Long before Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries debuted on The CW, there was a little show about three sisters — with some very special powers of their own — called Charmed. After eight years of misadventures in the paranormal, Charmed left the airwaves but never seemed to exit the back of our minds.
Throughout those eight years, the talented Holly Marie Combs made Piper Halliwell not only a fan favorite, but also a best friend. Her hi-jinks alongside her sisters and the lovable Leo are still watchable to this day.
Although she has starred in Pretty Little Liars in more recent years, she never tires of talking to fans about her fond memories from the set of Charmed. And from the sounds of it, Combs enjoys hearing the way the show has affected the fans lives as well.
Before Holly Marie Combs even came near the stage at Wizard World Chicago, it is made very clear to the crowd that she is not a fan of the Charmed reboot. In fact, the moderator informed us that Combs has been heard referring to the series as “the new shoe.”
We all know what that means — pretty, but rather uncomfortable!
So needless to say, any references to “the new shoe” were strongly discouraged. While there were a few disappointed faces in the crowd, it didn’t seem to hamper most from lining up to ask the questions they have pined over since 2006.
As fans sent rapid-fire questions her way, Holly Marie Combs met them with a smile and a solid sense of humor.
The first question to pop up related to Combs being part of something as big and wonderful as Charmed.
Holly Marie Combs laughed, “It’s bizarre. I had one lovely young women this morning trying to remember how long she had been waiting to meet me. It took her a really long time — it’s not good!”
That question then stemmed into Combs’ feelings on the paranormal trend that many people feel Charmed created.
“There is something special about being part of a supernatural show,” she replied. “It’s kind of great because there is a different fandom for these kind of shows — that I kind of appreciate. Not that I don’t appreciate the teenage girls from Pretty Little Liars, but it’s different.”
Maybe it has something to do with the power of legends and mythology. It all just blends so well with the rich characters, that it creates something special and unlike the typical drama.
After a short while, the questions started to be less broad and more personal.
A male fan wanted to know how much influence Combs had over her character, especially in “the bangs department.” Focusing on the bangs, Combs admitted, “Yeah, I had no input on that. I actually tried to not have them anymore — and I got a phone call at home that said that I had to have them!”
I’m sure she isn’t the first actress to hate a haircut. The perils of being in showbiz!
Another audience member wondered if Holly Marie Combs ever found time to watch Charmed reruns in her spare time.
Combs shut that down with a chuckle. “I try not to. When I see them, they’re in the gym. I don’t want to look at my 24-year-old self in the gym.”
With Holly Marie Combs’ delightful acting, it is easy to wonder where Piper ends and Combs begins.
When someone asked her how much of her personality was actually in Piper, she replied, “None. I try not to get lazy and allow myself to invade the character, but towards the end of 8 years you blend more.”
It makes you wonder if Piper became more like Combs, or did Combs became more like Piper? The truth is probably a little of both.
When the subject of her future in acting is brought up, Combs admitted we won’t be seeing her anywhere too soon. She is currently happy at home raising her children.
“I’m hoping my children will turn out to be nice people,” she said before cracking a joke. “I’m not really sure about them yet.”
Toward the end of the panel, things gravitated towards Holly Marie Combs favorite parts of the show.
When the question was asked what her favorite “sister moment” was, Combs bashfully answered, “It is a terrible thing to say, but I think when we finally killed Cole.”
She went on to reminisce fondly of Julian McMahon, who played the character of Cole Turner. “We called him the showboat. He was trouble all the time.”
“We used to call him in about 10 to 15 minutes earlier than everybody else, because he had to say hello to everybody,” Combs added.
“He had to tell some stories, he had to tell some jokes, and then we could rehearse. Then he would tell some more jokes during rehearsal, and by that time I was like, listen, you’re here today, I’m here forever — it’s time to go to work now,” she snickered.
As fans came up and recited their favorite lines to her, Combs was questioned if there were any she particularly admired. While she didn’t come up with anything immediately, she did confess, “Obviously, we said, ‘the power of three’ way too many times.”
She may have had a point, but then again the phrase was such an integral part of the show. Could they have really put anything in its place? Go team three, really wouldn’t have cut it.
Eventually, time for the panel ran out, and Holly Marie Combs had to move on with her busy schedule for the weekend. While it seemed a bit short, I’m sure any amount of time wouldn’t have been long enough to satisfy all the fan’s curiosity. But I guess that is why Wizard World comes around every year — just in case you missed out the year before.
And just like that, Holly Marie Combs’ spell was lifted from the crowd and they were free to go about their day — but they were never the same again.
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