ROB MAKES HIS APPEARANCE 
PATRICIA TALLMAN ON XENA 
THE INTERNET 
ORDER OF EPISODES 
OUTSIDE SCRIPTS 
JACQUELINE KIM 
RESPONSE TO FAN QUESTIONS 
WHAT ABOUT CALLISTO? [91-93]
OTHER COMMENTS [94-99]
Photo courtesy of Amy J. Putnam
Rob Makes His Appearance
 Rob Tapert was next, and I was really looking forward to hearing what he had to say. I must admit I wasn't quite sure what to expect after I read some recent interviews with him. They had a quality to them that suggested he might be distant to the fans, or unconcerned. Nothing could have been further from the truth during his talk. He was very congenial, enthusiastic, and seemed quite pleased at the turnout. He took each question with sincere good nature, and was very receptive to fan opinion, even though he may very well not be swayed by it. Nevertheless, he was in quite a good mood, and his energy and enthusiasm were quite evident. I came in after he had been on stage for a minute or two. I missed a little at the beginning, but not much.
Patricia Tallman on XENA
 As I took my seat someone had just asked a question about getting Pat Tallman on XENA. Pat is a regular on BABYLON 5 and a known XENA fan. She was at the convention on Saturday, and others must have noticed her as well. Rob said that if she had a hiatus from B5 and there was a script that was suitable, it was a definite possibility.
 Merchandising, particularly HERC merchandising, was a concern of one fan. She wanted to know when HERCULES AND THE MAZE OF THE MINOTAUR (#HM05), one of the HERC films, was going to be released on video as the other films have, and she also lamented the lack of HERC merchandise at the convention. Rob said he did indeed want to put that episode out, but he has given up on merchandising himself and has others do that so he can concentrate on making the shows. He referred merchandising questions to Brad Carpenter.
 Rob confessed, in a very good-natured way, to having read Internet postings about the show and he even said he'd read some fan fiction, which pleased the audience. He said that there were very creative people among the fans, and added tongue-in-cheek "probably better than our writing staff is the truth" and then he said "Uh-oh!" and smiled in the direction of the V.I.P. area where some of the staff were watching. This got applause and laughs from the audience.
Order of Episodes
 Rob said that it's up to him and the writers as to the order episodes air. That can also depend on what episodes may or may not be completed on time, length of post-production, and so forth. He said that television executives don't want the show to be serialised, that is, they don't want you to have to see last week's episode to understand this week's. He said that they tend to do a lot of the character development in arcs, but comedies get sprinkled in between those heavy episodes to break things up a bit. He was happier with how things were working out this year than he was last year.
 In response to whether outside scripts are taken, it was again reiterated that it's largely an effort from existing staff writers and freelance scripts are very rarely accepted and must be pitched through agents and appropriate channels. Rob did confirm something I had heard elsewhere, that Paul Coyle was kind of "stolen" from XENA to write for HERCULES.
 A request for more Jacqueline Kim was greeted with enthusiastic cheers. Rob was pleased with Jacquie Kim's work, but there didn't seem to be anything on the horizon for her. There were no plans to bring her back.
Response to Fan Questions
 Esoteric questions about episodes were answered by Rob patiently and sincerely. He didn't look down on any fan in any way, no matter how minute the question or wide the tangent. He was really, really nice about this.
What About Callisto?
 He was very upbeat when talking about the recent Hudson Leick news. Many people coming to the convention had heard that this season was going to be the end of the road for Callisto, and this did not set well with many fans. Rob seemed to dissipate all their concern and fears, though, when he talked about how much he liked Hudson and working with her. He said that whenever he likes someone he works with he likes to look for projects with that person in the future. This includes Kevin Smith as well. He said "You don't like people you work with to go away." He lowered his voice and said "Maybe you find them another show." The crowd went wild.
 Rob said he couldn't take credit for Callisto. R. J. Stewart created the character and Rob knew they wanted to do Callisto. Hudson showed up at the right time and out of 35 or 40 actresses he knew she was the best. He said she was about 8th in the lineup and after he saw her he just wanted to leave.
 People kept asking how Callisto would meet her end, but Rob wasn't giving. Someone asked if she'd be redeemed and Rob smiled and responded "What good would a redeemed Callisto be?" He reiterated that we may see Hudson again, but implied we were going to see the end of Callisto, but even here he was somewhat evasive so as not to give anything away.
 Without giving anything away, Rob said that we were going to see characters like Iolaus and Gabrielle "in a whole host of situations" that were unexpected.
 In response to a comment about strong women characters on television, Rob was pleased that the time was right for XENA and it worked. He credits all the people involved in the show with making it work.
 As regards a question on THE DEBT (#52-#53), someone asked how Gabrielle knew where to go. Rob smiled and said "You think you've got me don't you? Well, I'm not gonna answer, but the answer is coming!" Again, the audience was very pleased.
 In a near-final question, someone wanted to know why there weren't more Asian-looking actors in episodes like THE DEBT. Despite his name, Grant McFarland is Asian, in fact he is Malaysian. But Rob also did say that New Zealand just isn't that large a community, acting-wise. "It's like trying to cast a series in Des Moines, Iowa," he commented. But he also said it's a happy home for them, and they don't want to leave.
 Rob confirmed there is a plan for XENA that extends about a year and a half in planning time.
 And with that, time was up and it was time for the next guest. Time passed very quickly when Rob Tapert spoke, and it was great to hear from him.