Heroes & Villains Fan Fest brought together stars from Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Gotham this weekend in Edison, New Jersey for a fun event filled with cosplay, art, merchandise, photo and autograph opportunities, as well as panels with the stars of these hit shows. Hartley Sawyer, who plays Ralph Dibny aka Elongated Man on The Flash sat for a panel with co-star Candice Patton (Iris West-Allen) and the two talked about the upcoming Season 5 of The Flash as well as answered some great questions from the audience.
Being new to the cast in Season 4, the moderator asked Hartley how he prepared to play Ralph and how he envisioned the character: “I imagined Ralph as like Saul Goodman (Better Call Saul) if Jim Carrey raised him, with sprinkles of Chris Pratt in there.” Going further, when asked if he could have any guest star on the show, he responded with his pick for Ralph’s father. “I have this idea for Ralph’s father to come on the show and be played by Jim Carrey. I talked to Todd about it even last year, and I was like look I know it’s never gonna happen, but I’m gonna try, because… Right?”
The question Hartley gets asked the most is about Ralph’s wife in the comics, Sue (Dearborn) Dibny and when the audience might get to meet her: “The answer is we’ve been talking about that for a long time and we’ve been talking about what the best way is to do that. I’ll answer it this way, I don’t see how Ralph continues here without Sue coming in at a certain point and I think she will come in more or less sooner rather than later. He’s got to be ready for Sue before Sue shows up and that’s something that we had to work with, a lot of people ask where’s Sue, well we can’t just have him come in and have Sue come in right away. So he’s been on this journey to get ready for her, because she’s a total game changer for him.”
Being new to the convention scene as a guest, Hartley has already had some meaningful fan encounters which he shared: “I was doing one of these conventions and one person came up to me and said that they had, within the last 6 months before I met her, she had lost her mother, and she told me, and this was a very emotional exchange, she told me that the first time she had actually smiled and laughed since that had happened was when she was watching one of the episodes that I was in… and then somebody else told me that what they really liked about Ralph, they really struggled a lot with their blood family, their own immediate family and they liked that Ralph found family wherever it was, whether it was blood or not. Family is whatever you make it and maybe if things don’t work out with your own family that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a family.”
If you follow Hartley on social media, you know he’s very passionate about animals, particularly rescuing dogs; he volunteers his free time at shelters and adopted two pitbulls. When a fan asked what he would be if he wasn’t an actor, Hartley replied: “If I could get through school, I would be a veterinarian and if not that… I think I’d be a firefighter.” Like his co-star Candice Patton, Hartley cares very much about the community and finding a way to do more. This was evident in his favorite superhero growning up. “Yeah it’s kind of always been Batman. I just always think that I don’t know what it’s like to have super powers or anything like that, and people always say oh he’s rich that’s his super power and its like that’s not really the message of the character. The message of the character is that you know, if you apply yourself to something you can become anything and they did that really well with the Nolan movies. That’s what the whole idea of it is, that anyone can become more.”
Heroes & Villains Fan Fest is brought to you by Walker Stalker LLC; the fruit of The Walker Stalkers Podcast and its co-founder, James Frazier.
Walker Stalker/Heroes & Villains Fan Fest is not just a convention. It is a fan meet-up and an opportunity for each guest to come away feeling like they’ve had an amazing experience and have become part of a greater community.