We didn't think it was possible, but Fan Expo has gotten bigger, faster and stronger than it has ever been. The addition of sports to the other genres of sci-fi, comics, horror, anime and gaming means that the Expo is no longer relegated to the South Building, but will be taking over the entire Metro Toronto Convention Centre from August 22 until August 25. To put that in perspective, that's 900 artists, retailers and exhibitors hosting an expected 100,000 fans over 750,000 square feet over four days. With those kind of numbers, it's impossible to decide where to go first.
Here's our handy-dandy helpful guide to Toronto Fan Expo 2013, with our top five suggested things to do.
When it was announced earlier this year that Hobbystar would be adding sports to the genres that already make up Fan Expo, long-time convention goers immediately cried foul. Claiming that sports isn't a genre, they realized that the same jocks who probably stuffed them into high school lockers would invade their geektacular world.Thankfully, they have nothing to fear. Sports will be held separate from the rest of the Expo in the North Building and a sports-only ticket can be purchased if you aren't interested in the rest.
Many legends like Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and Joe Montana will be there for one day only, so check the Fan Expo website closely. In fact, Joe Cool will be doing a Q&A on Saturday at 2 p.m. in room 206 right after Martin Brodeur in the same room just an hour before. Then join Bobby Orr there on Sunday at 1 p.m. For fans of the home team, Leafs goaltender James Reimer will be in room 206 on Friday at 5:45 p.m. Doug Gilmour will be presenting An Hour with the Killer at noon on Saturday in that room and Blue Jays '93 World Series MVP Paul Molitor will reunite with teammate Tony Fernandez there at 3 p.m. the same day.
Beam Up or Use the Force
Whether you're a fan of the original U.S.S. Enterprise crew or the one from the new "Star Trek" films, Fan Expo has you covered. Plus, with "Star Trek: Episode VII" on the way, characters from the original trilogy will also be making an appearance. Start with An Hour with George and Nichelle on Friday at 5:15 p.m. in Room 105 as Sulu (George Takei) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) reminisce about the barriers they fought as some of the first prominent minority figures on series television. Then join them Saturday, along with Bones and Spock from the current films, (Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto) for a special "Star Trek" screening in Room 701B at 1:00 p.m. Zachary Quinto will be doing a Q&A of his own on Saturday at 2 p.m. back in Room 105, as will Karl Urban in the same room at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, "Star Wars" fans can go one-on-one with Emperor Palpatine when Ian McDiarmid speaks in Room 105 at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night. Then, fresh off her announcement that she'll reprise her role as Princess Leia in the new "Star Wars" film, join Carrie Fisher for an intimate discussion in Room 105 on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
Made-for-TV High School Reunions
There are at least two high school reunions at Fan Expo this year -- one live-action and the other animated. First, ET Canada's Roz Weston brings together two of the most popular alumni of the fictional West Beverly Hills High as Dylan McKay and Brandon Walsh (Luke Perry and Jason Priestley) temporarily trade in that famous 90210 zip code for a Toronto postal code. It all happens at 1:00 p.m. in Room 105 on Friday. Then, at 2:30 p.m. in room 701B, a few students from the imaginary Juuban Municipal Junior High School take the stage as the voice cast of "Sailor Moon" once again fights evil by moonlight and wins love by daylight after 20 years off the air. Those in attendance include Sailor Moon herself (Linda Ballantyne), her mysterious lover Tuxedo Mask (Toby Proctor), Sailor Mars (Katie Griffin), Sailor Jupiter (Susan Roman) and voice director John Stocker.
The Doctor is In!
Only three weeks after the BBC announced that Peter Capaldi will assume the mantle of the twelfth doctor on "Doctor Who," the TARDIS is making a stop at Fan Expo this year and in it comes the sixth doctor Colin Baker. The man played the character between 1984 and 1986 and in celebration of "Doctor Who"'s 50th anniversary, Baker will be guiding fans through a retrospective panel known as 50 Years of Who with the Doctor himself on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in room 105. Before that, try your hand a building the doctor's greatest foe -- The Dalek -- in The Doctor Who Society's Dalek Building 101 class, taking place in Room 713 at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. After mastering that, you can be part of the attempt at the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of Daleks in North America on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in Room 104.
Hard Rockers, Hellboys and a Hulk
At Fan Expo you can always dial "H" for Hero with the amount of spandex strutting around the convention floor, but this year "H" stands for more. First, there are hard rockers like Alice Cooper. The Godfather of Shock Rock makes his long-awaited return to Fan Expo. Feed his Frankenstein on Thursday in Room 105 at 6:30 pm., or if a guitar legend is more your bag, join Slash on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Room 105 as he unveils details about Nothing to Fear, the first horror movie to come out of his new production company Slasher Films. The Expo is also the place where Hellboy himself -- Ron Perlman -- will be in the same vicinity as "Hellboy" creator Mike Mignola. Though they aren't scheduled for a panel together, Mike Mignola will go first at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday in Room 716 and then Ron Perlman will discuss Hellboy and his many other iconic roles on Sunday in Room 105 at 2 p.m. Finally, Hulk Hogan will sit down with former WCW boss Eric Bischoff for an absolutely no-holds-barred panel called Hulk Hogan: Uncensored. You will be able to ask him anything you want on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. in the John Bassett Theatre (Room 102). However, you'll have to pay for a separate ticket ranging from $39 to $249.
Fan Expo runs from August 22 - August 25 in Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Check out our interview with Hulk Hogan