Inside Pulse 12

Murtz On The Scene: Fan Expo Canada 2016 Review

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Fan Expo Canada took over Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre this past weekend for its 22nd iteration. The annual horror, comics and gaming extravaganza is celebrates the very best of pop culture (both past and present).

Undoubtedly one of the city’s biggest conventions of the years, this year’s event almost served as a backdrop for certain ‘ComicCon North’ stalwarts to say goodbye. Legendary Marvel comic book writer, publisher and editor, Stan Lee, noted that this would be his final Canadian appearance. It was the same case for Adam West and Burt Ward, the original Batman and Robin actors from the 1960s television series who also used the opportunity to bid adieu to their Canadian fans.
After spending three days at the four-day convention, here are some of my highlights:

1. Jack Gleeson’s Game of Thrones Q & A Panel
Since Fan Expo Canada offers so much to do, it’s usually a struggle to decide on what the keynote moment of the event is, but this wasn’t the case this year.

Best known to fans as ‘King Joffrey’ from Game of Thrones, Irish actor Jack Gleeson took to the stage to answer questions from fans in a panel that was moderated by Space host Morgan Hoffman.

If there was any confusion about the similarities between Gleeson and the loathed character that he portrayed on the hit HBO series, this panel helped to remove it.

It started with the actor sporting his natural brunette hair (instead of the infamous blonde locks from the show). In addition, Gleeson was affable, brilliant and shockingly hilarious offering too many hysterical one-liners to list.

When a fan asked him to do an impression of his ‘Joffrey voice,’ he had the packed audience in stitches as he joked about Joffrey not agreeing to have anyone in the audience take photos of him without his permission.

My favourite part of the panel was when someone asked him if he would have liked to play any other characters on the show. Gleeson took the opportunity to rail on Ned Stark, joking that the fan-favourite character was bland and that ‘he loved his family… so what?’

If you were in attendance at Fan Expo Canada 2016 and did not see this panel, you really missed out.

2. The Walking Dead Panel
The Walking Dead panel is always the most popular event at the Expo and this year was no different. Featuring Scott Wilson (Herschel), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham), and Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) the event was moved into the John Bassett Theatre this time around and the extra space was easily the most significant improvement at this year’s event. The stage set-up allowed fans to get up close and personal with the stars and this intimate atmosphere was a great idea. While the cast did not reveal any details about which lead character will exit the series in the upcoming season premiere, they did share many behind-the-scenes stories and this was certainly a highlight.

3. Saying Goodbye To Stan Lee
What else is there to say? Stan Lee is a pioneer in the comic industry and the man responsible for basically every big-budget comic movie and television series. Lee’s influence cannot be understated and he used this past weekend to say farewell to his Canadian fans. Lee participated in autograph sessions and photo opps throughout the weekend and will undoubtedly be missed by both fans and faithful Expo attendees alike.

4. Luke Skywalker Touches Down In Toronto
Because who doesn’t want to meet Luke Skywalker? The hype behind Mark Hamill’s Toronto appearance was palpable over the course of the weekend and most of the cosplayers that I saw walking around the convention floors had at least some sort of Star Wars insignia on their outfits. As for the man himself, Hamill seemed quite gracious about his appearance and it was an unbelievable score for the organizers to secure his participation.

5. Daredevil Panel
The popularity of Netflix’s Daredevil was never more apparent than at the Sunday Q & A session with the show’s stars, Charlie Cox and Elden Henson. The line to hear from the men behind Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson circled the floor of the Convention Centre and late-comers were even ushered outside to continue the line. While everyone managed to secure a spot, it was a great showing for stars making their first Fan Expo Canada appearance.

Other highlights of the event included:

– A screening of Travelers, a new Showcase and Netflix production that is slated to premiere next month. It stars Eric McCormack from Will & Grace

– Cosplayers being spotted just about everywhere at the event and, rather than sticking out like a sore thumb (as is usually the case at Fan Expo), being in costume actually made you feel right at home at the Expo and amongst peers.

That said, it was a great time and certainly lived up to the barometer that previous Expos have set.

Don’t forget that my exclusive interviews with Mat Fraser, Erika Ervin and Naomi Grossman from American Horror Story: Freakshow are now available as is my interview with Scott Walker from The Walking Dead.

Stay tuned for my interview with Eric McCormack from Travelers which will be posted next month.

Here’s a photo gallery from the event.

See you in 2017!

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