And here it is: the final day of our ACE Comic Con recaps has arrived. In all honesty, this convention felt like it was two weeks and five minutes long at the same time – mostly because there was so much to do and see, but also because all of these amazing moments were over far too soon. As I’m typing this, the convention has been over for a week, but it already feels like a lifetime away, which speaks for a great experience.
Sunday started with a special panel, because we were reunited with two of our favorite artists: Brianna Garcia and Erin Lefler. Together with Veronica and Andy Fish, they spent half an hour discussing their art process and weighing the benefits of digital versus traditional art. Since we had already gotten some insight into the process of Brianna and Erin, it was interesting to see them discuss their process and progress in their field of work with two other prolific artists. For people in the audience who were interested in art, this panel gave a lot of great advice and some much-needed motivation for those struggling to either gain an audience for their art or not losing hope when trying to find their big break into the industry. All of the stories shared showed one thing: no path is linear, especially in the arts. This is where we should give props to the convention organizers, because they give a platform to people that are much closer to the attending fans, many of whom not only enjoy art but also produce it themselves. Seeing them on the big stage, being interviewed by the same people who interview the stars of the franchises for which they produce art, it gives value to fan art and art business in general. It was great to see the people who are much more accessible in their booths in artist alley in such an official setting.
The first celebrity panel of the day was none other than Kit Harington. His first U.S. convention appearance was at this event, so I expected him to be a bit timid or awkward, but like all the other celebrity guests, he appeared to be enjoying himself and was relaxed during his interview with moderator Karama Horne. This panel was also one of the first public appearances Kit has done since Game of Thrones has ended. He did mention that he needed these few months to decompress and detach from the role of Jon Snow that had shaped his life for the past 10 years. Kit mentioned that Jon always felt like “a better person” than himself, which made it intimidating for him to always be surrounded and connected to someone who represents the essence of goodness and loyalty. However, Kit says that he enjoyed his time on the show immensely. He loves meeting fans, because Jon is one of the few good people on the show, and he never had the problems other actors had when being confronted with fans who may have had a difficult time separating art and reality.
When an actor such as Kit Harington – who has been part of the biggest show on television for the past ten years – speaks about his “young career,” it leaves the audience rather baffled. However, as Kit elaborated in his panel, he went straight from drama school into working on a play (“War Horse,” which I can’t recommend enough!) to working on Game of Thrones. Now, as he has finished what is without the doubt the project of a lifetime for many other actors, he went straight into the next big franchise: the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Kit will be part of one of the most anticipated projects of Phase Four, the ensemble film The Eternals. Next to Angelina Jolie and Gemma Chan, it also stars his former Game of Thrones co-star Richard Madden. The relationship with the latter was described as a deep friendship. Kit talked about how once Richard left the show, the dynamic on set changed, and he is ecstatic to be working with him again. Coincidentally, ACE Comic Con also gave Kit the first taste of how passionate and welcoming the Marvel fandom is, and one can only hope that he will continue with this enthusiasm and passion as far as his future projects are concerned.
The next panel of the convention was with two of the stars of the Netflix show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Kiernan Shipka and Ross Lynch, who play Sabrina Spellman and Harvey Kinkle, respectively. First, they both seemed truly excited and gracious to be at the convention and to see their fans. The pair are filming season three of Sabrina in Vancouver in a sort of a bubble, so getting to interact with fans was very exciting for them. One of the first questions asked was what their reaction was to the darker twist the show took after the first few episodes. Kiernan says she read the graphic novel beforehand, so she was somewhat prepared for darker things. When the show started delving into satanism and cannibalism, she worried about what her Catholic grandmother would think. Apart from that, she thinks that the darker the story gets, the more the audience is invested. When asked if they were horror fans before doing this show, they both said they were, stating their favorite horror films as The Shining and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Ross and Kiernan went on to discuss the evolution of their characters and how Sabrina is a coming of age story, but it is also about a young woman coming into her own with her powers and her relationships. Kiernan and Ross wrap up their panel talking about the upcoming third season and how much more “hell” will be in it. Kiernan said every episode of season three is a huge episode with a lot of big moments. When asked if they could sum up the upcoming part of the show in one word, Kiernan said “spicy” and Ross said “juicy”.
