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Fan Expo Canada 2019 offers celebrities, cosplay, panels

Monday, September 2, 2019

In late August, the Canadian city of Toronto celebrated the quarter century anniversary of Fan Expo Canada, a massive annual pop culture convention. Running from August 22 to 25, the event featured extensive retail areas, panels, celebrity appearances, an artist alley, and attendees in cosplay. Wikinews attended.

At the panel "Breaking Into Comics," speakers shared their insights into getting started as a comic artist or writer. Comic artist Jenn St-Onge (Nancy Drew, Jem and the Misfits) told of being forced to re-evaluate her life, after growing up with ample positive reinforcement about being an artist. "In my first stint, I didn't get any work. [...] to come back and get that kind of second chance, eight years ago, it feels really good to have people coming to you and being 'I want you to work,' and basically working seven days a week for the last eight years."

"You have to work those seven days to earn a weekend," quipped Valiant Entertainment editor Heather Antos, later in the panel. While all agreed that time off was rare as a freelancer, artist Leisha Riddell emphasized the need for boundaries, saying "this weekend, I'm becoming part of the couch and playing video games until my eyes go blurry."

Actress Denise Crosby is set to appear in the final season of Suits, a Toronto-shot legal series. The actress recalled her season with Star Trek: The Next Generation, when they were the "scrappy little red headed stepchild of the [Paramount] lot."

Underwhelmed with her role, she left the series toward the end of its first season. "This is not what I wanted to become an actor for. I didn't want to stand on the bridge and just go 'aye aye captain,' you know, and not even move. I actually asked them to make up some fake legs" to place at the character Tasha Yar's bridge station, which was on a risen platform. "You could just stick my legs, just fake legs, and I had no lines[....] You gotta know that Tasha's on her command post, but just put the legs there, just keep the camera low."

Actor Brendan Fraser's appearance at the convention was directly from filming The Professionals in South Africa. He quipped "I still have dust in my shoes."

The cast of the sitcom Kim's Convenience had a panel in a room for 700 people. The popular series is based on a 2011 stage play about a Korean-Canadian family that operates a convenience store. Simu Liu, one of the series leads, is to play the titular character in Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021).

Lead Paul Sun-Hyung Lee talked about how the series has been underestimated "up 'til now." During the premiere, "I felt like Cinderella at the ball [...] I'm a jobber, I've been working as an actor for like, close to 25 years, lots of small roles. Expositionary characters, never asked to carry anything, to be a lead, to actually have a background story. And so to finally be able to do an entire season of television as one of the lead actors was tremendous".

Hasbro hosted a panel about their Star Wars products, which promoted their new action figures and helmets. The company's upcoming replica helmet is of Luke Skywalker's X-wing helmet, their "number one requested hero helmet [...] This by far is the most labor-intensive helmet to date." While previous helmets have included movie sound, this product includes lights to simulate the enemy ships going past your head.

Asked about sustainability, the company noted that recently they had switched to a bio-based PET for their packaging, "which was more plant-based plastic for greater environmental concerns. [...] This week, Hasbro announced that we're [...] looking to switch away from plastic altogether, in terms of our packaging [...] we're very much aware that a lot of times times plastic is [...] ripped off and discarded, so we're constantly trying to improve on that as a company to improve our environmental footprint."

The event played host to the Rocket League WGN North American Championship, with the winning team receiving C$10,000 and a trip to a professional circuit event.

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.