As the festivities began to open up the 25th Fan Expo Canada, attendees eagerly flooded into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. A wide and diverse crowd made their way into the north and south buildings, looking to partake in the convention’s myriad assortment of activities and to further explore their fandoms through meeting like-minded attendees, celebrity guests and/or buying rare and limited items.
From those venturing into the convention by themselves, to groups of friends and even families with young children — people of all shapes, sizes, and ages were to be found, all enjoying the event. Amongst the crowd were large groups of cosplayers — attendees dressed up as their favorite characters from TV, film, video games, comics and anime. Fandoms of all kind were represented, including popular characters such as Iron Man, Deadpool, Harley Quinn, and a large contingent of fans of the anime series My Hero Academia.
The highlight of the night was the Q&A panel with Denise Crosby, who just finished filming the final season of Suits in Toronto and starred in the popular TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The hour-long panel featured questions from both the moderator and audience, with Denise giving away a lot of behind-the-scenes info, including the casting process for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Denise revealed that she initially read for the role of Deanna Troi, which eventually went to Marina Sirtis. She remarked how her unique look at the time, highlighted by her short hair, left an impression on showrunner Gene Roddenberry. So much so that he found her perfect for the role of Security Chief Tasha Yar.
Unfortunately, creative differences arose when Denise felt more could be done with her character. Roddenberry felt otherwise and told her that “things would not get better,” with the end result being the death of her character at the end of the season. Denise eventually returned to the show in later seasons, and would continue to be a part of the franchise in the video game Star Trek Online, released in 2010.
Denise’s panel took an interesting turn when a fan asked her about working with director Blake Edwards and actor John Ritter on the 1989 film Skin Deep, and Burt Reynolds in the 1983 movie The Man Who Loved Women. Crosby spoke warmly of her time working with Edwards and Ritter. The story she told of Reynolds, on the other hand, took an uncomfortable route, as she recalled her first scene with the actor was a threesome that also featured Kim Basinger and required Denise to be nude. She elaborated how in her naiveté at the time, she didn’t think saying no was an option, but she has since learned to fight harder for her roles (which is what led to her conflict with Roddenberry).
The panel with Denise Crosby was the major event of the first day of Fan Expo and it made for an interesting and informative talk that had its fair share of laughs, and some discussion-worthy topics beyond the room’s walls.
Fan Expo continues today with doors opening at 10:00 a.m., closing at 7:00 p.m. with additional events happening at outside venues. ~Paolo Maquiraya. All photos by Joanne Chu-Fook