While Fan Expo looked a little different this year, fans still were able to enjoy the three day event safely amidst our current climate. The three-day event took place this weekend at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, bringing together fans of Comics, Sci-Fi, Horror, Anime, and Gaming together under one roof with a chance for them to meet some of their idols. The event was modified to a Limited Edition version this year, working around safety guidelines and restrictions/caps. It normally draws hundreds of thousands of people every year when at full capacity.
While there were several guest cancellations this year due to uncertainty and changes in scheduling, fans still were able to feast on an exciting array of programming and stars including the likes of Kit Young, GeorgeTakei, Robert Patrick, Melanie Scrofano, Robbie Amell, Stephen Amell, James Marsters, Italia Ricci,Trailer Park Boys (including a fun #Swearnet backdrop seen above for fans to pose at),Christopher Eccleston… and of course the legend himself William Shatner, fresh off his successful mission to space, giving him the distinction of being the oldest person ever to visit it.
George Kozera from Team Mr. Will and I were able to check-out some of the thrills and sit-on (literally on the floor) on some of the exciting Q&As with the talent. George even got to ask Shatner a question!
Some highlights and quotes:
This former Supergirl star, hailing from Richmond Hill, Ontario is connected to a few superheroes, being married to Robbie Amell (The Flash) who is a cousin of Stephen Amell (Arrow) – the latter married to Cassandra Jean, also who has starred in Arrow. When asked about her family being like a mini Comic-Con, she says “Well, none of us got the keep the costumes. Maybe Stephen, I don’t know. But yeah, it’s been fun. Supergirl shoots in Vancouver, but when I shot season one, it was on the Warner Bros. lot. But I had a lot of fun and didn’t think they would kill me. I thought ‘I’m coming back for sure!'”. Ricci also filmed Designated Survivor here in Toronto and when asked about McDonald’s vs. Pizza, she says she takes her son almost daily to McDonald’s right now, although she admittedly still hasn’t found amazing Pizza in the City just yet. Her hunt continues.
The most fascinating tidbit revealed during the Q&A session with Marsters (Spike on TV’s BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) was that the Producers of the Show were unhappy with the success of the Angel character and that the audience attention was drawn-away from Buffy. Originally hired for a five to ten episode storyline (it stretched to 97 episodes), Marsters said ” I would have fired myself to keep the integrity of Buffy intact.”.
At 90 years young, the iconic, natural-born raconteur William Shatner greeted the crowd with “Hello, fellow Canadians” where he quickly added, “I haven’t been able to say that in a long time” and entertained the rapt and adoring crowd with stories of his childhood growing up in Montreal, living in Toronto on Sherbourne Street as a struggling Actor trying to find work and living on his one inexpensive meal at the Sherbourne Hotel. When I asked him about his experience working in JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG he replied, in part, “Imagine being a youngActor, sitting on a bench and watching icons like Judy Garland and Spencer Tracy perform”. He promoted his new album “Bill“, then spoke at length of his recent space flight on Jeff Bezos‘s rocket and likened the darkness he saw to death itself. There was only a very brief mention of STAR TREK (while never mentioning the title), none of BOSTON LEGAL (for which he won his only Emmy,) but it didn’t matter; Shatner owned the room!
Watching Christopher Eccleston at his Q&A was revelatory. He was self-effacing (“I am the worst Marvel villain ever” and “My dad said to me:you finally get a job in Hollywood and you play the invisible man?”), brutal honest (he spoke of his one season as DOCTOR WHO as contentious and hated the direction that the BBC wanted to Series to proceed. However, he also mentioned two episodes that contained some of his best work ever due to the exceptional Script and, in hindsight, would have liked to have done one more year to correct the acting mistakes he felt he made). Highly complimentary of other Actor’s work (“I don’t envy the next Actor who steps into the shoes of James Bond after what Daniel Craig has done in the past 15 years” but didn’t think he’ll ever get a chance to play the character “not with these ears!”) and comparing Toronto lovingly with his hometown of Manchester.
STEPHEN & ROBBIE AMELL
These Toronto born first cousins admitted they were not very close growing up (Stephen: “I was 13 years old. He was 6. He had little in common”), but eventually bonded when they discovered their mutual love of acting. Whereas Stephen was saddened when ARROW ended its TV run, he was excited about exploring new opportunities and then the pandemic hit and “nothing!!!” though he is thrilled with his new HBO show HEELS. Robbie was thrilled to report that the second season of CODE 8: PART ll is back in production and is currently being filmed in Toronto. The chemistry between the Amell boys was infectious and giddy to watch!
Now in its 23rd year, FAN EXPO returned once again to Toronto this weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre celebrating fandom and bringing fans close to their idols of past and future. The extravaganza continues to pull-in upwards of 129,000 people from around the world with panels, exhibits, signings and photo ops galore. There’s even Speed-Dating for the geek-minded.
Cosplayers were out in full festive force with several paying tribute to the likes of The Joker, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman and Doctor Who.
