Wizard World Portland 2019 came and went with its biggest showing yet. This year, the event was home to the biggest Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast reunion in recent years while also having appearances from Melissa Benoist and Tyler Hoechlin of the CW’s Supergirl series and Jason Momoa of Aquaman and Game of ThronesAlongside this were booths from local communities and vendors. It was a solid showing from the convention, but it still has a few kinks that need to be ironed out.

Wizard World Portland 2019

Q&A Panels

There were multiple panels sprawled out throughout the weekend-long event with appearances from Thomas Ian Nicholas (Rookie of the Year/American Pie) and Justin Briner (My Hero Academia), however, the biggest of these featured the casts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supergirl. Each showed off the cast’s chemistry and was focused around an interactive fan Q&A. Series die-hards could ask Alyson Hannigan what character she feels Willow could beat up or ask Melissa Benoist what her favorite episode was to film, which she stated was one that hasn’t been seen yet. It allowed fans to interact with who they have been seeing on-screen for years and their passions shined which provided for some memorable moments.

Since these were Q&A sessions, many convention-goers spent too much time on the biggest star of the bunch. Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s panel focused nearly all of its time centered around Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother) while Supergirl’s was on Melissa Benoist. Benoist’s made more sense since it was her own show but Tyler Hoechlin (Superman) was brushed to the side a bit. He handled this with stride but Hannigan appeared a bit more uncomfortable when her former co-stars weren’t asked as much. She would often involve them in questions and even turn to her husband, Alexis Denisof, for an opinion. Featuring so many actors and actresses made it inevitable that a few would be more silent. There should definitely have been some more moderation in questions or time designated for a more general group discussion, but what was given still made it highly enjoyable.

Wizard World Portland 2019

Celebrity Appearances

It’s no secret that this year’s event featured the biggest names that Wizard World Portland has seen yet. Jason Momoa was the most well-known celebrity in attendance and was the face for advertisements. Shockingly, not a single panel or general appearance was made by him. Fans were forced to either sign up for a meet and greet or photo opportunity if they wanted to see him. This was fine because hardcore Aquaman/Dothraki fans could come face to face with their favorite celebrity, yet those that weren’t willing to shell out their cash had no way to even notice he was there since he was hidden behind a sectioned off area. With such a big marketing campaign detailing his appearance, it was strange that he was nowhere to be seen unless it was paid for.

Meeting celebrities felt a bit convoluted as well. In the center of the floor, there were two long rows back to back featuring sections for particular stars. Fans could seemingly walk up to them, chat for a bit, and possibly take a picture, yet there was an unseen payment process behind it. For instance, Kato Kaelin (OJ Simpson Trial/Celebrity Big Brother) had no line but was having people come up and talk with him. The charismatic host of Wizard World showed off his upbeat personality and quick wits to anyone passing by. When he signaled towards my girlfriend, Kim, and I to come to say hi, he told us his payment options for photos and autographs, yet there was no pricing chart in sight. He did state that he would lower his prices and bundle things together so there was at least some flexibility. A more visible pricing scheme should be featured in the upcoming years.

Wizard World Portland 2019

Event Layout

This was a large event that contained more than just celebrity appearances. Walking in, fans are greeted with live music and loads of fanfare. Cosplayers weren’t in short supply either which helped culminate Wizard World into a welcoming and engaging experience. Vendors were everywhere but what stood out were the local showings. The Portland Ghostbusters displayed their replica Vigo the Carpathian painting, as well as their homemade gear modeled after those seen in the movie. Another was Neontendo, a fan of Nintendo who transformed his car into a Mario themed one with NES detailings, which can be seen below. In addition to this, the car had a working SNES and NES built into it and kids could come up and get a free Mario Hot Wheels car until they ran out.

Midwest eSports was present and had rows of screens for people to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Fortniteand loads of other competitive games. There were other booths which had VR games or photo ops with cosplayers, even one selling intricate balloon animals. All these offerings were great and brought the event into a full circle. Foot traffic was never an issue until the Buffy cast came out to sign autographs, but other than that everything was well paced and had enough to keep attendees curious on what was offered.

Wizard World Portland 2019

It was a great environment for kids of all ages and families to walk around and enjoy. Wizard World Portland 2019 had a solid hook to draw fans into the convention with appearances from the casts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the CW’s Supergirl. You’ll come for the big names but stay for the neat local vendors. However, everything could be done in about a day, since Saturday was when almost all of the big programming was scheduled. Besides this, it’s a high-quality event perfect for all ages and is definitely worth a visit!

Thank you to Jerry Milani and the rest of Wizard World Portland for the opportunity to cover this event!

About The Author

Executive Editor

Related Posts