#SPOTTED: 2018 TORONTO FAN EXPO HIGHLIGHTS – MICHAEL J. FOX, EVANGELINE LILLY, ROB SCHNEIDER, LEA THOMPSON, KAREN GILLAN + MORE!
By David Baldwin, Siobhán Rich x Mr. Will Wong
Now in its 24th year, FAN EXPO CANADA has stamped itself as the premier celebration of fandom in Toronto year after year uniting connoisseurs of Comics, Sci-Fi, Horror, Anime and Gaming together for a four-day extravaganza. Once again taking over Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the event was highlighted by a reunion of BACK TO THE FUTURE stars Canadian Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd and Tom Wilson. For the first time ever also, FAN EXPO CANADA hosted WWE® Night with stars of the sport: Triple H®, A.J. Styles™, The Miz® and Charlotte Flair®. Others appearing at the affair were favourites William Shatner, Steven Ogg, Evangline Lilly, Lucy Lawless, Robin Lord Taylor, Jason Momoa, Rob Schneider, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Karen Gillan, Cary Elwes, Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Billy Zane, Emma Dumont and many more!
Purveyor of Pop Culture vinyl collectibles, FUNKO caused quite a stir this year with a pop-up at the Festival giving some lucky fans timed session tickets and a chance to purchase some exclusive goods. Harry Potter and Doctor Who-themed Escape Rooms, the Dragonball North America Tour 2018, a Degrassi Reunion, plus a Photo Op with the Jurassic Park Jeep were big draws also this weekend.
Dragonball North American Tour 2018
FAN EXPO CANADA attendees continue to up their Cosplay game and this year was no exception!
Our Team had the pleasure of attending FAN EXPO CANADA and sitting-in on some of the hottest ticket panels! More on that below:
AN EVENING WITH THE CAST OF “BACK TO THE FUTURE”
The weekend is just starting, but Fan Expo staged one of the biggest highlights of this year’s convention tonight — An Evening with the Cast of Back to the Future. On hand were Tom Wilson, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd and Canada’s own Michael J. Fox. The ticketed event had fans lining up for over two hours to attend the packed panel. While there was no audience Q&A portion of the 40-minute event, the audience was not left disappointed.
We learned that no one amongst the Cast is a fan of the legendary DeLorean car featured in all three Back to the Future films. All four cast members referenced how bad it was to drive, with Thompson noting she never had the opportunity to drive it until she was featured on Dancing with the Stars (“I mainly just took photos draped across the hood”). Noting his large height, Wilson says, “The DeLorean is not made for ‘normal-sized’ people.”
In discussing how they become part of the Film, Lloyd says that he “didn’t really get it” when he first read the script. Thompson was the polar opposite: “I thought it was the greatest script with the greatest part.” Wilson was even less subtle, saying “I was really interested in my role because it meant I had a job.” Fox didn’t even have the time to really take in the production of the legendary Film, saying, “I was either working on the show [Family Ties] or working on the movie. I didn’t have enough time to do anything else.”
While the group reminisced about making the Film, they really emphasized its cultural significance and importance. “Generation after generation can watch the movie and get something out of it,” says Thompson. Late in the panel, the actress got very emotional when she told the audience and the fans of the series that “We’re all just so grateful.” “So many people say Back to the Future was my Childhood Film,” says Lloyd, noting how special the individual stories from fans makes him feel. Wilson chocks-up the Film’s lasting popularity to the rise of VHS and video rental stores soon after the Film’s release: “It was the perfect storm movie.”
Fox was a little more intimate about how he feels about the Film’s legacy, noting that fans always show him their Marty McFly tattoos when he meets them at conventions — and many of them have his face tattooed on a rather specific spot on their body. Fox jokes enthusiastically, “I’m so special that I get to watch everything they eat go down the toilet.”
