Preview: The Last Wizard World Chicago

It’s here, and for Chicago-goers it’s bittersweet. Tomorrow the doors open one last time on Wizard World Chicago. We’ve had a great time over the years with this convention, covering the convention from panels and merch to your fantastic cosplay. We’re not sure what to expect out from Fan Expo, who bought out Wizard World’s convention circuit with some big promises, but we sure had fun over the years with Wizard World as it was, and plan on having fun with this October’s long-awaited shindig.  Things are running a little lighter this year, with Thursday being eliminated entirely and Friday’s full day replaced with a shorter evening of guests and goodies, but there’s still a lot of great fun to be had, and we’re hoping to give it a proper sendoff by having the most fun possible — and keeping you in the know as we do. Here’s what to look forward to if you’re planning on attending when one last Wizard World Chicago kicks off tomorrow at 3 pm (or noon, if you decided to go all out with the VIP package.)    

Friday, October 15th: 

As we mentioned, Friday is the first day of the last con. Make it a good one and get on the floor early. We expect that the shortened Friday is going to feel a lot like Wizard World Chicago’s Thursdays have in the past, which means a little more breathing room and space in the schedule of events for shopping and checking out all the cool cosplay. Of course, given the past year or so where we were more or less cut off from this sort of thing, it could be packed from the getgo. Still, if you want a taste of the action without going full bore, stop in after work for some fun.  Editors note: Celebrity appearances listed may include photo ops, panels or other events. See the full schedule to see what each star will be doing that day. Panel and event schedules are also subject to change, and this list is curated. Please see the full schedule for any updates and panels or events we may not have mentioned.

Celebrities Making Friday Appearances:

Lana Parilla (Once Upon a Time), Mark Sheppard (Supernatural), James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Steve Whitmire (The Muppets), Charles Martinet (Super Mario), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs), Paul Nakauchi (Overwatch), Chloe Hollings (Overwatch), Amanda Miller (Sailor Moon), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Roger Clark (Red Dead Redemption 2), Rob Wiethoff (Red Dead Redemption)

What Looks Interesting:

If you’re a whole family of nerds, make sure to hit the convention floor as soon as you can, as the early Friday lineup sounds amazing for kids of all ages, with things like Spongebob and Friends Puppet Making at 4:30 pm, Foam Sword Training with the Arabian Knight Armory at 5 and a pretty cool Droid Meet-Up with the Chi2-D2 Builders in the Kids Zone at 6 pm, where we’re pretty sure you couldn’t help but find the droids you’re looking for. All these great events take place in the Kids Zone, which should make it a little easier on any parents trying to make a night of it with their kids. Meanwhile, those who were faster than a speeding bullet or just got off work a little early can look forward to a conversation with Superman himself when It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane: A Conversation with Dean Cain begins at 5:00 pm on the Creative Stage, while Once Upon a Time fans may want to head out for an audience with the Queen as Lana Parilla takes to the main stage in Panel Room 5 at 5:00 pm to greet her royal subjects. If you’re a movie fan itching to discuss all things MCU, you might consider heading to Post-Thanos Stress Disorder at 5:30, but if you’re a Supernatural fan, you’re going to want to make sure you claim shotgun for the Mark Sheppard panel in Panel Room 5 at 6:00 pm Get a little gaming knowhow with a DMing for Dummies panel in Room 14 at 7:00 or hulk out when you sit in on a conversation with the green guy himself, Lou Ferrigno, who takes the Creative Stage by storm at 7 pm.  If you ever harbored a crush on a certain bleach blonde vampire, you may find James Marsters: Unplugged compelling, but note that entry requires an additional ticket, which will run you $20, and if you’re really into your evening, once it’s all done, head to Friday’s after party at the Five Roses Pub in Rosemont at 9:30 for Drink N’ Draw and Karaoke, which is a great place for artists and song ruiners alike.    

Saturday, October 16th:

As it was, so shall it be. The Wizard World Chicago Saturday scene is what most of us look forward to all year when we’re thinking of what we want to wear to it. Here’s where you’ll see the most celebrities, attend the best panels, and of course, round it all out with the annual cosplay competition, which has participants of all ages and skill levels trying to ham it up for the prize.

Celebrities Making Saturday appearances:

Sam Heughan (Outlander), Duncan Lacroix (Outlander), Stephen Amell (Arrow), Colton Haynes (Arrow), Katie Cassidy (Arrow), Matthew Lewis (Supernatural), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), Mark Sheppard (Supernatural), Melanie Scrofano (Wynonna Earp), Tim Rozon (Wynonna Earp), James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Dean Cain (Superman), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2), Jason David Frank (Power Rangers), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Steve Whitmire (The Muppets), Charles Martinet (Super Mario), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs), Paul Nakauchi (Overwatch), Chloe Hollings (Overwatch), Amanda Miller (Sailor Moon), Paige O’Hara (Beauty and The Beast), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Roger Clark (Red Dead Redemption 2), Rob Wiethoff (Red Dead Redemption). 

