C2E2 2020, Sunday @ McCormick Place. Photo: Aaron Cynic 2021 has been weird, and there’s nothing weirder than saying “It’s convention season in Chicago” in early to mid-December, but we’re fresh off Chicago TARDIS, Wizard World was bumped up against Halloween and here we are in the middle of the holiday season heading to McCormick Place for C2E2. This year, as you’d expect, things are a little different, with COVID precautions at the forefront, digital access for those who want to attend but don’t feel comfortable hitting the convention floor just yet, and a bit of a pared down guest list and programming schedule. Not to worry though, as there’s still something for everyone, which brings us to the return of our C2E2 Choose Your Own Adventure preview once again, after a year’s hiatus! Get your comfy shoes, vaxx cards and water bottles ready, as things kick off tomorrow at 10 am! 

Friday, December 10

You know C2E2 doesn’t like to start off slow with any half days, and that’s true this year too, as the festivities kick off at 10 am.  Let's a go, then! C2E2 2020. Photo: Aaron Cynic Gamers with a competitive streak will want to show up to the Gaming Zone, once again hosted by Chicago’s own I Play Games for the Halo 4 Tournament which will start at 11 am BUT Cosplayers who might qualify as geriatric snake people might want to scoot over to the Cosplay Central Stage at 11 am instead though, for Over 30 Cosplay, which will help you get brave enough to get out there and have fun in costume while you combat age stereotypes. OR Local beer aficionados and artists should get their first look at The Yard on the show floor by 11:30 am, where the Anti-Hero Sip & Sketch is sure to be a great time.  Take some time to get familiar with your surroundings and maybe grab some food for lunch, and if you’re a cosplayer, head back to the Cosplay Central Stage by 1:00 pm for Cosplay on a Budget: A How To, which will help you look your best while not breaking the bank. OR  If you’re an anime lover, you might want to hit up S402 at 1:15pm for CrunchyRoll’s To Your Eternity Episodes 1-3 screening. C2E2 2020. Photo: Marielle Bokor THEN If you’re a family of nerds with kids who love cosplay, don’t skip the Kids Cosplay Showcase from 2:15 to 3:00 at Family HQ on the show floor, where your kids can show off their amazing outfits — just remember to show up a little early as space is limited. OR  If you’re a comedy lover, educator or local, don’t miss Improv in the Classroom in S504A, in which Second City trained improvisers will walk participants through simple improv games that can be used in any classroom. Then at 4:15, if you’re a Sailor Moon fan, you’re going to want to make sure you’re in a seat in S404 to see Amanda C. Miller (Sailor Jupiter) and Cristina Vee (Sailor Mars) for a great panel where they’ll be answering fan questions.  OR  If epic space TV is more your speed, head to S406 for The Expanse ft. Wes Chatham and Steven Strait, where they’ll discuss the hit Amazon show ahead of its new season debut. OR Educate yourself and be a socially conscious nerd by attending the Amplifying Black Voices and Bold Stories in Comics and Creative Tech panel in S503 at 4:15 pm, where you’ll get a chance to hear the creators of Jupiter Invincible, a brand new augmented reality comic book, speak on their process. FROM THERE, if you’re a Power Rangers fan, you’d better go go to S404 in time for the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Cast Q&A, and there’ll be four members of the original cast there to talk to fans. OR If you’re an OG comic fan find out Why Chicago is Comics Town in S503 at 5:45.    C2E2 2020. Photo: Marielle Bokor LATER, If you’re into podcasts and whether you’ve seen them before or not, we recommend heading to Podlander Drunkcast: an Outlander Podcast Live where you can get into some really weird drunken bawdiness with a live crowd beginning at 7 pm in S403! OR If you’re a theater kid or just a shower screamer and you’re feeling brave, head over to C2E2 Late Night Karaoke in S402 at 7:15 and sing your heart out.  BUT If you’d rather just hear a great concert with some cool pop culture backdrop, head over to the 8-Bit Wave: Video Game and Anime Concert at 7:45 pm on the S406 Main Stage OR If you’d rather mess up all your childhood memories, go ahead and take on Your Childhood Ruined: Dirty Cartoon Moments but just don’t say anyone didn’t warn you when you get your seat to nightmares at 8:30 in S403. 

