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  • Marielle Bokor

The 2023 Fan Expo Choose Your Own Adventure Preview is HERE!

Get in, losers! It’s time for another convention!


Lace up your comfiest shoes, get all hydrated and bring fat stacks of cash to Rosemont this weekend (and today!) for Fan Expo Chicago! Formerly Wizard World, this con boasts all the merch and plenty of fun activities for people who enjoy all manner of nerdy things from tabletop games to video games, anime, cosplay, movies, K-Pop, comics, TV and more.


If we’re being honest the change from Wizard World to Fan Expo hasn’t seemed too drastic, with the format, basic setup and even quite a bit of the guest list being what we’ve come to expect for better or worse, but there’s never a year that goes by we don’t find something new to enjoy so let’s get straight to business and start getting ready to choose our own con adventure, shall we?


Remember folks, this is just our curated look at events - make sure to peep the full panel schedule in case there's something truly delightful to you that might be lurking there.



Thursday, August 10th


Where Thursday was oftentimes wrestle-heavy and otherwise lackluster, they’ve packed in some real goodies to this not quite weekend kickoff. The show opens at 2 pm for VIPs and press with the floor opening to 4pm for everyone else, and here’s what you can expect.


If you’re into anime, and want to ease yourself into a weekend of walking, eating, and buying merch, why not settle in to watch Bleach Episodes 1-3 in Rm 33-34 beginning at 3:45 pm.


If you’re a fan of Avatar the Last Airbender, park your air bison outside Rm 21-23 at 5:00 pm for All About Honor: Meet Dante Basco to hear tales from the Fire Nation and beyond.


OR


If you prefer even more anime, head to Rm 33-34 for Discussing Deku! Meet My Hero Academia’s Justin Briner.


If you were raised on the classics, it’s-a time to head over to Rm 21-23 at 6pm for Mario Party (the name of the panel, not the actual game) with the man himself, Charles Martinet and Kenny James.


Meanwhile, if you’re a fellow Trekkie, you’ll need to make sure you’re in Rm 21-23 at 7pm to see some dipshit from Chicago, Todd Stashwick, as he takes the stage after his heart-capturing performances as Shaw on Picard’s final season.



BUT


If you’re an animation lover, you could also decide to head to Rm 4 for And Now a Word From our Sponsor: The Top Ten Animated Advertising Icons of All Time.


If you really want to kick things off right, there’s some after dark events you can partake of that are particularly interesting this evening too, with an 8:30 pm Drink’ N Draw in Rm 4


OR


The Rocky Horror Bingo Show (18+) in Rm 5-6 which combines karaoke, the entire cult classic film AND karaoke.


OR


If you like your nerdy with a heaping helping of sexy, try out Critical Strike Nerdlesque’s Variety Show in Rm 21-23. It’s a ticketed event ($20) but as anyone who’s seen nerdlesque knows, it’s likely well worth it.




Friday August 11


Nothing like starting off with a bang, and though it’s technically not the first day of the convention, it’s the first full day,and Fan Expo is comin’ on strong right out of the gates.


If you’re not a morning person, you might have to pose as one, and with the stacking of interests and celeb guests at 11 am, we recommend arriving earlier than you want to to ensure you get in, on the floor and out to the panel rooms if you’re hoping to catch any of these first 4 options.


For anime fans, 11 am brings “It’s Too Early for an Anime Panel” in Theater 3 (Rm 33-34)


OR


For Pokemon enthusiasts who want to get in a healthy debate, there’s “Let’s Discuss the Best Pokemon of Fan Expo” on the Creator Stage


OR


For those who love animation and voice actors - try out Too Many to Count! All the Voices of Tara Strong in Theater 2 (Rm 21-23).


OR EVEN


Report to the Main Theater to rendezvous with Data himself for the Brent Spiner Spotlight.


Then, whatever you chose, take some time to get a bite and walk the floor.



At 1pm, voice actor fans and video game enthusiasts alike will enjoy The Man of Many Voices: Meet Dee Bradley Baker in Theater 2


BUT


Anyone without a time machine will need to jump out just a bit early to get BACK TO IT with the Christopher Lloyd spotlight over in the Main Theater at 1:45 pm.


2:00 brings another packed block. Choose your adventure, noble friend!


Anime fans will not want to miss From Aleks to Zenitsu: Demon Slayer Q and A in Theater Room 3 with Aleks Le, who plays Zenitsu


OR


Shop local for your fun with the Logan Theater’s Trivia at the HQ Red Carpet.


