Fan Expo Philadelphia 2024, Part 1: A Star Wars Weekend to Remember

Fan Expo Philadelphia 2024
The winners of the Fan Expo Philadelphia 2024 cosplay contest.

Fan Expo Philadelphia 2024 was a fantastic way to celebrate Star Wars Day, and fandom, with thousands of fans.

This past weekend, fans gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the heart of Philadelphia for Fan Expo Philadelphia, a fun weekend filled with guests, vendors, and cosplay. Though there were many guests representing fandoms ranging from Marvel to Baldur’s Gate III to The Office, the main draw was the large amount of Star Wars representation.

As the Saturday of the convention fell on May 4, also known as Star Wars Day, many of the guests at this year’s event were from various properties in the Star Wars universe. The main draw was Hayden Christensen and Rosario Dawson, once again doing a joint panel as they did at Awesome Con a couple of months ago. Other Star Wars guests included voice actors from The Clone Wars and Rebels, additional cast members of Ahsoka and The Mandalorian, Alan Tudyk and Cameron Monaghan, the respective voice actors of K-2SO from Rogue One and Cal Kestis from both the recent Jedi: Fallen Order video game and its sequel.

The excitement of getting to celebrate Star Wars with a crowd of fellow fans was a huge benefit to the convention experience. My favorite highlight of the weekend was Friday night’s panel featuring the voice actors of The Clone Wars and Rebels. While the panel itself was fun, receiving a free print handed out to every member of the audience by Ahsoka voice actress Ashley Eckstein made it even better. A cute moment from the panel was when Vanessa Marshall, the voice of Hera, brought up a young Hera cosplayer on stage to sit next to her for the remaining duration of the panel.

Actress Ashley Eckstein had free prints gifted to the audience at “The Clone Wars” panel.

Other fandoms that were represented outside of Star Wars included  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Office, the recent live-action adaption of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Charmed, The Flash, Star Trek: Picard, a cast reunion of National Lampoon’s Vacation, and a variety of anime and video game voice actors. Though I would have loved to see more guests from smaller fandoms in addition to the great list from the more popular fandoms, there was something for everyone.

Though the celebrity Q&A panels were the biggest highlight for most fans, there were many smaller panels on the schedule that celebrated the Star Wars franchise, and other aspects of fandom, in different ways. Of these smaller panels, I went to a panel regarding the biggest strengths of The Phantom Menace in celebration of its 25th anniversary. The discussion was interesting, but the issue was that the panel was listed on the schedule as a discussion of Return of the Jedi. Though I am glad I stayed for the panel, I don’t blame those who got up and left after the moderators announced that they were changing the subject of the panel at the last minute.

There was a lot of fun to be had over the weekend, but there were a couple of minor issues that will hopefully be improved for next year’s event. The placement of a dart gun shooting range next to the main stage was a distraction through much of the weekend. The sound of dart guns going off every couple of minutes was distracting not only for the audience, but for the guests on-stage. In addition, the cosplay contest was once again filled with amazing cosplay, but the decision to have nothing on stage to entertain the audience during the lull while the judges were deliberating backstage was disappointing.

Minor issues aside, Fan Expo Philadelphia 2024 was a wonderful weekend, particularly for Star Wars fans. The tried-and-true formula of the convention experience was elevated by its intersection with the celebration of Star Wars Day. Even without a holiday to coincide with next year’s show, I look forward to celebrating all things fandom once again when Fan Expo Philadelphia returns in 2025.

Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

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