Once again, FAN EXPO Philadelphia wowed fans and was an incredibly memorable weekend of celebrity guests, comic icons, cosplayers, and unique vendors from near and far.
The convention always boasts a stellar lineup, which seems to get better and better every year. From voice actors like Jodi Benson (Disney’s The Little Mermaid) to the legendary – and always pleasant – Henry Winkler (Happy Days, Barry) and everyone in between. This year, fans were treated to incredible panels and interactions with stars of Smallville, Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum, Star Wars star Hayden Christensen, Steve Burns of Blue’s Clues, and many more.
With all of the excitement of the weekend’s events, fans had plenty to choose from and much fun to be had.
Now, on to some highlights…
Joseph Quinn & Grace Van Dien (Stranger Things)
Fans of Stranger Things were on pins and needles awaiting confirmation that Joseph Quinn, otherwise known as super-rocker nerd Eddie Munson, would make it out of limbo as his travel documents were trapped in the Upside Down, but he made it to Philadelphia to greet fans with open arms for photo ops and autographs! He joined his costar Grace Van Dien for a Q&A session in the main theater on Sunday afternoon for a fun-filled event.
They also touched on the Eddie Munson prequel novel coming in the on October 31 (appropriate!) entitled Flight of Icarus, written by Caitlin Schneiderhan, a writer for the TV series. We’re looking forward to that. Perhaps a spinoff series may not be out of the question?
Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian, Breaking Bad, Kaleidoscope)
When most people think of the incredible actor Giancarlo Esposito, many people link him to his ruthless character from Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul, Gus Fring. Esposito, in a testament to his own abilities to play believable characters, is far from evil. In fact, during his session in the main theater, he used his voice to encourage fans and attendees to find that which fulfills their souls in the time we’ve been given in this lifetime. It was an unexpected turn and I’m happy I was able to catch this panel. It was wonderful to learn about the process of acting and really becoming characters in order to effectively tell stories. You never know where you’re going to find inspiration and Esposito brought it. If you haven’t watched Kaleidoscope, check it out on Netflix.
An Afternoon with the Cast of Back to the Future: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Tom Wilson
There is no doubt that this panel was the highlight of most of those in attendance on the final day of Fan Expo Philadelphia. Before the guests of honor took to the stage, fans participated in a fun, BTTF-themed “Would You Rather?” game. I don’t know, I still think George McFly would be funny to have as a parent, but that’s just me (and 39% of the crowd).
As a fan of the Back To The Future trilogy, it was a real treat to actually be in the same room with legendary Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Philadelphia native Tom Wilson (“What are YOU lookin’ at, butthead?”). During the introductions, Fox gave the crowd a scare when he lost his balance and fell after taking a bow, something that he shrugged off and powered through. He has shown, and continues to show, his grace and sense of humor in the face of Parkinson’s disease, something that he has been living with for over thirty years.
The trio shared stories and memories from their experience making the movies with Wilson noting that they were released at the perfect time when home video was blossoming and people could watch the movies over and over and just fall in love with them. People became obsessed with them, I being one of them. As a kid, the Back To The Future franchise was my absolute favorite. Hearing the actors talk about what went into the characters and writing was really special. Admittedly, I knew less about Tom Wilson, other than he played Biff, Griff, and Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen, but the guy is hilarious and underrated. Anyone that comes out on stage and just belts out an a cappella version of “Philadelphia Freedom” is a-okay in my book.
Aside from Back To The Future, Michael J. Fox recently was the subject of a documentary on Apple TV called Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, released last month. More information about his foundation and to see how you can help in the research of Parkinson’s Disease, visit the official website.
All in all, Fan Expo Philadelphia did not disappoint! We are looking forward to next year and seeing who will show up!
Tickets for FAN EXPO Philadelphia 2024 (May 3-5, 2024) are available now. Take advantage of early bird (Robin?) prices via the official website. See you there!