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE)
Disney fans at Fan Expo Toronto were treated to some behind the scenes and early clips of the upcoming Ralph Breaks the Internet. Hosted by Richard Crouse and the Film’s producer, Clark Spencer, the crowd was shown behind the scenes animated LOLCats and also told about new character Yesss, voiced by Taraji P. Henson. We were then walked through clips that introduced the basic plot including the important role Gal Gadot will be playing as race car driver, Shank.
Perhaps the most anticipated and well received scene was an extended look of the all the Disney Princesses meeting our favourite glitch, Vanelope (Sarah Silverman).
The Movie centers around the friendship between Vanelope and Ralph (John C. Reilly). As the Movie opens, Vanelope‘s future is in jeopardy after her video game is damaged and the owner of Litwak’s Arcade isn’t sure he can afford to fix it. The best friends decide to take maters into their own hands and head into the Internet in search of eBay.
The much anticipated sequel looks fantastic. Ralph Breaks the Internet hits theatre on Friday, November 21, 2018 via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada.
EVANGELINE LILLY & RODRIGO BASTOS DIDIER ON “THE SQUICKERWONKERS“
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Lost) took the stage at Fan Expo Canada today to discuss her Book Series, The Squickerwonkers. She started writing the planned eight-part Series as a way to create new content to read to her son, as she felt reading the same books over and over again “sucks”. The self-proclaimed “intense perfectionist” has written two of the Books so far, telling the audience that she “did a panic edit before bringing the new book to the cons.” She was also proud to note about the series that “If we start with a female protagonist, that’s a great place to start today.”
We also learned about The Squickerwonkers‘ Illustrator, Rodrigo Bastos Didier. Lilly first noticed the artist after he posted artwork on her Facebook page, and the two got into contact after meeting at a Brazilian comic convention. Didier‘s connections helped Lilly get her first publishing deal, after she struggled with self-publishing. “He had such a soft and loving energy. I just wanted to work with him,” she says.
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY PANEL
And if that was not exciting enough, Space Channel brought the crew of the USS Discovery to discuss the much anticipated Second Season of Star Trek: Discovery. On hand for the panel were Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham), Doug Jones (Saru), Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly), Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets), Shazad Latif (Voq/Ash Tyler) and Anson Mount (Christopher Pike). The group spoke at length about their excitement with the thrilling first season and the fan reactions they have experienced since.
Martin-Green says that she was delighted and in awe of the fans of the show, saying they had “so much love and respect in welcoming us” into the Star Trek family. “There’s nothing to prepare you in life for someone who dresses up as you,” Wiseman says with a laugh. “I don’t know why she resonates with people. Tilly is me, and her enthusiasm is unrivaled,” she says. Jones tells the audience that he initially had difficulty deciding how to play his alien character Saru, noting that after 32 years of playing costumed creatures, “How do you make this one different? The makeup you wear helps you to inform the character.” But what Jones is really thrilled about is how the fans he has spoken to have told him how important that character is to them, saying Saru is “Inspiring people to get over their own fears” as his characters works through his.
LUCY LAWLESS x RENÉE O’CONNOR PANEL
Amid jokes of a new comedic show which would unite all the key members of the Cast of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (including Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi) and trips down memory lane regarding late cast member Kevin Smith (Ares), the famously-friendly pair discussed craft services, the #MeToo movement, and the dangers of being Renée O’Connor‘s stunt double.
The two Actress were asked, whether a remake would turn the Xena/Gabrielle relationship from subtext into text?
Renée: “People say they loved the relationship – the friendship – that it was so deep.”.
Lucy also was asked about her first impression of Renée:
Lucy: “She was exactly like Gabrielle that first episode.”
Renée: “I was fascinated by her.”
The duo were asked about Gabrielle‘s evolution on the Series.
Lucy: “They saw what Renée could do and said, ‘Let’s write to that!'”.
See some Snaps from the weekend. Hover cursor or click left and right to navigate slideshow on each album:
Team Mr. Will and our Photo Ops:
Missed all the fun? Start planning now for next year! More here on tickets, guests and events.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Siobhán Rich/David Baldwin)