Photos: 4 Days With Kylo Ren, The Joker And More At Wizard World 2016
By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 22, 2016 6:55PM
Sunday afternoon marked the closing of Wizard World Chicago for 2016—a weekend that was wild, wacky and wonderful.
This year, the list of things to do was so large that the con added a fourth day, and we were there for all of it. This year also brought us a fantastic celebrity guest list with can't-miss panels scattered throughout the schedule, a hearty show floor with plenty of temptations, and the amazing cosplay we've come to expect of its attendees.
Thursday afternoon was the official opener, with a bit of a lighter schedule and less crowds. It gave us a great opportunity to scope out some of the merch on the show floor and learn a little bit. Fans of the series Outlander were treated to a live, drunken podcast, and we ducked into a panel meant to help people get into the video game business.
By Friday, the floor was packed with cosplayers, and celebrity panels were in full swing, starting with Milo Ventimiglia's panel in the early afternoon. One of our favorite events of the night was the panel with the Honest Trailers crew, where we got to hear a little about the origins of the trailers, see some cast favorites, and check out After Credits, a new bit for Screen Junkies Plus that adds Marvelesque after-credit scenes to just about anything they want. Andy Signore, the creator, also talked about Honest Trailers' recent Emmy nomination and spoiled us with tons of con-exclusive content.
Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd speak about Back to the Future at Wizard World 2016. Photo by Marielle Shaw
Saturday was the most jam-packed of the four-day event, beginning with the highly anticipated Back to the Future reunion with Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox. Con-goers lined up over an hour early to fill the 2500 seat panel room for the event, with McFly hats and hoverboards in hand. The panel itself was a great walk down memory lane, with a special promise from the film's creators that it will not be rebooted or retooled and will remain a trilogy, along with fun on-set anecdotes from everyone on stage and more than a little flirtation between Fox and Thompson.
X Files panel at Wizard World 2016. Photo by Marielle Shaw
Immediately after that, X-Files fans got their own reunion panel, featuring Mitch Pileggi, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and William B. Davis. It was a whirlwind, with hopeful mentions of a Season 11, plenty of banter and silly antics from everyone. Mitch Pileggi was tagged early on as the "grumpy uncle" and Davis was as lovable as ever discussing how he got the role, what he loved about it, and an alternate reveal on a major plot point that would see him sail in on water skis. Duchovny and Anderson's ever-present chemistry made them a crowd-pleasing comedy duo, and after the panel had ended, Anderson auctioned off the "I'm with Schmoopie" shirt she'd been wearing, which featured a romantic Mulder and Scully on the back, for over 3000 dollars. The money went to charity and the shirt itself was signed by Anderson and Pileggi (and signed and bitten by Duchovny).
Anderson auctions her "I"m with Schmoopie" shirt at Wizard World Chicago 2016. Photo by Marielle Shaw
The fun continued with an Ash vs. The Evil Dead panel lead by an effervescent Bruce Campbell, who worked the crowd with ease, as always. De Lorenzo and Santiago enthusiastically told stories from the set, including an upcoming fight with a giant colon, and early on, Bruce helped a fellow Ash in the audience propose to his girlfriend.
Bruce Campbell, Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago, Ash vs. The Evil Dead panel, Wizard World Chicago 2016. Photo by Marielle Shaw
John Barrowman as he arrived on stage, Wizard World Chicago 2016, Photo by Marielle Shaw
It was only going to get wilder though, as John Barrowman took the stage, in full Pokemon regalia, horns and red high heels. While he disrobed and re-dressed, he took us on a wild ride telling embarrassing stories about the Facebook Live Stream incident in which he revealed his entirely nude husband to his fans, and also had his father come on stage for some childhood tales. After his initial and hilarious opening monologue, he took questions for the entirety of his time, and the audience heard from him on being Dr. Who's Jack Harkness, which Doctor was his favorite, and where he'd like to see his character on Arrow go next.
A young Arrow fan on stage to give John Barrowman a gift. Wizard World Chicago 2016. Photo by Marielle Shaw
Things never slowed down for Sunday, with even more fun on the roster in the panel rooms. The morning kicked off with the full cast of Daredevil in attendance, and we were able to learn how the cast felt about the film that preceded them, their hopes for their characters, and even their favorite cereal mascots. There were no hints about what was to come in Season 3, though Charlie Cox did express interest in how the other shows in the same realm would play into each other and excitement for the possibility of working with Krysten Ritter of Jessica Jones.
Daredevil Panel at Wizard World Chicago 2016. Photo by Marielle Shaw
Rounding out a wonderful day, we stayed in our seats for Carrie Fisher's "Using the Force" panel. Fisher absolutely shone on stage, giving her fans absolutely everything they could have wished for, from stories on the set of Star Wars and Blues Brothers to memories of when the movie first really caught on, and hilarious takes on her on-screen son, Kylo Ren, who she referred to as Hitler in space. More than that though, Fisher was honest and open with fans about being bipolar and her own insecurities, more than once mentioning that beauty was "not an accomplishment" and "being vain is a waste of time" while fully admitting her own struggles with how she looked then and now. On stage she was as much comedic genius as advocate for those struggling with mental illness, and her fans reached out to her in kind. As the panel ended, a young girl thanked Fisher for her openness about being bipolar, mentioning her own struggles and need for a helper dog. Carrie leapt at the chance to invite the girl on stage to meet her own pet, and the two walked off stage hand-in-hand, with dogs in tow.
Carrie Fisher and her dog Gary at the "Using the Force with Carrie Fisher" panel. Wizard World Chicago 2016. Photo by Marielle Shaw
Wizard World 2016 was the best one yet, and though it suffered some from facility issues like fire alarms, broken elevators and disorganization here and there, it more than made up for that with the caliber of guests and programming, and we're looking forward to seeing what next year will have in store. 2016 will be a hard year to beat.