took with everyone to ensure fans took home their perfect picture. This is what genuine commitment looks like:

@Silke_Mi
@Silke_Mi
@Silke_Mi
@Silke_Mi
@Silke_Mi

On our way out, we ran into Jade who had just finished his photo session for the day, but was happy to pose for us anyway:

@Silke_Mi

A big surprise on Saturday: An exclusive Jade and David concert

Fans were in for a treat when Jade and David decided to do a short concert – live and unplugged – for them. Thank goodness for Dom’s guitar! Jade presented his song #InstaStory (find out more about it here) whereas David had fun with “Storm” by Lifehouse. It was a unique experience for everyone – and much appreciated.

@r0binmon

Some Malec goodness from Matt and Harry’s panels and M&Gs

  • In 5 – 10 years, Malec will have quit their jobs (Matt), have adopted twenty children, and live on the Amalfi Coast (Harry).
  • Concerning immortal! Malec, Matt said he loved the “immortal concept of their love”, but was not a huge fan of immortality.
  • While Matt doesn’t like the idea of dark! Magnus over an extended period of time (season 4 apparently would have been twenty episodes of just that), he perked up at the idea of dark! Malec.
  • Matt thinks Alec would totally use the knowledge of Dot almost kissing Magnus to blackmail Magnus into doing things he doesn’t want to do: Magnus: “So, who’s taking the kids to soccer practice today? Alec: “Oh, remember that time…”
  • Asked what Matt would do if he had creative freedom, he painted an urban fantasy picture of Shadowhunters in the year 2030 which sounded like a cool (and a bit disturbing) crossover with Terminator.
  • Matt raving about the Clave and its issues: A mood
@Silke_Mi

Random facts from other panels

  • Nicola enjoyed the show’s redemption arcs, particularly the one featuring Maryse and Magnus.
  • In the AU, Clary would probably still be doing art and also doing Simon’s band artwork (Kat).
  • Kat brought up the idea of a musical episode of Shadowhunters – where do we sign up for this?
  • Clace’s daughter might nor might not have the honor of being called “Alexis” or “Alexandra” after Alec.
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Up close & personal II: Behind the scenes of the group photo op with the cast

Having a pic with (almost) the entire cast of Shadowhunters? That’s epic and priceless – and that’s why so many fans decided to go for it. The only trouble was choosing what kind of picture you wanted: Nice, goofy or badass? Whatever you wanted, the Shadowhunters cast got you covered! A shoutout to the best cast a fandom could wish for.

Badass:

@Silke_Mi
@Silke_Mi

Goofy:

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@Silke_Mi

Nice:

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@Silke_Mi
@Silke_Mi

The cast’s upcoming projects

Here’s what we learned regarding the cast’s upcoming projects. Congratulations, everybody! We can’t wait to check out your work.

  • Matt just finished editing a comedy about “dads who dance” that he hopes is going to be released soon.
  • Dom said he couldn’t talk about his upcoming project yet, but this week it was revealed that he is going to join the cast of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful: City of Angels where he plays Kurt, chauffeur, and bodyguard of Richard Goss.
  •  Harry Shum Jr. has two upcoming movies: Escape plan and Burn– but as a new father he really couldn’t help pointing out that “the coolest job ever has been being a dad.”
  • Anna mentioned Bad Blood where she stars as power-hungry Teresa Langana.
  • Nicola joins the cast of Save Me – The Series.
@Silke_Mi

The closing ceremony: All goods things come to an end

As always when you’re having fun, time passes much too quickly and before we knew it, the closing ceremony was upon us. Let me tell you, it was an emotional rollercoaster ride, equally beautiful, touching and sad. As the cast entered the panel room for the final time, fans surprised them with a sea of red heart-shaped balloons while singing “This is the Hunt”. Several cast members immediately teared up!

“You’re all so freaking beautiful and kind”, Anna Hopkins told the full panel room, while Jade emphasized that the connection between the cast and the fans is forever. He also encouraged fans to spread love and kindness. Harry also referred to the fandom as “beautiful and kind” and mentioned that the connection fans created allowed them to see that “humanity exists”. Daniel Cardoso agreed, adding that in all of his many years of experience as a convention host, he had never experienced a fandom as kind and giving as the Shadowfam.

@Silke_Mi

For Kat, the fandom’s openness is unique and she encouraged fans to spread joy and positivity in the world. Matt pointed out that it was the fandom’s enthusiasm that made the show successful and he hoped that people made friends over the weekend and that everyone enjoyed themselves (Oh, don’t worry, Matt. We did!). Isaiah also appreciates the fans, but also implored them to step up their game a bit (let’s get those TCA awards, everybody, and continue to be loud in order to keep the show in the spotlight).

Finally, it was Dom who put it best and made everyone tear up when he talked about the show’s legacy which he said is (going to be) “really f****** beautiful”. He added that the fans took the show, expanded it over the world and transformed it into a legacy.

It was a weekend filled with awesome experiences and joyful memories that all the attendants will remember for years to come. Don’t be sad it’s over – be glad it happened. And just remember: Impossible means try again.

@r0binmon

Featured Image Source: @r0binmon

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Silke Milpauer

Fictional worlds and words have always been my best friends. A college teacher and professional writer in real life, I use writing fandom stuff as my personal form of escapism. Love all things Sherlock (BBC), Shadowhunters, Star Trek and Harry Potter. Enjoy Lucifer, A Discovery of Witches, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CAOS, True Blood and The Originals. Avid reader, traveler, introvert, fangirl. Hate Mondays and drama, love coffee and laughter.

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