Jayme's FanExpo 2016 Final Report

Every year, I go to Fan Expo with my friend Suzanne’s webcomic, Gloomies (the website recently imploded and reuploads of all the most recent comics coming soon!) in Artists’ Alley. Fan Expo is the largest fan convention in Canada and the 3rd largest in North America – over 100,000 people come to downtown Toronto for the weekend to explore their love of comics, horror, sci-fi, anime, and gaming.

Usually I hang out with Suzanne at the booth, keeping her company, and do a lot of people-watching and some shopping. My absolute favourite part of the con is the energy – everyone’s there to enjoy themselves, having a great time and being themselves, and while intensely crowded, the atmosphere is one of friendly, welcoming warmth. Cosplay watching is super fun, with a range of costumes from the most minor obscure character in a show you’ve never heard of, to that year’s most popular character (spoiler alert: it’s always Harley Quinn).

This year, Suzanne and I both decided we wanted to do a cosplay of our own – Rey and Kylo Ren. I’d cosplayed once before, as Fionna from Adventure Time, but it had been a couple of years and I’ve always been good at making cosplay dreams and never following through on them. This time, we were determined to get it together!

Rey and Kylo spar before their expedition to FanExpo 2016!

Rey and Kylo spar before their expedition to FanExpo 2016!

Rey and Kylo prepare to face hordes at FanExpo

Rey and Kylo prepare to face hordes at FanExpo

Successful arrival on the convention floor!

Successful arrival on the convention floor!

We had a blast - in no small part because of how fun it is to pretend to duel with lightsabers - and did a bit of walking around the con together, posing for pictures and checking out all the other cosplay. We saw quite a few other Kylo Rens and Reys, but very few Finn, Poe, or Hux! I was definitely hoping to find a Finn to get some photos with, but we came up empty-handed!

I got a hug from a TIE fighter pilot, which was pretty much a bucket list moment right there. 

I got a hug from a TIE fighter pilot, which was pretty much a bucket list moment right there. 

We also visited the 501st Legion Canadian Garrison booth, which is the Canadian wing of the world's largest Star Wars costuming fan club! We have a few friends who troop with the 501st, but unfortunately the con was so busy we never ended up meeting up with them. Next time!

We did meet some other awesome members though, including a wicked Queen Amidala and some TIE fighter pilots. I was almost too shy to get a picture with the TIE fighter pilot, but I did it and am super glad!  

The Legion does a lot of events for charity and were collecting donations for the Make a Wish! Foundation for photo ops. Thanks for giving such a friendly face to the Empire! 

The ladies Kylo Ren pose with their grandmother. In the background you can see a guy doing what I think is a lowkey Dave Filoni cosplay. 

The ladies Kylo Ren pose with their grandmother. In the background you can see a guy doing what I think is a lowkey Dave Filoni cosplay. 

A delightful Grand Admiral Thrawn, complete with ysalamiri!

A delightful Grand Admiral Thrawn, complete with ysalamiri!

Rey and Kylo are bummed that we looked for Finn and Hux ALL DAY and never found them!

Rey and Kylo are bummed that we looked for Finn and Hux ALL DAY and never found them!

Day 4 of FanExpo found me posing with some TIE pilots of the 181st Imperial Fighting Wing - Soontir Fel's squadron! When I texted this picture to Suzanne back at the booth she thought, "Well, guess I'm never seeing Jayme again..."

I look teeny tiny next to them - when I become a TIE fighter pilot, my nickname will be something like "Kid" for being the little one. But I maintain that I'll just fit in the small cockpits better! 

Trying to play it cool and not lose my mind. 

Trying to play it cool and not lose my mind. 

LEGO Imperial Death Trooper!

LEGO Imperial Death Trooper!

LEGO Rogue One confirmed?

LEGO Rogue One confirmed?

I also did some shopping, as you do. Naturally, I was pretty much just after Star Wars stuff this year. I stopped and looked at every TIE fighter or X-Wing pilot thing I saw, although aside from a few model ships and a $300 First Order TIE pilot statue I could definitely not justify buying, it was pretty slim pickings. I guess not enough people have enough starfighter pilot feelings to warrant a broad range of merchandise. I did what I could, though! 

Con swag: art and jewelry! True to form, my haul was 50% Imperial, 50% Rebel. 

Con swag: art and jewelry! True to form, my haul was 50% Imperial, 50% Rebel. 

Imperial TIE pilot Funko Pop. His name is Vents because his breathing tube was broken and had to be repaired. I love you all the more for coming to me a little busted up, Vents. 

Imperial TIE pilot Funko Pop. His name is Vents because his breathing tube was broken and had to be repaired. I love you all the more for coming to me a little busted up, Vents. 

All in all, a successful, fun, and tiring FanExpo 2016. Already brainstorming costume ideas for next year: Jyn Erso? Dr. Aphra? A TIE pilot? So many costumes, so little time...