The newly inaugurated Fan Expo Denver delivered a smaller but still fun convention. Unlike pre-2020 cons, there were fewer convention-goers (by design) than in recent years, the con-goers shared the hotels with “civilians” and the area around the convention center was not totally populated with cosplayers. However, there was a sense of relief and joy as fans returned to their beloved convention and celebrated their geekdom.
Fan Expo Denver 2021 had an extraordinary lineup of guests for their inaugural run, not the least of whom was the one and only Captain James Tiberius Kirk: William Shatner. He was joined by Zachery Quinto (Star Trek Beyond), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian, The Boys), and many other outstanding guests from series such as Lucifer, Smallville, and Battlestar Galactica.
My favorite celebrity guest was Christopher Eccleston (also my favorite Dr. Who), who played the first “new” Doctor Who in the reboot of the series. He was refreshingly honest as he answered the audience’s questions about his time as Doctor Who. He set the example for celebrity Q&A with very thoughtful and frank responses. He was both a great guest and a brilliant Doctor.
Although the number of attendees was capped at a lower attendance level than the previous number in 2019 (when the con was called Denver Pop Culture Con), the exhibit hall still had plenty of traffic. The usual purveyors of geek paraphernalia had set up multiple booths selling comics, novels, costumes, t-shirts, jewelry, swords, and other items to warm the hearts of geeks of any age. My favorite stop was at Copper Coast Confections. Clearly, their fudge was so delicious that it could only have originated in some alien bakery from the Delta Quadrant!
2021 marked the fourth year that I had the pleasure to host an Expanse panel. This year’s panel was titled Bridging The Expanse-Nemesis Games. Both Jacob Mundell (Erich-Season 5 of The Expanse) and Bob Munroe (producer and visual effects supervisor for The Expanse) graciously made special videos to say hi to the fans of Fan Expo Denver and as well as thank them for their continued support of the series. It is always wonderful when the cast and crew of such a fantastic series support the fans.
But what is a convention without a cosplay contest? The contestants, who competed for several prizes, had fabricated some truly awesome costumes. It was obvious from the awkward movement of some of the contestants on stage that this was their first contest. However, all of the costumes were top-notch.
The cosplay contest was not the only awkward moment. There were a few minor glitches, such as line control issues, inside the convention center but the problems were isolated and quickly resolved. There were no reported incidents regarding the Covid-19 safety mandates as everyone wore the required masks (Fan Expo Denver did not require proof of vaccination to attend). But even with the safety protocols, everyone seemed to be having a great time.
It is good to see the convention scene gradually start to return to normal. I hope to see more fans as the convention scene starts to return to normal.