The following post originally appeared on Sean's blog, Sean Kelly on Movies.
Today is the start of the 19th annual edition of Fan Expo Canada. This year's convention is aiming to the biggest ever, since it will now occupy the entire Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It's also a milestone for me, since this will be my fifth year attending Fan Expo. Going to a convention like this is always a daunting task, so I thought I will run down some of the highlights of this year's convention.
Autographs and Photo-Ops
The main draw of any convention are the celebrity guests that are booked to attend. As always, this year's Fan Expo features a very impressive guest list, which includes Firefly's Nathan Fillion, Star Trek's Zachary Quinto, wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, and a number of cast members from The Walking Dead. This year the celebrity autograph area and photo-ops will be found in the North Building of the convention centre. Just make sure you have plenty of cash on you, since all the headliners will be charging for their signature.
This year the cable channel Showcase will be hosting autograph sessions with the stars of their shows Lost Girl, Defiance, Warehouse 13, and Covert Affairs, though it should be noted that tickets for these sessions will be given via a lottery.
Then of course, there will will be opportunities for free autographs all weekend, including famed comicbook artist Todd McFarlane (Spawn).
Another convention highlight is the number of Q&A panels with the celebrity guests. This year most of the the panels will be held in the Veloster Theatre (Room 105) in the North Building, though small panels can be found all over the Convention Centre. I would recommend lining up at least an hour before a panel, to make sure you get a decent seat.
Here are some of the must-see panels this year:
- Alice Cooper: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. - Room 105
- Stan Lee: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. - Room 105
- Don Coscarelli: Friday, 11:30 a.m. - Room 701B
- David Hasselhoff: Friday, 4:00 p.m. - Room 105
- Hulk Hogan Uncensored: Friday, 8:00 p.m. - Room 102 (separately ticketed event)
- Twisted Hour with the Twisted Twins: Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - Room 701A
- Meet the Cast of Lost Girl: Saturday, Noon - Room 102
- Zachary Quinto: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. - Room 105
- Reanimating Reanimator with Cast: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. - Room 701A
- Meet the Cast of Defiance: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. - Room 102
- 50 Years of Who with the Doctor Himself: Colin Baker: Saturday, 3:00 p.m. - Room 105
- The Cast of The Walking Dead: Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - Room 105
- Meet the Cast of Warehouse 13: Sunday, Noon - Room 102
- Nathan Fillion: Sunday, 12:30 p.m. - Room 105
- Karl Urban: Sunday, 2:00 p.m. - Room 105
- Meet the Cast of Covert Affairs: Sunday, 2:00 p.m. - Room 102
- Carrie Fischer: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. - Room 105
The guests aren't everything about Fan Expo and there will be a wide variety of booths and attractions spread out across the convention centre. As always, the main exhibition hall will be located in the South Building and be divided up between the five main categories of Comics, Sci-Fi, Horror, Anime, and Gaming. This year will feature additional exhibition halls in the North Building, which will include the new Sports category.
Some things to keep an eye out for this year:
- Get your photo taken with cars from Back to the Future and Knight Rider
- The cast of Innerspace appearing at the Space booth (1138)
- Multiple attractions for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, including a Guinness World Record attempt to gather the most Daleks ever!
- Visit the Toronto After Dark booth (1716) to get an exclusive first look at this year's line-up.
- Lottery-based autographs at the Showcase booth (2016)
- Other featured booths include eOne (1154), Xbox (1748), Anchor Bay (1814), and EBGames (2028)
If autographs, panels, and attractions aren't enough to keep you busy, there are also a number of miscellaneous events throughout the weekend (including some that are off-site).
- Little Terrors Horror Shorts: Daily - Room 707
- Rue Morgue Cinemacabre: The Burbs with Joe Dante: Thursday, 9:30p.m. - TIFF Bell Lightbox
- Fan Expo Speed Dating (hosted by 25dates.com): Friday and Saturday
- Lolita Tea Party with Aoki Misako: Friday-Sun, Noon - Room 717B
- The Collection, Special Screening: Friday, 6:00p.m. - Room 716
- Rue Morgue Shocktail Party: Friday 9:00p.m. - Revival
- Screening of J.J. Abrams' Almost Human: Saturday, 7:00p.m. - Room 102
- Masquerade: Saturday, 8:00p.m. - Room 105
- Official Fan Expo Party: Saturday, 9:00p.m. - Fairmount Royal York
- Rue Morgue and TIFF Present Phantasm II with Don Coscarelli: Saturday, 9:30p.m. - TIFF Bell Lightbox
Well, that ends my highlights of this year's Fan Expo. It is sure to be a very busy weekend.