Preview: C2E2 2019 Starts Friday, and it’s Time to Choose Your Own Adventure!

The great thing about being a nerd is that there are many things you can be a nerd about. Maybe you love comics, knitting or Dungeons & Dragons. Or maybe you’re just biding your time until the season premiere of Game of Thrones and can’t stop singing the songs from the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maybe you’re racing home to get in a few rounds of Overwatch, Smash Bros. Ultimate or NBA Jam. Maybe you love Pixar films or love cosplay, tabletop games or theater. There’s a “nerddom” for everyone, and lucky for us, C2E2 tends to cater to a wide variety of us.

That’s also why it’s necessary to carve out your own path for good times when you attend C2E2, which begins this Friday morning and runs straight on through Sunday at 5. We’ve done some of the work for you though, and bring you a choose-your-own adventure look at some of the highlights in this year’s 10th anniversary edition of C2E2. Circle your faves, consult with the main schedule to add things we might have missed, and look for us on the floor!  Let’s begin:



If you’ve managed to find parking and hit the doors by 10:30 you’re already acing the con. Congratulate yourself and check out some of the very first activities of the 2019 show!

The announcement of big Doctor Who names was a big hit back when we broke the news, and even with a Matt Smith cancellation that’s caused us some sorrow, we’re super excited that David Tennant and John Barrowman are still on the list. To that end, we’re more than motivated to get in the Doctor Who spirit early.

If you’re like us, get the Whovian fun rolling early with some interesting discussion in Sorting Fair Play Throughout the Universe: Doctor Who and Inclusion , a panel featuring Raks Geek founder Dawn Xiana Moon and Raks Geek performer Michi Trota along with Gordon Dymowski, Shira Raider and Cristal Martinez, is set up to celebrate all things new and diverse in the Whoverse in S405a from 11:00 to noon


If you want to get a jump start, stop by the Mario Kart 64 tournament in the Gaming Zone (whose video game side is run by local I Play Games) on the show floor starting at 11 am and sign yourself up for some shell-lobbing, banana peelouts.


The Kids Costume Showcase is from 12:30 to 1:15 and you’re really missing out if you don’t come by Family HQ with a camera to capture little Batmen and Spidermen, tiny Captain Marvels and Wonder Women and everything in between.


If you grew up on classic video game franchises and can still hear someone screaming “MORTAL KOMBAAT!” in the distance sometimes, you should head to The Making of Mortal Kombat 11 with Chicago based NetherRealm Studios 12:45 to 1:45 on the Main Stage (S406) -it’s a global sensation that’s got local roots, so consider finding out about the latest title in the series and how it was made ahead of its expected April 23rd release.

Breckin Meyer will play games with you if you check out his time with Jackbox Games on the C2E2 Live Stage from 1:00 to 1:45, and the fantastic folks from Acrobatica Infiniti will be on hand from 1:15 to 2:15 on the Cosplay Stage (also on the main show floor) to help you figure out how to become your cosplay. 


If you’re an anime aficionado, you’ll want to be there for the industry panels, beginning with VIZ Media’s from 1:30 to 2:30 in S404, which will feature guests Cherami Leigh and Robbie Daymond.

If you’re a nerd/collector, Diamond Select Toys is a name you should know. They’re known to be top notch among toymakers in creating fantastic collectibles from your favorite franchises, and this year, they’ve got a panel from 1:45 to 2:45 in S403 talking about their upcoming products, which will include franchises like Star Trek, Kingdom Hearts III, Castlevania and The Iron Giant. If you’re looking for more fantastic memorabilia to display on  your shelves (so many shelves!) then make this panel a priority so you can figure out what and when to pre-order.


If you’re a huge fan of Overwatch or an aspiring voice actor, head to the Women of Overwatch panel from 2:00 to 3:00 on the Main Stage. It features Lucie Pohl, the voice of Mercy, Carolina Ravassa, who voices Sombra, and Jennifer Hale, who among many other iconic video game voice roles, is the voice of Ashe. Then, jump straight into the Gaming Zone for the Overwatch tournament, which starts at 3.

Otherwise, if you’d like to see two local titans in Chicago nerd culture duke it out, watch as Cards Against Humanity takes on Jackbox Games in the Party Pack favorite Tee K.O, which kicks off at 2:15 to 3:15 in S402

Anime fans can find out the latest from Funimation and catch the announcement of a new sci-fi flick when the Director of Afro Samurai Reveals New Sci-Fi Film with Funimation panel starts at 2:45 to 3:45 in S404, while aspiring writers and comic book fans can hear Lucy Knisley speak about her life in comics with Lucy Knisley: My Life in Comics (So Far) kicks off from 3:00 to 4:00 in S405b.