The final Marvel panel of the weekend was the God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth. Before I start talking about his panel, I want to say that I’m still surprised by his presence and appearance at this convention, because he has not a lick of airs and graces you would expect a Hollywood star like him to have. He was the most down-to-earth person. He seemed excited to meet all the fans, pose for pictures, and sign autographs for people who had traveled from all over the world to meet him. While they say to never meet your idols, I’m sure no one was disappointed when meeting this particular real-life superhero.
During his panel, it became clear that playing Thor, something that has been part of Chris’ life for the past 10 years, is a special experience for him. He has grown with the character and experienced change, such as a complete re-invention of the Asgardian Crown Prince in the third installment of the Thor franchise, Thor: Ragnarok, which is without a doubt one of the best films of the MCU to date. Chris talked about meeting with director and writer Taika Waititi and discussing the fact that he himself had become bored with the character of Thor and was craving a new challenge. Having been part of the franchise for so long, he was looking for more than what the previous movies had given him the opportunity to explore. With the continuation of Thor’s new character arc in Avengers: Endgame, he has taken this journey even further. Adding to that, he briefly talked about his preparations for the upcoming fourth film, Thor: Love And Thunder, and elaborated that he had gone back to reading more comics and looking into possible paths and trails to explore, which is something fans can be excited for in the future. He also talked about his journey in the MCU so far and admitted that the press tour for Avengers: Endgame felt like the end of high school, where you have one final goodbye and a party with all your friends before everyone parts ways. Furthermore, he reflected on this path in a way that showed true admiration and gratefulness for the fans who have brought Marvel to where it is today. Remember, Chris was once named a “nobody” when the casting for the first Thor film was announced and now is one of the highest-paid and sought-after stars in Hollywood.
During his panel, he said that he was aware that all of the success of the MCU wouldn’t have been possible without the fans’ enthusiasm and that meeting some of these fans during the weekend felt extremely gratifying. Thinking about that a little further, it’s true that these people spend months making movies and building bonds with their co-stars, but the only time they’re ever confronted with their fans is during a red carpet or other special events. These conventions give both sides an opportunity to give thanks and express their gratitude, and that was one of the main sentiments that we, as an audience, took away from his panel.
After riding the high of seeing Chris Hemsworth in person, we weren’t ready to go home just yet. Fortunately, we had one panel left. This was our first time seeing Taron Egerton at a convention, and it turns out he’s as charming and adorable as he is talented. The moderator admitted to being a huge fan of the Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and was eager to ask Egerton about his voice work in the role of Rian. He talked about the excitement he felt signing on to the series and shared that was the only project he’s ever agreed to without reading a script. He said that he loved the movie as a kid, and he was eager to be a part of the new iteration of The Dark Crystal universe.
You can’t get far into a panel with Egerton without asking about his incredible performance in Rocketman. The audience cheered in agreement as the moderator praised his work in the film and his ability to flawlessly take on the persona of Elton John. Egerton reflected on what it was like to get the role, and how it felt like such a pivotal point in his career. He expressed gratitude for the ways life had brought him to cross paths with Elton John in previous projects, which he felt paved the way for his role in Rocketman.
While he’s become well known more recently because of Rocketman, Egerton’s film career started a few years back in his role as Eggsy in the Kingsman movies. He shared his experience working on those projects, and said he enjoyed the opportunity to play such a unique role. While the next Kingsman is a prequel that does not include Eggsy, Egerton confirmed that there are talks of a possible fourth film that will include his character.
Before we knew it, the panel was over, and so was our ACE Comic Con experience. All in all, this was a weekend for the books. As I write this a week later, I’m still not sure all of this really happened. If you had told me three years ago, or even a couple of months ago, that I’d be meeting the stars of the world’s highest-grossing movies in a well-organized and — for a convention this size — reasonably-priced setting, I would have not believed you. ACE truly makes dreams come true. While some fans will always complain about how these conventions are too expensive, or how the stars should not be “asking for this much money,” fans who have been going to cons for years know that there is more to pay than just a celebrity’s appearance. What I appreciate about ACE is that they are not only a trustworthy company, they’re also constantly working on improving and finding new ways to make their shows a better place for both guests and attendees. Although this was already my second event with them, this weekend has cemented my wish to attend again and again.
We hope you enjoyed our recaps and our pre-event coverage. We want to thank ACE for being such great hosts and giving us so many great opportunities. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and them!