What Looks Interesting:

Is your body ready? After the past year and a half, we’re not sure ours are. We’ll gear up and ride out regardless, though. Saturday is what we like to call “the long con” and if you don’t wanna miss a thing you’re going to have to be an early bird.  This applies to any and all Outlander fanatics especially, as Oh Aye, Sassenach: A Conversation with Sam Heughan Featuring Duncan LaCroix will be held, appropriately, in Ballroom 23-27 beginning at 10 am If you’re more into Belle than the ball, and you’re a major Disney fanatic, make sure you’re in a good seat at 10:15 am in Panel Room 5 for More than This Provincial Life: A Conversation with Paige O’Hara of Beauty and the Beast fame. Luckily for you Disney fans, you can keep your seat in your seat for 11:15’s Just Around the River Bend with Irene Bedard in that same familiar place, Panel Room 5, if you want to hear more about this voice actor’s journey with Pocahontas. Noon seems like the real reckoning, with tons of good choices and only one you. Arrow fans can shoot over to Ballroom 23-27 at noon for the Aim High: A Conversation with Stephen Amell panel, while those who are more pumped up about Terminator 2 can attend That’s a Nice Bike: A Conversation with Robert Patrick on the Creative Stage, also at noon. Anyone who ever found that their princess was in another castle will want to run to meet the OG plumber turned hero extraordinaire with the It’s A Me, Mario! A Conversation with Charles Martinet panel in Panel Room 5 at 12:15, which will also feature Samm Levine. If you’re a Sailor Moon fanatic, don’t miss Jupiter Power, Make-Up!: A Conversation with Amanda C. Miller in Panel Room 5 at 1:30, and if you’re a cosplayer, don’t miss Diversity in Cosplay with Christopher English, Ivy Doom Kitty and Knightmage making their grand entrance to Panel Room 2 at 1:45 If you want to see the best thing ever or you’re a kid who loves to cosplay, head to the Entertainment Stage at 2 pm sharp for the official Wizard World Kids Costume Contest. You’re going to want to take pictures. Next, another hero of our childhood takes the stage in Panel Room 5 — or at least someone who’s bringing him to life, when It’s Not Easy Being Green: A Conversation with Steve Whitmire starts at 2:45 pm and we try to find the Rainbow Connection without crying our eyes out. If you love voice actors or Animaniacs or generally awesome people, don’t miss Rob Paulsen when he appears in Ballroom 23-27 at 3pm for Just Say NARF! A Conversation with Rob Paulsen, which will always involve singing, sage advice and plenty of great behind the scenes stories. Cosplayers or those who aspire to it shouldn’t miss Ivy Doomkitty’s Confidence in Cosplay Panel in Panel Room 2 at 3:45 pm, either. Kicking off the evening of events with a vampire sounds appropriate, especially in October, so Buffy fans should make sure they go to Ballroom 23-27 at 4pm for Out For A Bite: A Conversation with James Marsters. Those who never miss a match in Overwatch will want to head off to Heroes Never Die: A Conversation with Paul Nakauchi and Chloe Hollings at 4:00 pm in Panel Room 5 instead. Harry Potter fans of all houses should return to the main ballroom (23-27) at 5 for You and Whose Army: A conversation with Matthew Lewis, while those who are all about that Red Dead Redemption life will need to mosey to Panel Room 5 at 5:15 for Outlaws for Life: A Conversation with Rob Wiethoff and Roger Clark Then, to round it out, we recommend everyone attend the very last official Wizard World Costume Contest, which will be held in Panel Room 5 from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm, and always makes the whole convention for us. Can’t get enough? Walk your tired self to the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and top it off with the Official Wizard World Saturday Final Bash, which runs all the way from 9 pm to 1 am, and is not for the faint of heart or tired of feet.  

Sunday, October 17th:

Celebrity Appearances:

Duncan LaCroix (Outlander), William Shatner (Star Trek), Colton Haynes (Arrow), Katie Cassidy (Arrow), Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), Melanie Scrofano (Wynonna Earp), James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2), Jason David Frank (Power Rangers), Steve Whitmire (The Muppets), Charles Martinet (Super Mario), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs), Paul Nakauchi (Overwatch), Chloe Hollings (Overwatch), Amanda Miller (Sailor Moon), Paige O’Hara (Beauty and the Beast), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Roger Clark (Red Dead Redemption 2) and Rob Wiethoff (Red Dead Redemption) This is it. The final countdown has begun, and Wizard World Chicago will be no more once doors close today. Who knows what the coming year will bring, but let’s put away the Kleenex and try to send it off with a bang! If you’re up and willing, bring the kids in for some Super Hero Training with Spiderman and Robin at 10:15 am in the Kids Zone. If you’re a Trek fan, you’ll want to make sure you’re there a little early anyway, to ensure you get to see recent Rocket Man and your OG captain, William Shatner, when he makes his appearance back on Earth at 11 am in Panel Room 5 for To Boldly Go: A Conversation with William Shatner For any cosplay fans who might have missed her on Saturday, or those who just love to talk shop, How Cosplay Can Change The World will see Ivy Doomkitty’s return in Panel Room 2 at 11:45. Wizard World Chicago 2019. Photo: Marielle Bokor. Outlander fans who slept in or those who just can’t get enough can show up at 12:15 to Panel Room 5 for Whisky, Warfare and a Scottish Adventure: A Conversation with Duncan LaCroix. Otherwise, stick around for some morphin’, when Power Rangers alum Jason David Frank takes the stage in Panel Room 5 for It’s Morphin’ Time: A Conversation with Jason David Frank at 2:45 pm. For something more local and spooky, pop in to Haunted Chicago with the Windy City Ghostbusters in Panel Room 1 at 3:30. Then, walk the floor one last time and take in the sights, because it’s closing time.  We’ve always enjoyed Wizard World Chicago and are glad we’ve been able to bring you all the fun. Look out for our daily cosplay galleries and panel coverage all weekend long, and join us for our coverage of whatever Fan Expo may have in store for us in Chicago next year. Then come hang out with us for Chicago TARDIS and C2E2 later this year, too. We’ll see you on the floor! Come with your best costumes and all your October cheer, let’s make this a banner year!
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Marielle Bokor