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!