Torchwood: The Ianto Jones Experience

Gareth David-Lloyd and James Marsters were cutting up right from the start of Friday’s panel “Torchwood: The Captain Jack Experience.” Over the next hour, the two delighted the audience and interviewer Rob Levy with their stories of on-set camaraderie, and the fans returned the favor with a gorgeous tribute video to one Ianto Jones.

“Captain Jack?” asked David-Lloyd as he sat down. “Where the [expletive deleted] is he?” In fact, the panel was more focused on David-Lloyd’s character Ianto Jones, who (spoiler alert!) meets a tragic end in the recently aired Torchwood: Children of Earth. Before the questions began, panel attendees watched a several-minute tribute put together by Dragon*Con staff and fans. The video celebrated some of Ianto’s best moments in the show as a friend, fighter, lover, and consummate goof.

While nobody seemed happy to bid goodbye to the Torchwood Institute’s wisecracking butler-turned-investigator – “It’s all right! It’s only a TV show!” David-Lloyd told a toddler who burst into tears – the actor declared himself satisfied with the way Ianto’s story ended. He revealed that Ianto’s past was very similar to his own, and that the backstory in Children of Earth was quite close to what he had imagined for the character.

The original death scene, however, did not sit well with David-Lloyd; “I thought it should be as unremarkable, as pointless as possible,” he said, to evoke the dark realism that makes the fantasy of Torchwood more believable. Fortunately, Russell T. Davies rewrote Ianto’s swan song during shooting, and the night it aired, he sent David-Lloyd a message that he confessed “brought a tear to [his] eye.”

Marsters cut the sadness with anecdotes on the antics of John Barrowman, who plays Ianto’s central love interest, Captain Jack. “[Barrowman] will not allow a set to get too serious or too sleepy,” Marsters said. When actors started to droop, “John’s solution was to drop trou! We did a whole take with his pants down.” The Buffy veteran also confessed that he was intimidated about doing a kissing scene with Barrowman: “I didn’t have a whole lot of homophobia … but kissing someone who’s bigger than you is different from kissing people who are smaller than you.” To this David-Lloyd deftly replied, “He’s not that much bigger than you.”

Of course, one Ianto devotee asked the million-pound question: Is there a chance he might return? “For some reason I feel like I should do this in my Shatner voice,” David-Lloyd told her, and drawled: “There’s always a chance.”

Author of the article

Nivair H. Gabriel has whiled away her twenty-four years of life on Earth as a writer, feminist, engineer, photographer, and fangirl. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and has contributed to, Fantasy Magazine, Pittsburgh Magazine, MIT's The Tech, and the Hugo Award-winning Weird Tales. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where she works as a technical writer by day and sometimes sleeps by night. She believes that the existence of Jon Stewart is proof of God's love for humankind. This is her fourth Dragon*Con.

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