Well, it’s been a busy weekend for us at Third Coast, and our feet have felt better. But this year’s C2E2 was packed with awesome stuff, and we’re glad we got a chance to see it. More people than we’ve seen at any past C2E2 jam-packed the floor 2 out of the 3 days of the con, and while there were some definite growing pains logistically, the guests and panels were the best they’ve ever been, and we can’t wait to see what happens next year.
Here’s some of the highlights from each day of the con. And when you’re done checking this out, don’t forget to stop by our C2E2 cosplay gallery page to see the amazing costumes that walked the floor!
The first day of the con was heavy on awesome celebrity panels. Wil Wheaton was one of Friday’s spotlight guests, and some of our favorite things about his panel were simple. Wil Wheaton isn’t a celebrity who played a character on a nerd favorite show- he’s the real deal. During his stage time, he talked about D&D, tabletop gaming, Star Trek and more with an obvious passion for those pursuits. He also talked a lot about being marginalized and bullied, reminding anyone in the room who ever experienced things like that that Harry Potter was bullied by his own family, and “no matter what you like, or what makes you different, and who makes fun of you for it…there’s a place where that thing makes you awesome.” Wheaton’s honesty and care for his fans made him one of our favorites of the weekend.
Next up Friday, we checked out Zachary Levi’s spotlight. Levi turned out to be a big, lanky live wire. He, too, brought a genuine kindness to the stage, as he launched straight into a zany Q&A which could go from serious to silly in seconds. Topics discussed were Hollywood and religion, whether Chuck was a Matrix prequel (it wasn’t, was it? No, probably not… says Levi.) and some of Levi’s more recent pursuits, including Thor and She Loves Me, and going back to Tangled. He was a consummate entertainer and amazingly fun energy, and anyone who missed out on his panel missed a ton of laughs.
Saturday was star-studded, and included appearances from Evanna Lynch of Harry Potter fame, Winnie the Pooh himself, Jim Cummings, and Veronica Taylor, the voice of Ash Ketchum of Pokemon notoriety. In fact, so many people turned out for this day of the con that we experienced our first real sign of C2E2s growing pains. Every single lot available at McCormick Place filled, and backflow was being sent to Soldier Field. This wouldn’t have been so bad for drivers trying to get to their favorite events had the McCormick Place signs on 18th and 31st street warned drivers of the issue, but there were no “lot full” indications even on electrical signs, so many people waited in line for quite a while before finding lots coned off. Inside, the show floor was absolutely packed, almost to an uncomfortable capacity, making us hope that next year, the show will expand its territory in McCormick even more, perhaps even breaking up vendors into 2 halls with wider walkways a la Wizard World.
We caught up with the Crown Championship of Cosplay contestants in their pre-championship interviews on the mainstage and learned more about the hours of work and months/years of planning put into them, and wished them all luck.
We also caught Evanna Lynch on C2E2’s Live stage on the floor, and heard some tales of her time on Potter, and her fanatacism for it even before she had the role, including a campout at a store in Ireland waiting for the fifth book to release that turned out to be pretty lonely. Lynch very much identifies with her Potter persona, Luna Lovegood, in that she too felt awkward and ostracized, and so it means that much more to her, she says, when fans tell her that she gave them the courage to be who they are.
Sunday, parking again overflowed, and floors were again overfull, but we came more prepared. The crowd crush was no real surprise though, since Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things was one of the day’s panel spotlights.
Our first stop was Always Forward, with Mike Colter (aka Luke Cage of the eponymous show). Colter was as chill and effusive as we’d hoped, and covered a variety of topics, including his love for the show’s soundtrack (which we agree, was epic.) He also touched on political topics here and there, from the drug industry’s nefarious ways to racism and women’s rights, saying that he’s always been surrounded by strong women, and that independent women are sexy. If he hadn’t had the room swooning already, he certainly did by this point.
He also talked a little bit about his long distance love affair with his hammock and some theoretical crossovers between the characters in the Marvel Universe that fans have been longing for (Punisher and Luke Cage, anyone?), not confirming anything but certainly giving us something to look forward to in the new season.
Later that day, we got our Stranger Things fix when we caught “Gaming with the Stranger Things Kids” and got to hear an interview with Gaten Matarazzo, also known as fan favorite, Dustin, as he also tried to learn playing classic 80’s Atari game, Joust. Gaten was just as smiley and wonderful as we’d hoped, and incredibly funny to boot, at one point foiling the interviewer, who’d gone off on a rant regarding Lord of the Rings and a simpler solution to the ring problem by saying “It’s called PLOT DEVELOPMENT!” It’s clear Gaten loves his role and everything about his time on the show, and wasn’t even a bit surprised that there was going to be a second season, though he was, he said, surprised he got to be on the show in the first place. We can’t wait to see how things go for Season 2 this October.
As always, C2E2 was full of amazing things. It seems it’s grown immensely just from last year to this one, and the caliber and quantity of guests has gone up exponentially. This is really exciting for a con that we already loved, and we hope it keeps its friendly roots as it keeps expanding. Our hopes for next year is that some of the logistical issues are fixed and the floor gets expanded to accommodate larger crowds, but nothing stopped us from having a great time, whether that was shopping, admiring awesome costumes, or checking out the amazing array of stars available to chat at the panels. We’ll be excited as ever to see what’s on the schedule next year, and be there bright and early to check it out.