If you’re someone, like us, who’s still singing the “Nations of the World” with Yakko and throwing out the occasional “Helloooooo Nurse!” you should not miss Try to Take Over The Con! Animaniacs Voice Cast Reunion on the C2E2 Live Stage from 3:00 to 3:30 (though fans take note–the full cast will have a larger panel on a later day)

Freaks and Geeks hits the spotlight of the Main Stage panel room from 3:15 to 4:15 with Martin Starr and John Francis Daley, and folks who are psyched for the Championships of Cosplay will find Yaya Han chatting it up with her fans and talking Competition finals in her panel from 4:00 to 4:30 on the Live Stage.

Round out your evening with Clickhole: Live! at the Cards Against Humanity Comedy Theater from 6 to 7 (if you’re 18+, of course) ,then push the limits of human endurance with some After Dark events or hit the hay to do it all again the next day.



Before you know it, Friday’s melded into Saturday and there’s a whole new list of adventures to be had.

If you’re up and at ‘em early enough, start out your day with Cosplay on the Cheap at the Cosplay Central Stage from 10:45 to 11:45. It’s a great way to figure out how you can break into the cosplay scene or find ways to do a lot with a little if you’re already a cosplayer.


If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool horror fan, you should make sure not to miss the premiere screening of four brand new shorts celebrating ALIEN’s 40th anniversary on the Main Stage from 11:00 to noon.

Alternatively, get into a conversation about representation with From Sulu to Rose Tico: Celebrating and Fighting for Asian-Americans in Geek Culture. This panel includes Dawn Xiana Moon and Michi Trota of local nerdy/fantastic bellydance troupe Raks Geek speaking on their own experiences and shouldn’t be missed. This panel kicks off at 11 and runs through noon in S405b

Dungeons, Dice & Everything Nice, who we talked to at last year’s con, returns for a panel at 11:30 to 12:30 at the Cards Against Humanity Theater in S402.


If you’re ready for a sit-down for a bit, check out the Cast Panel and Premiere Screening for AMC’s Into the Badlands from 11:45 to 1:15 in S404 and take the opportunity to rest, rehydrate and update your social media. (#thirdcoastreview to say hello!)


If you’re like, totally excited about the cast of Clueless being on scene, then you’re going to need to make sure you don’t miss the Clueless Reunion Panel, set for 12:15 to 1:15 on the Main Stage. It features Paul Rudd, Alicia Silverstone, Donald Faison and Breckin Meyer and if we had to guess we’d say you should probably get there a little early to make sure you don’t miss it.


If you’re interested in Chicago history and love video games, check out the Pac-Man’s Chicago Roots panel from 1:00 to 1:30 on the C2E2 Live Stage.

At 1:30 on the Main Stage, Twisted Toonz presents National Lampoon’s Vacation. This is a sort of “retelling” of the story using the original script but subbing the original actors’ voices with a phenomenal cast of voice actors who are sure to bring something hysterical and new to the already funny film. Look for James Arnold Taylor, EG Daily, Nolan North, Rob Paulsen, Jess  Harnell, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Jennifer Hale to star.

Freaks and Geeks fans who didn’t get enough from the Friday panel never fear. Get to the Main Stage at 2:00 to 2:30 and rendezvous with John Francis Daley and Martin Starr again (or for the very first time).


Jackbox Games hosts a panel with “Friends” beginning at 3. Last year’s panel brought the announcement of You Don’t Know Jack’s return, so look out for this one.

Then, prime your Whovian hearts for John Barrowman’s spotlight panel. There is never a dull moment with Barrowman on site, and we can’t wait to see what hijinks ensue. Whether you’re a Doctor Who fan or not, this may well be the most…dynamic celebrity you’ll see on stage, so think about getting a seat when the panel begins at 3:15 on the Main Stage

At 3:30, Mortified! Is Live at C2E2, and if you haven’t already experienced the show, don’t miss it. Mortified is a dramatic reading of the worst moments (or at least the most embarassing) of people’s young lives. Diaries and love notes are fair game, and while it’s great for laughs and shared misery, it’s also often poignant and heartwarming. The C2E2 version includes Eric Garneau and Katie Johnston Smith who we know from the Nerdologues.

If you’re curious about tabletop storytelling, find out more about gamemastering RPGs with the How To (Not) Suck At Tabletop Storytelling panel in S503 at 3:45. Topics discussed will include gamemastering tips and tricks and the panelists include Rick Heinz and Benjamin Riggs from Geek & Sundry.

