Murtz On The Scene: Fan Expo Canada 2017 Review








Fan Expo Canada took over Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre last weekend for its 24th iteration. The annual horror, comics and gaming extravaganza is celebrates the very best of pop culture (both past and present).

While Fan Expo Canada had some high-profile cancellations this year that included Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), James Marsters (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Victor Garber (The Flash) and Karen Gillian (Dr. Who), the event was able to recover.

Stars that were able to make the trip north of the border included:

– Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things)
– Stephen Amell & David Ramsey (Arrow)
– Zachary Levi (Chuck)
– Norman Reedus & Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
– Matt Smith & Catherine Tate (Dr. Who)
– Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter & The OA)
– Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
– Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
– Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break)

After spending two days at the four-day convention, here are some of my highlights:

1. Khary Payton’s Walking Dead Panel
Just like Jack Gleeson did at his Q & A session last year, Khary Payton stole the show at this year’s event.

The actor who plays King Ezekial on The Walking Dead had one of the last panels of the weekend and it was definitely one of the best. Instead of sitting on the stage with the moderator, the actor decided to stand directly in front of the audience to offer a more interactive element to the proceeding. While most of the panels were in huge auditoriums where most fans had to settle for watching things on big screens, Payton was able make the experience much more memorable for attendees. This led to better fan questions from the floor and easily the highlight of the weekend.

2. Celebrity Photo Opp Line Improvement
If you are a Fan Expo Canada veteran like I am, you know that this event lives and dies by the celebrities in attendance and the photo opps that are made available. The event did a much better job in expediting the process this year, numbering lines and even introducing a new holding area. This was the area where Fan Expo Canada needed the most improvement and it was able to.

3. Meeting Jessica Nigri
While I am quite sure I have attended more Fan Expos than anyone else, I have never really delved into the world of cosplay. It’s surprising because that is typically one of the hallmark features of the event. This year, I was determined to meet Jessica Nigri. For those unfamiliar, Nigri is regarded as the most famous cosplayer in the world and the person credited for being the person who turned the practice of dressing up at comic conventions into a mainstream phenomenon. In any event, on the last day of the con, I was able to finally stop by her booth. She boasted one of the biggest line-ups on all three days of the event and with her down-to-earth personality, it was easy to see why she is so popular with her fans.

4. Stranger Things Panel
Speaking of line-ups, Stranger Things stars Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin were the star attraction at this year’s Fan Expo. The kid trio were the most popular celebrities at the event (not including Norman Reedus) and hosted the busiest panel. The line-up to see them circled the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and while I have seen long lines at this event before, this was undoubtedly the longest line I have ever seen. As Finn, Gaten, and Caleb are still getting used to their celebrity status, they seemed to enjoy being at Fan Expo even more than the people who came to see them.

5. Interviewing Kristin Kreuk
One of my other highlights of the event this year was getting the chance to talk to Kristin Kreuk about her new graphic novel series Shuyan Saga. I was originally supposed to interview Kristin Kreuk in 2004 when she was part of a mini-series called Earthsea and back then, the scheduling didn’t work out.  As a result, I was happy to be able to speak with her this year. Stay tuned for that interview.

Here’s a photo gallery from the event.

See you in 2018!

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