Find a cure. Stop the virus. Blow sh*t up. Adam Baldwin talked TNT’s post-apocalyptic drama The Last Ship with Dragon Con fans on Saturday morning in the Hyatt Regency VI-VII.
Season three has proven to be an action-packed ride on The Last Ship, and when asked about the increase in action, explosions, and naval battles, Baldwin replied that, once the virus was seemingly under control, it’s an action and adventure series. The show has the cooperation of the Navy, and the Navy “allowed us to blow sh*t up. It’s great.” Another naval perk, the cast is invited to ride aboard their ships, but it isn’t all explosions. The show’s main goal with the Navy is to portray them in as accurate a light as possible. Baldwin went on to respectfully say “we are just very blessed to have the folks in the military do what they do so that we can do what we do and have fun and goof off and go to Dragon Con.”
Keeping with the accuracy, Baldwin was asked what he did to prepare to play an executive officer (XO) and then captain. Early on, the cast was given numerous reading materials, and as a visual learner, he always takes the opportunity to watch and marvel at what the young servicemen and women do. Before filming began, the crew was onboard the USS Halsey while they did maneuvers, and Baldwin payed special attention to the way the commander, the second in command, and bridge staff were performing their tasks at break-neck speeds and how efficient the crew were. The one thing that stands out most to him about the leadership in the Navy, specifically the captain, is that it’s all about being uplifting and supportive. The XO is more of the disciplinarian, which Slattery was, but Slattery has evolved to be more of the inspiring role. Baldwin exclaimed that Slattery is still a work in progress.
One of the most poignant moments of the panel was when one fan who served as an XO in an airborne battalion stepped up to ask a question. Baldwin quickly jumped in, thanked him for his service, and asked, “As a real XO, can you give me what your main throughline was in terms of relationship with A) your captain and B) the crew?”
To which the fan replied, “I would tell company commanders it’s my job to bring the boss, the old man, the bad news. Your job is to make sure you get things done. And that’s how I approached it.”
“And when they didn’t get things done properly?” Baldwin asked.
“They got their a** kicked.”
No Adam Baldwin panel would be complete without Firefly questions and “too soon” comments. Many of Baldwin’s questions involved comparing his The Last Ship experiences with his time on Firefly. One fan asked if playing Jayne helped him to fire that missile. Baldwin quickly answered with “I don’t know you that well … yeah, no, no” before going on to explain the differences between Jayne and Slattery. “Jayne was more reactionary. Slattery is more of a proactive, hands-on guy.” While Baldwin does play Slattery with a sniper-funny sense of humor, the show has to walk a fine line since the stakes are so high and, in the series, billions of people died from the virus.
Firefly has too many memorable scenes to count, but Baldwin’s favorite scene to shoot was in the beginning of Serenity during the mule chase scene. He’s suspended by cables floating behind the crane-lifted mule, crane arms were swinging around by their heads, and it was hot and dusty. “Sweaty and gross. I just loved it.” The second was watching the joy on Joss Whedon’s face when the camera started rolling to shoot the first scheduled scene in Serenity and the series was resurrected.
As far as how much more difficult it is to navigate the USS Nathan James over the Serenity, Baldwin says “The real one. I think. The real one is more difficult. It requires a much bigger crew. Just Wash and Kaylee can keep that thing flying. How complicated can it be, really?”
The Last Ship will be back for a fourth season. As for Slattery, “I know that I’m not dead … At least I don’t think so. They wouldn’t have brought me here…”