Saturday, December 11

It's Saturday, kids! Hope you didn’t stay up too late last night because the panel schedule doesn’t wait for you, nor do those incredible dice you saw in the vendor hall yesterday. Gird your loins and get in there, cuz we’re not stopping til the carpets roll up on the final dawn of the final..well you get the idea .The party don’t stop. If you’re a nostalgic child of the 80’s and 90’s then maybe you keep your pajamas on and head out for Saturday Morning Cartoons in S402 at 11, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like and is a nice way to ease into the biggest day of the con. BUT 11 am is the hardest time of all. Any gamer is going to have some hard choices to make at 11, because in either case there are amazing panels on classic games with local celebs, and we’re honestly still not sure what we’re going to do about it. Mortal Kombat: Behind The Kombat is in S404 at 11 and features the original actors from Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 and a lot of great tidbits from the creation of the game.  BUT  Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon with Tim Lapetino, who co-created the Nom Nom exhibit at Chicago Gamespace we covered earlier this year and wrote the book of the same name will be in S405B for a panel talking about the history of Pac-Man and how it has ties right here in Chicago.  OR  For cosplayers at 11, we recommend Cosplaying While Black-Chicago on the Cosplay Central Stage and it touches on a lot of important topics that everyone should hear more about including race identity and representation.  BUT  If you just can’t help but love Twilight, your 11 am destination is the Main Stage where there’s a Twilight Cast Q&A in S406 OR  If you’re into Japanese culture and want to experience something beautiful and traditional make your way to S504A for a Japanese Tea Ceremony featuring the Japanese Culture Center. OR AGAIN If you messed up your back howling "Hungry Like the Wolf" at Late Night Karaoke and you need to stretch it out, why not head to the Family HQ for YogaQuest’s Star Wars narrated yogic adventure.  It’s a great way to experience yoga for the first time if you’ve been anxious and honestly a decent thing to do for your body if you’ve got one more day of convention to subject it to. Gamers or those who love to watch speedrunners on stream can hit The Yard on the the show floor at noon when Super Mario Bros 2 & 3 Speedruns happen and get some tips on how to start running it yourself.  OR Cartoon maniacs or film nerds can hit up Twisted Toonz Presents: Planes, Trains and Automobiles in S406 at the stroke of 12:30 pm, and be treated to a very reimagined delivery of a movie you might already love and will probably end up loving more after going. Comic fans and artists alike can head to S401 at 12:45 for the Rob Liefeld Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Deadpool and X-Force Panel.  BUT If you’d rather be headed to a game with your best dice and snacks in tow, hit up The Path of a Hero: A D&D Choose Your Own Adventure, also at 12: 45 in S405A that’ll take you places your average gaming session may not.  OR If you are someone who could use a good story read to them by some truly great performers who will absolutely delight, you should head over to Family HQ for the Drag Queen Story Hour with local drag talent Muffy Fishbasket and friends. LATER ON If you’re into martial arts or Japanese culture, you should head to S402  at 2 pm for an Aikido and Iaido demonstration that may just get you into a new hobby. OR If you’re more likely to spend hours recreating someone’s armor than leaping into the battle think about PROP SHOP TALK WITH THE WOMEN OF SHEPROP! Which features members of the prop-making forum for women trans and non-binary artists talking about the feeling of being an outsider in the maker forums and how to overcome it while making amazing cosplay art objects over on the Cosplay Central Stage on the show floor at 2 pm.  OR If you’re taking that nostalgic cartoon or anime timeline for a run, hit up the Amanda C. Miller Spotlight in S401 at 2:15 to talk all things Sailor Moon and Boruto If your course is more clearly illuminated by the Force, then your chosen path is the Star Wars Make-and-Take with Chicago Force which is in Family HQ at 2:15 and see you walking away with a pride in your crafting skills and something Star Wars related you made yourself.  BUT If you’re a d20 die-hard your quest location is S503 and you’ll be Designing Tabletop RPGs at 2:15pm on this day with game designers Matt Forbeck and Kenneth Hite providing some mentorship. AND If your truest nerd form is a MAJORLY OBSESSED wrestling fan, then you’re going to be there for All Elite Wrestling Invades C2E2 which takes over the Main Stage in S406 at 2:30 so why am I even bothering to tell you about it, since you’re probably already planning your early morning lineup to make sure you get a spot. BUT If it’s more of a general nostalgia rush you’re after, try out 3:45’s Cursed Commercials from Around the World in S403 for some truly bizarre and eerie ads.  OR If you’re looking to do some good while you’re here head to S503 at 3:45 for Celebrating and Creating Diversity in Pop Culture and help be part of the change.  If you’re a music nerd or 8-bit nerd or someone who wants to hear something neat, then you should head to 8-Bit Wave’s Video Game and Anime Concert if you’d missed it Friday night. It’ll be on the Main Stage S406 at 4pm sharp OR There’s the Genshin Impact Spotlight in S404 at 5 if that suits you better.  ALSO At 5:15 in S401 The Nacelle Company, behind hits like The Toys that Made Us, talk about pop culture for a bit of nostalgia.  OR  Get social, happy and competitive with local geniuses Jackbox Games and Friends for a panel in S403 at 5:15, a party pack and maybe some announcements on new stuff that’s about to drop (Hey, it’s happened before!) BUT If your heart still wants some Walter White deep down, maybe head to S406 at 5:30 when Giancarlo Esposito shows up for his spotlight.  Next, if you’re into esports and aren’t sure how to continue being into it, or if you’ve always been curious to learn more about it, check out DePaul University’s Competitive Gaming in College panel in S503 at 6:45.  Getting into mainstream Main Stage stuff, next up is a bit of a different bit of programming for C2E2 than we’ve seen in years past, with the Crown Championships of Cosplay subbed out for the C2E2 Cosplay Celebration, which will be on the Main Stage in S406 at 7:30 pm but is specific to this convention on after a circuit change. Once you’ve had your fill of that if you’re still around and feeling funky (and you’re 18+) you can head over to the more colorful side of things with the WTF Japan panel in S404 starting at 8:15 that’ll have you looking at things you can’t unsee. Again, just sayin’.  BUT if straight up horror is your late night obsession, hit up Modern Horror: Where We Are and Where We’re Headed (Virtual Screening) in S405B at 9:30 pm.  OR C2E2 Presents: Cosplay After Dark on the Main Stage in S406 which is basically the big bash you’d expect after an amazing cosplay contest. Then, get some sleep, people. There’s one more day!

