The City of Brotherly Love opened its arms up to fans of all kinds for the 18th Wizard World convention to take place in Philadelphia. Boasting a wide range of celebrity guests, comic creators, talented vendors and Instagram-worthy opportunities, the convention was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from May 17 to May 20. Invited as a member of the press for the first time to a Wizard World convention, the GCE raked it all in; from the panels, to the art, to the cosplay, and even an official after-hours event at a local watering hole.
We’ve summed up some of our favorite moments from the weekend.
Take a peek at some of the fun floor activities that attendees enjoyed by visiting our gallery up on our Facebook. On top of holding a cockroach or a tarantula with the newly opened Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, guests could also sign up with Extra Life, commission a one-of-a-kind drawing from a talented artist or hop on a video or table top game competition. There was plenty to purchase, from stunning pop culture themed jewelry, nerdy themed underwear and replica weapons. We’re slowly rolling out our podcasts with these vendors, exhibitors and artists. So far you can listen to our podcast with Extra Life and with artist Ellie Morlino.
Still, some of our favorite moments are wrapped in the people in attendance. That is, of course, you. The cosplay showcased at the convention had heads turning. We compiled some of our favorites in this gallery.
Another big drawing factor for any convention are the celebrity guests. Hot off the Avengers: Infinity War press tour, Sebastian Stan was on hand to meet and greet with fans and partake in a stellar panel. He joked about Bucky’s final line in the Infinity War movie, telling the audience it would have played out similar to Spider-Man’s last words (we’re still not overtly spoiling it) and recalled a certain thirsty tweet he read out to co-star Winston Duke about his Black Panther character M’Baku.
Fans clearly loved what the Winter Soldier/White Wolf had to say and were equally as touched during other celebrity panels throughout the weekend. Audience members as Stephen Amell’s panel got a chance to be some of the first to hear his own reaction to the then just aired season 6 finale. Amell also recanted his favorite moments filming with Supergirl and sometimes crossover co-star Melissa Benoist on set. While the panel was full with jokes, Amell took to some more serious moments, talking about his early struggles as an actor and what he really thought about cancer (hint: F*ck Cancer).
Other panels we took in were Sean Bean’s 1001 Ways to Die. It was only his second time appearing at a convention and Bean, though reflecting on his career with utmost humility, also had plenty of good stories to share.
Ezra Miller, a staple in the Harry Potter franchise as Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and as Barry Allen/The Flash in DC’s cinematic universe, joined his co-star Ray Fisher, Cyborg, on stage for nearly an hour of shenanigans. I use the words shenanigans here to point out the playful atmosphere, and the pairs willingness to dance on stage with a member of the audience that wanted to teach Fisher his former high school’s official dance. The duo talked about their video game obsessions (there was a lot of Pokemon on set of Justice League), as well as Miller’s inability to choose a favorite in nearly anything he was asked.
Finally, I rounded out the day of mostly panels with the shortened, but still worthy, grouping of Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, and Billy Boyd. This trio of Hobbits, and one-quarter of the Fellowship were such a force and had the audience in a constant bind of laughter. The cacophonous calls in the PCC’s great room were the response to their very interesting stories about their time on set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Wizard World hosts a number of comic conventions across the country each year, and they have for more than two decades. Suffice to say, the organizers know what they’re doing in terms of providing a fantastic fan experience. Visit their site for the dates and locations of future shows near you.