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Photo by Sylvia Lopez

Calgary Expo’s cosplayers don’t play around

By Sheroog Kubur, Ansharah Shakil, May 2 2023

This year’s Calgary Expo had nerds across the city uniting for a common cause — finding other nerds. The entire four-day convention was filled to the brim with guest appearances by beloved actors, like X-Men’s James McAvoy and Star Wars’ Hayden Christensen, and voice actors that have made a name for themselves like Shameik Moore as the new best Spiderman, Miles Morales. Without a doubt, the cosplays this year were an homage to all of the best TV shows, movies and video games that have been released of all time. As a collection of geeks and nerds, the Gauntlet hunted down some of the best cosplays we were able to find throughout the weekend. 

Sephiroth (Final Fantasy) by Morgan (@whoscaredyou_)

Photo by Valery Perez

Final Fantasy are some of the best games to be created and that is a fact. With the recent remake of Final Fantasy VII, the upcoming release of the 16th game and the pixel remasters of the first six games, it’s no wonder that the love for Sephiroth has been rediscovered. This cosplay captured Sephiroth’s essence perfectly by being equal parts impractical and sick.  

Scyther Knight and Elekid by the Samurai (Pokemon) — Jordan and Riley

Photo by Sylvia Lopez

Pokemon is a timeless classic that could never go out of style, despite how many divisive games have been released in the last couple of years. For Jordan and Riley, this cosplay was simply a result of being tired of looking at all the cool cosplays around them and wanting to become the cool cosplayers. 

May Queen (Midsommar) by Gabrielle (@fizzy.c0s)

Photo by Sylvia Lopez

Florence Pugh has won the hearts of many moviegoers since the new classic 2019 film, Midsommar. Even without seeing the film, it was impossible to miss cosplayers donned head-to-toe in white with flowers surrounding them — a deceptively beautiful sight. Just like many of us, during the 2020 lockdown, cosplayer Gabrielle started on their cosplay journey and has been hooked ever since, joining the local community and showing her love of different fandoms. 

Fennec Shand (Star Wars) — Britney (@edmcauseplayers)

Photo by Valery Perez

Star Wars have exploded back into the hearts of many with the release of multiple series and miniseries since the end of the main film franchise. While it’s no secret that the franchise has learned to clean up its portrayal of women over the years, characters like Fennec Shand offer the female representation that female nerds have been waiting so long for. 

“I see her on screen and I think, holy shit that’s amazing representation for a woman that doesn’t need anyone to help her or pick her back up,” Britney said. “It’s a wholesome way to portray a female character in Star Wars when we’ve historically had primarily just eye-candy.” 

Britney’s cosplay extends beyond fandom, using her skills as part of a cosplay troupe based in Edmonton, the Edmonton Cause Players, where she and other craftsmen take their skills to different organizations and individuals in need to help brighten their days. 

Jon Snow (Game of Thrones) — Donny (@real.donny.nichols)

Photo by Valery Perez

Despite the less than spectacular and widely hated ending to the Game of Thrones tv series, its fans remain loyal to some of its most iconic characters, like Jon Snow, who’s been subject to many wild theories regarding his parentage. The next book in the series is slated to come out eventually and might include a new storyline for him. Donny has been going to cons since he graduated high school, where he fell in love with the welcoming atmosphere. Every year, Donny says he steps up his cosplay as seen in this expo as Jon Snow.

The Night King (Game of Thrones) — Chris (@that_fecking_unicorn_guy)

Photo by Valery Perez

A dangerous and supernaturally frightening villain in the Game of Thrones franchise, the Night King is known for his adversarial relationship with Jon Snow, which makes it all the more striking that Chris and Donny showed up at Calgary Expo in the same group. Chris got into cosplay when he began to tire of only seeing celebrities at cons. Now cosplays are the only things he comes for. His Night King costume is incredibly realistic, down to the impressive crystal sword.

Hela (Thor: Ragnarok) — Linda (@lindalovetobefit)

Photo by Sylvia Lopez

As one of the most beloved Marvel movies, Thor: Ragnarok featured a memorable cast of characters including Cate Blanchett’s Hela, Goddess of Death. Linda cosplayed Hela alongside her daughter. Her daughter encouraged her one day to cosplay with her, and since then, they have been doing it together in a heartwarming example of how cosplay can become a family activity. 

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