Fan Expo 2023

What We Saw At Fan Expo 2023

Fan Expo 2023 is back and bigger than ever, but this year still has some growing pains it needs to address.

2023’s iteration of Fan Expo was a heartbreaker for the big celebrity fans as the cancellations and changes rolled in over the weekend due to the SAG-AFTRA strike and other events happening around the industry. 

But for everyone else,  especially the game industry, this was a good show!

Here are some of my favourite things from the weekend. 

Disney and Ahsoka came out of hiding

Disney returned to Fan Expo for the first time since 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok by pulling out the stops and  Jedi robes on the Disney+ series Ahsoka.

The big draw to the booth was a 360-camera booth that let fans put themselves into a title card for the show.

I was told to be careful not to bump the camera or move on the platform too much while the camera was rolling. I did both and was sent the finished video to an out-of-use email address.

All I can say is that I needed to move like Chopper.

Speaking of Chopper, the back end of the Ahsoka booth featured several show-used props, including Chopper, Lightsabers, the actual Loth Cat, which I was told is not up for adoption now, and several artist-signed concept sketches.

“Be Greater Together”… Or at least get your photo together

PlayStation Canada invited us by before the expo’s opening to get pictures of Spider-Man and Spider-Man… I mean to get photos taken with Spider-Man and Spider-Man.

I asked both Spideys nicely if they would consider webbing my backpack of collectables to one of the walls behind us. Instead of helping me out, their lovely PlayStation friends gave me a comic of their new prequel comic!

We also got our first live look at PlayStation’s new official Spider-Man console plates and controller at Fan Expo.

I also didn’t notice that Venom stopped by until I saw many of my friends’ photos throughout the weekend.

There was also a movable wall installation where fans could manipulate an ferrofluid Spider symbol that followed participants bodies when they stood on a marked spot, but it wasn’t working during my time at the booth and was lined up throughout the weekend.

Paramount got a little Twisted

Paramount Canada tried to fit in with the local environment by stylizing their booth as “The Lodge.” A Muskoka-like cabin façade hid a Twisted Metal setup featuring Sweet Tooth’s actual truck and the fallen Las Vegas sign.

Those down to get oozey could head to the TMNT sewer, where they could play in a drum of the gooey green sludge [transformation not included] and take their picture with New York’s finest fighting family.

Walmart Canada also partnered to show off some of the Turtles’ finest toys in totally tubular CRT televisions. A Walmart-branded skateboard was close in case you felt the need to shred Turtles style.

Xbox picked streaming over Starfield 

I just learned Xbox and Bethesda have a big game called Starfield soon.

So I was expecting to see it represented on the show floor. Surprisingly, Xbox’s only showing came as a couple of banners and an illuminated standing sign.

Xbox instead opted to focus on local streamers, offering a stage with two streaming setups where streamers could play Xbox Game Pass games with their audience and those on the show floor.

Xbox also had a few PCs with Xbox PC Game Pass available to explore and see what the service offered.

Fan Expo continues to grow

Over the weekend, my community and I agreed that this year’s Fan Expo was among the best in gaming and geekdom representation. Having a dedicated gaming section was a significant improvement.

It would be great to have an Indie Alley where local game developers and smaller national and international ones could showcase their work, as there was a lack of that this year.

For me, the highlight was the return of Disney. I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED SHOOTING MY VIDEO once I discovered that their 360 camera was functioning correctly. However, I regret not sending it to the correct email address.

Most importantly, I cherished spending time with my friends and experiencing the fans’ enthusiasm. I will talk more about that later.