A major highlight this year was the reunion of the original ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW Cast including a seldom-seen Tim Curry, who was available for photo ops and also pre-signed memorabilia. His Castmates Meat Loaf, Nell Campbell, Barry Bostwick and Patricia Quinn also made their way to Fan Expo.
A hot ticket item this weekend, selling-out, was photo ops for the Cast of STRANGER THINGS including Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo. The former also appeared with his fellow Castmates from another production in which he stars, hotly-anticipated Stephen King Remake IT, out next week.
This year, Fan Expo‘s Guest List was heavy on talent filming in the City including Cast members from STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, which sees a premiere on CBS this September including Sonequa Martin-Green, Anthony Rapp and Doug Jones.
Meanwhile, returning favourites Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), John Barrowman (Arrow), Nathan Fillion (Castle), Stephen Amell (Arrow), Anthony Daniels (Star Wars) and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) also proved popular.
THOR: RAGNAROK EXHIBIT
Among the several dazzling displays and exhibits at Fan Expo Canada this year was an exhibit for eagerly-awaited THOR: RAGNAROK from Marvel, giving fans get an exclusive first look at the costumes and pieces seen in the Movie.
In this third Thor Movie, our hero faces his toughest villain yet, Hela played by Cate Blanchett, and her costume makes the villain even more daunting. A black and green costume with a 3D printed headpiece that resembles something similar to a creature from nightmares it truly is a sight to behold. As well the headpiece was never actually worn in the film but rather carried afterwards in very careful placement to fit the Film.
Next is Karl Urban’s Skurge and without giving away too much information about the character he seems to be a forced to be reckoned with as well. A double-sided axe that is truly remarkable accompanies his costume. As well his costume is made of actual steel and fabric, making it one of the more impressive costumes.
Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) costume takes its final form in this third Film. There are little tidbits of goodies in the costume as well, if we remember the first Avengers Film, the necklace Loki wears has a small piece in his costume this time around as an ode to that other appearance.
Next we have hotly-anticipated Jeff Goldblum’s The Grandmaster whose fabric costume is so much more impressive in person that anyone could have ever imagined. The layers of fabric and costume it self really stands out and boasts the character.
Two really cool props from Ragnarok are from the Hulk Vs Thor scenes where we get a first up close look at Hulk’s sword and hammer that he uses in the fight. These props are massive and certainly a dream come true for fans to be able to see these props up close and personal.
One of the most impressive pieces at Fan Expo’s exhibit this year was Thor’s costume itself, as it is a mish-mash of different pieces. While he is away from Asgard and fighting, he acquires different pieces of his costume and writing on his costume that shows his journey. However the most interesting piece for fans would be Thor’s helmet, which many fans have dreamed of seeing since the first Movie came out.
Photos from the THOR: RAGNAROK Exhibit. Hover cursor left and right below to navigate.
Our Justin Waldman and Siobhán Rich had the pleasure of sitting-in on some of the hottest panels at Fan Expo and deliver us that scoop!
This gorgeous star of X-Men, Taken, The Wolverine, The Blacklist, How to Get Away with Murder, The Blacklist and Hemlock Grove, the latter filmed right in our City, returns to Toronto again once again. She tells her fans at her panel about her experience working with Hugh Jackman who would go on to be in the widely-acclaimed LOGAN. “It’s impossible to envision anyone else playing that role”, she says about her Co-Star. “I’m grateful to have worked with him.”.
On Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner playing a role she helped shape in upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix, she says “I think she’s amazing. She reached out to me when she got cast as Jean Grey and asked what pointers I had for her and I told her she’s amazing and to just follow your gut and that’s what she did.”.
You know you’re iconic when your Films are remade and your roles are reprised. This iconic star of Rocky Horror Picture Show and the original Pennywise in Stephen King’s IT, which is projected to make a huge splash next weekend at the Box Office, made a rare appearance at this year’s Fan Expo treating fans to an intimate panel.
On which of his projects he considers his favourites, Curry says “Well, I guess one of them is Clue where my part was as big as the Bible. I also love Muppet Treasure Island.“.
On his phenomenal voicework in Animation, he says “I love it. I’ve never been a contortionist. The day is young and one day I hope to be.”.
While he is the idol of many who attended his panel, he cites Alec Guinness as being someone he looks up to.
This star of Doctor Who, Desperate Housewives, Torchwood, Legends of Tomorrow and of course Arrow is loved by many a fan. He reflects on the fun he has had on the latter. “A lot of things happened and part of what I like to do is making people crack-up by doing something from across of them. Stephen (Amell) is really easy to crack-up”.
In what will be the most talked-about moment of Fan Expo Canada 2017, Barrowman was asked by a fan at his panel whom his best on-screen kiss was with. A fan who went by the name Montana then rushed the stage to the shock of the crowd and Barrowman, and the two embraced in a kiss which had the fan going shirtless. The crowd went ecstatic. David Tennant, his Doctor Who Co-Star was his favourite kiss, by the way!
