This year’s ComiCon featured over a thousand exhibits that included celebrity photo ops, ongoing Q&A panels, and live improv shows as hundreds of thousands excited fans convened at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre March 18-20. Star Wars themed cosplay outfits dominated ComiCon this year, with some sightings of Ghostbusters, Sailor Moon and random video game characters I sort of recognized from my youth (looking at you Sonic the Hedgehog).
The community area raised money for charities like Epilepsy Canada, Make A Wish and Sick Kids through several creative photo ops with cosplay characters. They also held several raffles throughout the weekend, as an announcer yelled out, “All of the money goes to charity, none go to building a new and improved death star!” I’m onto you buddy.
Panel Q&A highlights were Jonathan Frakes from Star Trek Next Generation, Jason Isaacs from Harry Potter and my high school celebrity crush for five minutes – Casper Van Dien of Starship Troopers. I forgot about that guy. I managed to catch the Sailor Moon meet and greet and the Q&A with Karen Allen, whom I was a big fan of from the Indiana Jones franchise.
As a young girl, I grew up watching the anime series Sailor Moon, so it was quite interesting to see what the voice actors were up to nowadays and to also see what they actually looked like. Members of the panel included: Linda Ballantyne as Sailor Moon; Toby Proctor as Tuxedo Mask (sorta swoon now); Susan Roman as Sailor Jupiter; Jill Frappier as Luna; Ron Rubin as Artemis; and Katie Griffin as Sailor Mars. The panel was quite boisterous, fun and full of energy.
The cast recounted audition stories and how Sailor Moon was groundbreaking at the time for female characters. Around the time Sailor Moon debuted, there weren’t very many roles for females to audition for, not to mention strong female lead characters. It was one of the first television series where women weren’t pulled along by the leading male, but could be courageous, and afraid, and still be able to be heroic.
On a side note, one fan asked the important question of: are you Team Iron Man or Team Cap? Most of the panel choosing Iron Man. Sorry Cap.
They also shared endearing fan encounters like when people would come up to them and say that watching their television show was a form of escapement and helped them get through hard childhoods. At the end, the cast closed out the session by performing their catchphrases that got them into character or their character’s onscreen transformational phrase.
Karen Allen, who played played Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) held her Q&A Sunday afternoon. She fielded questions like: who was better to work with Donald Sutherland or Harrison Ford? And stuck with the “it’s like comparing apples and oranges” answer. She also expressed hopes of being in Indiana Jones 5, which is in development stages now and her famous drinking scene in Raiders. Allen explained that it was that scene which attracted her to the role because it was an unusual and powerful way to introduce a female character. After losing her train of thought by getting off topic, she said she went through great lengths to portray Marion as a strong female character, even going as far as butting heads with director Steven Spielberg on some scenes.
When asked about training for the action parts, Allen said – no. She also revealed an industry secret. No matter what an actor says, they never do their own stunts. I knew it! Just kidding! I didn’t even know they said stuff like that. She said it’s mostly due to risk of injury. If the star gets injured the production is screwed and comes to a halt.
Well there you have it folks, another Toronto ComiCon under wraps. See ya next year!
[Photography by Henry J. Guerreiro]