OR


If you’re into gaming and voice acting, go hang with David Hayter for A Conversation with David Hayter in Rm 21-23.



Then at 4:45, get your bodies ready for an Out of this World CONversation with Giancarlo Esposito, Katee Sackhoff and Emily Swallow in the Main Theater.


OR


Take yourself to see the Robocop himself with a Spotlight on Peter Weller at 5pm in Rm 21-23.


If you love tabletop gaming or comedy, try out Improv Dungeons and Dragons in Fandom Panels Room 11


OR


If you came to get down with some K-Pop, get down to the HQ Red Carpet at 6pm for K-Pop Karaoke.




Saturday, August 12th


You all know the drill about conventions on Saturdays. This is the marathon, and you’ve gotta pack your snacks, prep your footsies and charge your electronics to make it through everything Fan Expo has in store. Why? Let’s begin.


Say ‘Eyyyyyyyy’ to one of TV’s legends, Henry Winkler, if you can get yourself up and at ‘em to be at Fan Expo by 10:45 and make your way to the Main Theater.


OR


Make your way under the sea for a Disney legend’s appearance as Jodi Benson takes the stage for Part of Your World: Meet Jodi Benson in Rm 21-23.


Horror fans can delight in the presence of some true horror royalty with the A Family Affair: Spotlight on Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi in the Main Theater if they can stomach getting out before dark at 11:45 am and face the day star.



BUT


TV aficionados should not miss the 12:45pm Spotlight on Lou Diamond Philips and Dermot Mulroney in the Main Theater.


OR


If anime’s more your jam, hang out in Theater 3 at 1pm for the Fire, Ice… and Boom! My Hero Academia Q and A with Clifford Chapin and David Matranga.


OR EVEN


Get back in that time machine and head back to Talking with Tom Wilson at 1:00pm.


At 1:45 pm, Tangled, Shazam and Chuck fans should make their way to the Main Theater for A Charming Conversation with Zachary Levi


And at 2, anime fans will need to be in Theater 2 (Rm 21-23) for The One Piece is Real! Q and A with the Anime Voice Cast.


Boldly go to Theater 2 at 3pm for a close encounter with Michelle Hurd


AND


Make sure not to miss The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Spotlight on Danny Trejo as he takes the stage in the main theater at 4:45 for a nice well-rounded panel day.


If you’re a fan of Geek and Sundry, or just Felicia Day in general, it’ll be time to geek out with Geeking Out with Felicia Day in that same Main Theater at 5:45 pm


OR


If you can’t get enough Trek and you also love comedy, stop in to Theater 2 at 6pm for Starship Edsel, a hilarious Star Trek Improv show.



One more day…




Sunday, August 13th


Here’s a clue for you - big stuff happens early Sundays, beginning with…


Steve Burns: Our Childhood Hero in the Main Theater at 10:45 am. We expect this to pack out the con early, so do him proud and make sure you get there with plenty of time to get in the panel room.


OR


If TV action is more your thing, check out Kiefer Sutherland’s Spotlight in the Main Theater at 11:45 am. We’d say you can sleep a little longer but the Blue’s Clues crowd is gonna already be there in full force so it’s better if you don’t sleep on it.


Mira Sorvino will have her spotlight in Theater 2 at 12:45pm.


And just in case you thought Sundays were for nothin’, 1:45pm boasts one of the most heavily advertised events of the con, the Christmas Vacation reunion featuring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Randy Quaid and Christie Brinkle in the Main Theater at 1:45 pm - get your seats early for that or you’ll be stuck outside looking in.


OR


IF you’re anime obsessed don’t miss Total Concentration Breathing! - The Demon Slayer Voice Actor Q&A in Theater 2 at 2pm.


Then at 2:30pm, join us Whovians as we go see Laugh Hard, Run Fast, Be Kind: Life and Fandom Lessons from 60 Years of Doctor Who, put on by the amazing folks from Chicago TARDIS in the Fandom Panels Room, Room 11, at 2:30pm.


OR

If classic cult favorites are your thing, say, Dammit, Janet! Excuse me! And don’t miss the conversation of the con with Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, Cult Classic Convos, which will happen in the Main Theater at 2:45pm.


Then, let your spidey sense guide you to the awesome conclusion of Fan Expo panels with Into the Spiderverse with Shameik Moore on the Main Stage at 3:45 pm.


Remember this is just a sampling of the programming available at Fan Expo, so bookmark this with some of your faves but make sure to consult the full panel schedule, too!


Have fun out there, and keep coming back for panel catchups and cosplay galleries every day of Fan Expo!



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