Those of us who grew-up in the ’80s have fond memories of Turner‘s work in classics like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone and TheJewel of the Nile. Turner reflected on her beginnings as an actress with her fans. She claims “I didn’t see many films. I always felt like Film happened to me.”. “Most of my imagination was satisfied by reading. This is how I always thought I wanted to be an actor”, she says. “This is my 40th year in my profession and it is still absolutely thrilling to be doing it. I am now entering my fourth profession and I will be doing Cabaret. I can sing.”.
In addition to its presence being felt largely this year with several fans dressed as Dr. Who, Matt Smith returned to Fan Expo once again this year. On his eventual exit from the beloved Series, Smith says “Yeah, I always knew I was going to stay for another year. Maybe I would’ve stayed on for another year. But then I thought I couldn’t get too comfortable. It’s a difficult show to leave because it’s such a brilliant character but as an actor you have to continue to do things that frighten you and make you uncomfortable.”.
Smith currently can be seen in Netflix‘s acclaimed The Crown as Philip.
See some Snaps from Fan Expo Canada 2017. Navigate by hovering cursor over left and right of gallery.
Bell Media unveiled their 2013 Fall/Midseason Lineup at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts today, bringing-in a number of familiar faces to ring-in the occasion. Among the Stars in Toronto today were Eric Dane, Snooki, Shawn Ashmore, Meghan Ory, Katie Cassidy, Shemar Moore, A.J. Cook, Tate Donovan, Bethenny Frankel and several more.
Despite persistent rain, Fans still lined the Red Carpet to catch a glimpse of the Talent and many were more than accommodating despite less-than-ideal conditions, although Snooki left several Fans disappointed by rushing-in, bypassing interviews.
See some of the names and faces from earlier today and the Shows announced:
Once Upon a Time: Now in its third season, the Fantasy-Drama Series shot in Vancouver, returns Sunday nights on CTV this Fall at 7:00 PM and present today was Ruby herself, Meghan Ory.
Hostages: Although only on short-order, this Drama Series starring Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott and Tate Donovan (pictured below) airs this Fall on CTV Mondays at 10:00 PM.
Arrow: Already proving a Hit, this Action-Adventure Series starring Toronto’s Stephen Amell returns a second Season this Fall on Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM on CTV. Katie Cassidy who stars as Laurel Lance, appeared today on behalf of the Series.
Bethenny: Daughter of Horse Racing Great Bobby Frankel and every bit a Business Magnate in her own right, Bethenny Frankel, gets her own Talk Show this Fall which airs daily at 2:00 PM on CTV.
The Following: Returning for a second season in 2014, the Psychological-Thriller Series starring Kevin Bacon was represented by Stars Valorie Curry and Toronto’s own Shawn Ashmore.
The Last Ship: After a Pandemic kills-off most of the World Population, the Crew of a Naval Destroyer is forced to face the realities of a new existence. Eric Dane who stars as Captain Tom Chandler in the Series was present today. The Series is set to air in 2014.
The Amazing Race Canada: After an extensive Talent Search, the Reality Series is set to debut this Fall on Sundays at 8:00 PM on CTV with Gold Medal-winning Olympian Jon Montgomery hosting.
Believe: J.J. Abrams produces this Fantasy Series about a gifted young Girl who has an unlikely pairing with a Prisoner and together they must fight off the evil elements that hunt her powers. CTV airs Sunday nights at 9:00 PM this Fall. Delroy Lindo who stars as Winter in the Series, appeared today.
The Goldbergs: One of this Season’s biggest potential Hits is the Family Comedy, The Goldbergs, which centers on a protective Matriarch, her Husband and three Children. Sean Giambrone (below) was among the Kids from the Cast who came to town.
Criminal Minds: The wildly-popular Crime Series returns again this Fall on Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM on CTV and appearing today were Shemar Moore (who comes for a second consecutive year) and Toronto’s own A.J. Cook.
See Moore with Fans below:
Snooki & JWoww: The MTV Reality Series gets renewed for a third season and Snooki herself came to ring-in the occasion.
Several other exciting new Series were announced also today including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Kirstie (starring Kirstie Alley), MasterChef Canada and several more. Read about it here.
It’s a hit!CTV Two‘s Arrow nails the target, scoring a ratings record for the Network with an audience of 1.1 million Viewers across Canada in its Debut. Overall, the Series ranked number three last night. The Series which stars Toronto’s Stephen Amell, has the distinction of being the Network’s top rated Series Premiere ever. It also more than doubled the Viewers of Emmy and Golden Globe Winner, Modern Family at 8:00 PM.
An Encore Presentation of Arrow airs this coming Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 9:00 PM on CTV.
Check out some Snaps of Amell which I got at the CTV Upfronts this Spring here. And I just might have an Autograph of his to give away!
To enter to win a Signed Photo from Stephen Amell, simply click “like” on this Post on Mr. Will Wong on Facebook. All are welcome to enter. Your deadline is November 12, 2012. You must also be following on Twitter.