With just a week left until Wizard World Philadelphia, it is the perfect time to see what is the seasoned convention has in store for its 18thyear. Jerry Milani, public relations manager for Wizard World, was kind enough to answer questions that may come in handy for prospective attendees.
Wizard World Philadelphia runs from May 17 – 20 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Tickets to the convention can be purchased here. The program schedule can be viewed here (be sure to visit again before the convention). A full list of guests can be viewed here. Are you still thinking about attending, but not sure? We recommend taking a gander at the photo galleries from previous events across the country. That can be accessed here.
What can audiences expect to be new this year?
For one, we’ve expanded our Entertainment Stage, with music, dance, cosplay meetups, karaoke and more, emceed by Kato Kaelin. We also have a dedicated Kids Zone all four days, as well as an anime area with voice actors, anime-themed exhibitors, etc. We also have a few new celebs that have not attended our Philly show before, including Elijah Wood, Natalie Dormer and Pom Klementieff (marking the Wizard World debuts for both), Sean Bean and others. Almost every celeb is new from last year.
What can first-time attendees expect?
Newcomers can expect a celebration of everything in pop culture. Whether it’s movies, TV, art, science fiction, comics, anime, music, gaming, cosplay or anything else in the pop culture realm, attendees will meet hundreds or thousands of others who like the same things they do, and aren’t afraid to celebrate that!
Not all of the programming has been announced, but what can attendees look forward to?
Our programming runs the gamut from celeb Q&A’s to creator sessions to fan-driven discussions on specific areas of pop culture, as well as cosplay workshops, Jedi training and more.
This is the 18th consecutive Wizard World in Philly, how has it changed since the first one?
It’s light years away from those beginnings. While comics and Artist Alley are still a huge part of the show, the show is really more Pop Culture Con. We started with a two-day show that first year and then went to three days, and for the past seven years have been four, matching Chicago, our first show. We take up much more space in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, with tons more programming.
What is your (personal) suggestion for fans to have the best time ever?
First, plan the things you want to do most and check the schedules so you don’t miss those. Photo ops, Q&A panels and meetups happen at specific times, so if your big goal is a Jason Momoa Photo Op or to attend the Lord of the Rings Q&A, make sure you work everything around that. Second, have an open mind. On your way to meeting Sebastian Stan, for example, you may run into a vendor with a fun Cap item, an artist with a unique interpretation on the character, a fan wearing a Cap costume and way more. Plus, you might see things you never knew you’d like. And even if you don’t dress up, the cosplay contest on Saturday night (and Kids Costume Contests on Saturday and Sunday) are can’t-miss events!
How is WW Philly different from other WW’s across the country?
Our Philadelphia and Chicago shows are the only two that are four full days. While some elements of our shows are the same in each city, there are plenty of Philadelphia area artists and exhibitors, some Philly-themed programming and entertainment acts. There are lots of promoters putting on great shows, large and small, across the country. Wizard World prides itself on combining the best under one roof. Other than the panels, which need their own space, everything is together on the show floor. We want fans to experience everything there is to offer, to run into things that they might not otherwise seek out. We get lots of feedback from fans who say they loved meeting a particular artist or exhibitor that happened to be on their path somewhere.
How can attendees prepare for the convention ahead of time?
Best way is to check schedules, particularly for photo ops and Q&A’s as they are the most time-constrained. As I noted earlier, plan your day around those big events. But don’t be a slave to the plan: when there’s down time, see if there’s a panel that might interest you, or check out what will be on the entertainment stage then. Be open to new things; there are a lot of them!
What’s in store for cosplayers? Is there a competition, places to showcase their hard work?
We have numerous “professional” cosplayers on site in Philadelphia, notably Princess Morgan, Knightmage, Captain K, Canvas Cosplay and Hendo Art, We have the adult costume contest on Saturday at 7:30 (signup beginning that morning) and Kids Costume Contests (impossibly cute!) on Saturday and Sunday at 2 on the Entertainment Stage. There are also a series of workshops that help newcomers and even experienced cosplayers hone their craft. Plus there are cosplay meetups scheduled all four days.
If there’s one thing attendees can take away from a Wizard World event, what would it be?
Hopefully something new. The celebrities get a lot of the attention, but many of our fans spend entire days in the programming rooms or just making new friends sharing things they all enjoy. It’s a great place to learn something new.
Will there be more big announcements before the show?
We hope! Elijah Wood was a late addition, the week before the show, so we may have one or two latecomers.
Are there any after parties/events attendees can go to at day’s end that are sponsored by the convention?
YES, we will have location and timing details on those soon.
The show hours are:
Thursday, May 17, 4-9 p.m.
Friday, May 18, noon-7 p.m.
Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday, May 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.