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  • Marielle Bokor

Fan Expo Chicago 2023 Thursday Panel Catchup

Thursdays at Fan Expo Chicago are usually a bit low-key, with fewer guests on site and a lighter programming schedule given the shorter time frame, but this year Fan Expo really packed some things in, putting some heavy-hitters right at the front of the show.

In case you missed the announcements, the current SAG-AFTRA strike has put cons in a unique situation in which struck work should not be mentioned, making panels less about the actors’ most recent roles and more about the actors themselves, and the strike itself. And while we’d love to hear more about the things we’ve been consuming and nerding out about recently, (especially when it comes to one of Thursday’s guests, Todd Stashwick) we’re also loving the more intimate look at the actors as people.

Anyone who’s ever loved an air bison and his chosen family or a set of Lost Boys got there in time to see Dante Basco, who’s always a lively, sage and incredibly joyful person to see live. Basco’s had a long career as a voice actor and live actor, so there’s always plenty of fun stories to listen to him regale the audience with. Dante even dished out some favorite pizza places in the area, mentioning Pequods as a great place to get a slice. And while current work is off the table, Basco was able to discuss Avatar: The Last Airbender and reiterated his awe at the impact it had had on fans, something we’d heard the actor mention before at C2E2. Zuko’s role in particular is one of redemption and reflection and although Basco had previously mentioned a longing for a bit more comedy a la Sokka, he’s obviously deeply grateful to have played such a complex character with such an immense character arc.

Next on our list for Thursday was Todd Stashwick’s panel. Unfortunately, his most recent and incredibly popular role was not up for discussion, but that didn’t stop audiences from welcoming this native son, the “dipshit from Chicago '' who so accurately represented usin that role. His candor, sarcasm and exhausted nihilism earned him a spot in our hearts as soon as he got to the chair, perfectly embodying the “smile through the pain” attitude we all adopt here every single winter (and through Lolla and construction season.) But it wasn’t just his character who hails from here - Stashwick is a native son, making the trip to Fan Expo Chicago a homecoming for him. In fact, prior to hitting the stage in Rosemont, Stashwick made a journey to one of our favorite places on earth, Galloping Ghost Arcade, to get a little arcade time in. We’re not sure what’s next for Todd, but we do know that we’d love to see him again – both in his most recent role if reprisal in any form is possible or in an altogether new project once the strike is over.

As we well know, the show must go on, and go on it will! Stay tuned for Friday panel catchups to include Tara Strong, Giancarlo Esposito, Katee Sachkoff and Emily Swallow and Peter Weller, and plenty of cosplay in our daily galleries!


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