Shortly thereafter, make sure you head to the C2E2 Live Stage where Svengoolie will be in residence for a 40th Anniversary Fun Live! Show that will run through 5:15.

Those looking for a show can catch a special screening of N0S4A2, AMC’s new supernatural horror title, on the Main Stage from 4:30 to 5:30 and be among the first to see it.


If you aren’t a floor fatality yet, meander to the Kombat Legends: The Kast of Mortal Kombat 1 & 2 panel in S404, which features–you guessed it–the full Mortal Kombat C..Kast. Running from 5:15 to 6:15, this cast is a fun group that’s dynamic and has some great stories, so if you’re at all a fan, check this one out.

Top off your evening in outer space when you check out Improvised Star Trek in the Cards Against Humanity Theater from 6 to 7, and then brace yourselves, because the biggest evening event of the con is about to begin.

Saturdays at C2E2 mean the C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay and whether or not you’re in the scene it’s an event worth attending. This isn’t a local cosplay competition–it’s global, and includes the winners of individual con competitions all through ReedPop’s properties. These cosplayers spend months and years on the giant, elaborate showpieces you’ll find here, and experiencing them in person is something you shouldn’t miss. Note that you must activate your badge and reserve a seat at the competition in order to be able to attend that evening, and event staff will scan badges to ensure you’ve done so. It’s a little work for a big payoff, so remember to think ahead.

Sunday still has big things in store, so run back home and put up your feet so you’ll regain your energy.


While it’s true the con winds down on Sunday, this year the clever C2E2 staff stacked the day with big name panels and events to make sure you see C2E2 through. Let’s discuss what you should catch before you take those shoes off and soak your feet.

If you’re curious about how to break into game streaming,think about attending the Abdallah Smash panel YouTube Gaming is my Career: AMA and think of any things you might need to know. This panel runs from 11:00 to noon in S405b.


If you love Doctor Who, Jessica Jones or British TV in some capacity, you’ll be with us, queuing (as they call it across the pond) to attend the David Tennant Spotlight, which takes place from 11:00 am to noon. As wibbly wobbly as time may be, we suggest you consider allotting plenty of timey-wimey to get up to the Main Stage panel room lines if you plan to catch the Tenth Doctor taking the stage.


The Browncoats among us should check out the Summer Glau spotlight to talk Firefly, Castle, Arrow and anything else fans can think of. This panel also runs from 11:00 to noon in S403 and thus conflicts with the David Tennant Spotlight, so if you’re a Whedonite and a Whovian a heartrending decision must be made.

Editor’s Note: As a fan of both the Whedonverse and Doctor Who, my solemn warning to fans who are wishing to attend either of these panels is to go upstairs early and prepare for huge lines. There were more than a few full panels last year and we expect these will be, too.

Meanwhile, the Clueless cast reunites again, this time on the Live Stage down on the show floor for a half hour of fun from 12 to 12:30. Check that out


Find out how you can incorporate gaming into your academic career by attending the panel of the same name from 12 to 1:00 in S403.

If neither floats your boat, ship over to the Main Stage again at 12:15 when the hour-long Animaniacs panel begins, featuring the full cast of the show. Faboo!

The Overwatch Voice Actors take the Live Stage from 12:30 to 1 on Sunday, and Ming Na Wen gets her closeup with a Spotlight panel on the Main Stage beginning at 1:30.

Anime fans will want to ensure they include Crunchyroll’s Industry panel at 2:30 in S403 in their plans, and those looking to wind down with a screening can check out Adult Swim’s presentation of Your Pretty Face is Going To Hell from 2:45 to 3:45.

A final cosplay showcase with locals We Are Cosplay hits the Cosplay stage at 4, and with that, you’ve successfully made your way through this year’s C2E2.

This represents a small selection of the panels and entertainment available at this year’s con, so don’t forget to check out C2E2’s full panel schedule and events calendar to find out more about fan meetups, After Dark events, escape rooms and tabletop and video game tournaments. You might also wish to consider downloading the handy app,which will help you keep track of what’s happening. We hope you’re as excited for this year’s C2E2 as we are, and that you’ll keep this preview handy as a quick reference throughout the con. We’ll keep you updated with video, social media, cosplay galleries and panel catchups for each day of the con.  See you there,nerds!

Note: Guests appearing and panel times may change, so while we hope you use our handy guide to your advantage, we also recommend you consult the app or online panel schedule.




Marielle Bokor
Marielle Bokor