At Fan Expo Vancouver 2023, the many choices of what one can choose to focus on is wide and varied. When you stick around in the main staging area where all the Q&As happen, something entirely random can delight! I spent the second and third day mostly in this area since the rest of the gymnasium space was often packed.
Between the panels, I often returned to Artists Alley and also Celebrity Row in hopes of finding some time to chat with either for some neat bits of information about their next projects. Most are kind enough to share when they’re not contracted to not disclose. Even event co-founder Andrew Moyes made some time to answer my lingering questions about the con.
On the entertainment front, the CW’s lineup of superhero programming is changing since being acquired by Nexstar. And with the Arrowverse on its way out, maybe we’ll see more talents from Netflix from past hits like Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and The Adam Project. That fact hasn’t stopped the organisers from bringing back The Arrow (Steve Amell) and The Flash (Danielle Panabaker, Kayla Compton, and Candice Patton) for one last hurrah.
The talents who have a booth can show me upcoming projects. That includes comic book artists and celebrities. For example, I learned from Dante Basco that a Fabulous Filipino Brothers sequel is in the works, and he’s not stopped producing/directing. He doesn’t have any information about the Avatar: Last Airbender movies since they’re still in development, but he hopes Zuko will be back. This came from my brief chat with him, and he repeated it during his Q&A.
As for advice for future Fire Lords, he said once you become part of that world, everyone is kin. It’s a beautiful sentiment when considering the family day holiday FXV wants to connect with. He even talked about what kept him acting, and it included words of wisdom from Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman when he got his break in Hook. He fondly recalled those times with Mako, who voiced Uncle Iro (Avatar: Last Airbender).
When Anthony Daniels took to the main stage, the love was immense. Even Sean Astin, Matthew Lewis, Michael Rooker (he was the next entertaining out of the lot) and Sean Gunn had a packed house. The list doesn’t end there, and although the area set aside for audiences seemed smaller, I’d have to compare past maps to say for certain if it had or not.
In Artist’s Alley, writer/artist Faith Erin Hicks said she has two Avatar: Last Airbender books being released this year. Returning favourites include the talent pool (Ian Boothby and James Lloyd) who worked on the Futurama comic book, and I asked if there’s a chance of those will be reprinted as trades. Only 1/4 was put into this collected format. The series is slated to make a comeback, as last year’s convention had Billy West talking about it. But it’s ultimately up to Disney (who now owns all of Fox’s properties).
Other talents included Dan Parent, Don Rosa, Marcelo Matere, and many more chatting it up with their fans. Because the space was tight, I wasn’t able to get a decent snap of them conversing with fans.
BC Family Day was also declared as Pokémon Day a week before the official international one. Moyes was most likely not aware of what The Pokémon Company was planning for announcements the following week, but that’s okay. I thought of it as a fun way for Fan Expo to build up to the real one (and I finally ordered the latest Pokémon Scarlet game, since there’s now a DLC). The organisers are glad at what they say, and Andrew Moyes said, “We craft these based on what’s hot at the time, who’s appearing at the show, etc. so they’re really fresh and fun. There were some really fun elements (like this year’s Pokemon trade meetup) that we’d love to see come back, but we plan in bringing something new next year.”
I’m glad Fan Expo Vancouver 2023 is a return to full form. Last year’s event was hot off the heels of BC Health announcing the relaxing of pandemic restrictions. While some aspects can be tweaked further because this event was at capacity–especially during Saturday and Sunday–the fact it needs more space is obvious. As long as the momentum is good, hopefully it will finally fill two floors of the West Vancouver Convention Centre than one. The company is aware of what must be done. On social media, everyone is begging for it. As for the return of corporate representation as FXV has historically welcomed in the past, there’s no word yet as to who or how they’ll show a presence. The organisers did offiically say these studios and corporate partners are eager to connect face-to-face with fans though.
However, Moyes said the group is still taking a wait and see approach than to offer something firm. They still have to crunch the numbers. In the meantime, he stated, “It’s very promising to have the show in the wake of all the shared challenges we’ve all gone through. We will grow.”