Sunday, December 12

On Sunday, you’re gonna want to assemble at 11 am in S401 for the Ross Marquand Spotlight so you don’t miss a minute of Marvel mysteries history and lore.  BUT If you’re not an assbutt, you’ll be headed to the Salute to Supernatural-A Retrospective on 15-years of Saving People, Hunting Things and the Family Business at 11 am in S403 so you don’t look like an idjit and sleep through it. OR If you’re an animation nut and you love Attack on Titan you’d better draw the same conclusion we did and head over to the Attack on Titan Cast Q&A at 12:30 in S401. BUT If spookier things are on your mind, and you’re here in Chicago with the rest of us, you’d be better off knowing the best haunts so you’ll be in S403 for Chicago’s Ghostly Urban Legends at 12:30. THEN If you’re the sort who loves The Boys, The Preacher, Punisher, Hellblazer and Hitman you’re going to want to be in S403 by 2pm for the Garth Ennis Spotlight.  BUT If you’re on the video game nostalgia road, it’s going to be a great afternoon once 3:30 rolls around and Metal Gear Solid: A Q&A with David Hayter and Christopher Randolph and you’re in S404 waiting to hear all the Solid Snake and Otacon stories you can handle! Then if you just can’t quit this damn con, stick around for the last bits of the party with the Cosplay Showcase in S406 before you exit McCormick Place en masse and exhausted. Whatever you do, don’t forget your vaxx cards, your manners, your masks or your sense of adventure and make sure you’re out on the floor and enjoying yourself if you’re there in person, or if you’re at home and wanting to participate don’t forget you can get digital tickets so you can participate from anywhere. We’ll see you there!  
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Marielle Bokor