Day three of FAN EXPO Canada, Saturday, was jam packed with guests, events, panels, and attendees, proving to be the busiest of the four days of the convention. Most major celebrity guests were scheduled to appear throughout the day, which drew in waves of eager and excited fans.
A huge draw in particular was the arrival of three of the main stars of Amazon’s hit new television series The Boys — Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, and Antony Starr. Fun fact: The Boys is conveniently filming its second season in and around the Toronto area right now!
Urban, Quaid, and Starr were scheduled for a Q&A panel for The Boys at 1:00 p.m., right after Brendan Fraser’s panel. As this was one of the larger panels of the weekend, it was held in the Cineplex Events Main Theater. The organization for larger panels is handled fairly well by staff stationed in that area, as the line up for The Boys panel was not allowed to form until all attendees of Brendan Fraser’s panel were seated at 12:00 p.m. Staff were passing this information along to attendees hours before The Boys panel was set to begin and regularly repeated rules for lining up every few moments as new waves of people arrived, to ensure there was no confusion.
Although some fans lined up as early as they were allowed, last minute arrivals were still able to grab a seat as well thanks to the generous size of the Cineplex theater. There were multiple large screens flanking both sides of the stage, so not a moment of the panel was to be missed regardless of where anyone was sitting.
The panel itself was an absolute delight — it was clear that Urban, Quaid, and Starr have developed a strong camaraderie working together on the show. Urban, the seasoned convention veteran of the trio, waltzed on stage wearing a signature Billy Butcher-esque button down (Hey, we ranked those!) and fielded questions from fans that ranged from his Hercules/Xena days up through his most recent work on The Boys. The passion that Urban has for his acting career, laced with his mirthful, easygoing nature, made for an incredibly enjoyable conversation.
Quaid and Starr were equally impressive on stage as well, as they appeared to be right at home up there discussing the show and other various aspects of their respective acting careers, despite being newer to the convention scene. Between Urban’s sly humor, Starr’s unabashed laughter, and Quaid’s fun attitude, the audience was riddled with amusement for a majority of the panel.
We learned that Starr is seemingly an “anti-baby whisperer” and may or may not be getting a call from DC anytime soon, and Quaid has been traumatized many times over already just three episodes into filming the second season. And in regards to Urban’s penchant for wearing Butcher-like shirts off-set — “This is who he is now.” The group also touched on their experiences working with Eric Kripke, and Urban praised Kripke’s affinity for taking things back to basics with in-camera practical effects for The Boys.
The day was packed with a selection of other celebrity Q&A panels as well, including: Saved By The Bell‘s Elizabeth Berkley, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Mario Lopez, Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek), The Umbrella Academy‘s Tom Hopper and Emmy Raver-Lampman, Steven Seagal, Shazam himself Zachary Levi, Summer Glau (Firefly), and Blade Runner‘s Sean Young and Edward James Olmos.
John Travolta fans were lucky enough to be treated to an early screening of his latest film The Fanatic, directed and co-written by Fred Durst. The movie follows Moose (Travolta) as he becomes more and more obsessive and threatening towards his favorite action actor, Hunter (Devon Sawa).
One of the best things about FAN EXPO Canada each year is that there’s always something for everyone, not just those that are there to meet one of the many celebrity guests. The South building was filled to the brim with vendors, and many of the big name companies came prepared with things like item giveaways, gaming competitions, exclusive merchandise, photo opportunities, offers to test out upcoming games, and so much more. For example, the EB Gamer Zone gave attendees a chance to try out the upcoming remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch, which is set to release on September 20.
For those that attended the convention with their children, there was a Family Zone area available all weekend. The room was located away from the massive crowds present on the main show floor areas. In there, FAN EXPO Canada had a lot of activities to be enjoyed, specifically geared toward their younger demographic. Attendees had the option of photo ops with various props, face painting, a crafting zone, plushie workshops, temporary tattoos, a dance party, Princess Storytime, sing-alongs, and meet and greets with Ariel, Anna, Elsa, and more!
A large majority of FAN EXPO Canada’s celebrity guests were in attendance on Saturday, so the autograph table zone was busy throughout the entirety of the day. FAN EXPO Canada has a leg up when it comes to organization in this area, because only a portion of the vendors were located in the North building where autographs and photo ops were held. This allowed for plenty of walking space between the lines and the vendor tables, which can often be an issue at conventions that have less square footage to work with. The autograph lines had plenty of staff milling about to direct attendees, answer questions, and keep each area organized.
FAN EXPO Canada’s photo op area, which was located nearby, functioned like a well-oiled machine. There was digital signage outside the entrance to the photo op area, which displayed information throughout the day with the times for photo sessions and information on when attendees could start to line up. A handful of staff were also located in the area to answer questions and announce when new lines were forming.
The photo ops themselves were organized and very quick, similar to that of other major comic conventions. Prints of photo ops were available for attendees moments after stepping out from behind the curtains, with many staff milling around to keep the area organized. Those who purchased digital downloads were able to receive them immediately on the spot as well, making the whole photo experience a very seamless process.
Overall, Saturday was an exciting day that was full of things to see and do for attendees both young and old. Even those that weren’t there to meet celebrity guests had endless options — interesting panels to attend, screenings to watch, video games to play, and vendor tables to peruse.
Stayed tuned for our coverage for the final day of FAN EXPO Canada!