Sebastian Stan was the headline guest at Wizard World Portland on April 13-15 and the show offered a VIP Platinum “meet and greet” package featuring the MCU actor that we know and love as Bucky Barnes. The package is something new that Wizard World offered starting in February at their St. Louis show.
My girlfriend Lisa and I were already planning on attending the Portland show and were very intrigued by the meet and greet package, but found the Wizard World website was pretty vague on what was included. Since we both had to buy a platinum pass at $499 each, we were hesitant. But we decided to go for it and later write this article to let you the fans know how it went!
The VIP Platinum package comes with a Marvel grab bag that had some fun goodies in it like a Captain America spatula and a Star-Lord Dorbz figure among other things. Like other VIP passes it also gets you on the exhibit hall floor a little early each day. But the main selling point of the package is the meet and greet, which included one professional photograph and one autograph. The meet and greet was set up in a small room at the convention center. We arrived about 45 minutes before the scheduled start and there were already about 30 or so people lined up to get in. But the room was small enough that it really didn’t matter where you sat.
The room was also set up with a photography studio in one back corner, with a photo printer next to it. We had assumed that the photo that was included would be taken out on the show floor with the other VIPs but it was pretty obvious that we were going to get our photos right there.
Our meet and greet was first thing Saturday morning, scheduled at 9:45am. Being first thing in the morning, I was actually hoping that Stan might actually pop in early. Instead he was 15 minutes late. We had heard that the meet and greet was 45 minutes long so we were worried that his late arrival might cut our time with him short (his schedule had him doing VIP photo ops at 10:45).
Stan entered the room to a huge cheer from the fans (who from what I counted numbered 57 female and 5 male including myself). He sat down at the front of the room in a chair and popped right in to talking to everyone. We had an intimate Q&A with him that I would say lasted about 20-25 minutes and did not feel rushed at all. Victor Dandridge, who would later moderate Stan’s big panel was there at the front of the room. He chimed in here and there but this felt more like the fans talking directly to Sebastian Stan, not a typically moderated panel discussion.
After the Q&A Dandridge directed fans as to how we would line up for photo ops with Sebastian Stan. Fans lined up in a relaxed, orderly fashion as Stan made his way to the back of the room. We happened to be sitting in the back right next to the photo station so we grabbed a few photos of other people as they took their photos with our beloved Bucky.
Knowing what a good sport he is, many fans brought him props or costumes to wear in their photos. One fan brought angel wings and a halo for him to wear, another had him put on some sort of Asian gown (which he did happily). Another female fan came dressed as Bucky as he appeared in the post-credit scene in Black Panther which really delighted him (Stan actually pointed her out in the crowd during the Q&A).
Since my girlfriend and I had to buy two VIP passes so that we both could attend, we were supposed to get two autographs and two photo ops. We showed up to the meet and greet in our Bucky and Captain America costumes, but we didn’t want two photos with him in the same costumes. We actually had brought two different Cap and Bucky costumes. Wizard World was very accommodating and had no problem letting us do our second photo with Stan on Sunday which made us very happy.
If you’ve ever done a photo op with a celebrity at a convention, you know what a hectic fast paced mess it can be at times. This was not like that at all. Stan took his time with each and every fan during the photos, which made the experience so much better. It became clear pretty early on that we were going to go well over the planned time for the meet and greet, but there was no rush whatsoever.
Finally our turn came up and Stan immediately noticed that my girlfriend was wearing the jacket that he wears in Infinity War. He took a minute to look it over and talk to us about where we got it, how amazing she looked, etc. She was over the moon with excitement. We snapped our photo and moved on.
The photo ops ended shortly after that and there was a short break before Stan sat down at the table at the front of the room. Fans again lined up, this time for their autographs. Despite being well over the allotted time, Stan took his time with the fans while he signed autographs. We had brought one thing to get signed (a Civil War journal that I had made), and we also had him sign our photo. We did see other fans ask him to sign more than one thing and there was no issue with it even though you were supposed to get just one.
After the autographs were over, the meet and greet ended and Stan talked to us for a couple more minutes. He thanked everyone for coming and said “I know you all paid a lot of money for this and some of you came a very long way. It really means the world to me.” He was extremely gracious and thankful to everyone.
Despite hearing that the meet and greet was going to last 45 minutes, and the fact that it started at 10:00 instead of 9:45, it lasted an hour and a half and ended at about 11:30. At no point did the event feel rushed at all and this made us both very happy. Also at no time was anyone told to put their cell phones away – people snapped photos and video throughout the meet and greet He was pretty late to his photo ops out on the show floor, but we truly felt like Wizard World made it a priority to take care of those of us with VIP Platinum passes.
Later that afternoon we attended Sebastian Stan’s panel in the ballroom and the first three rows were held for VIPs (with the Platinum VIPs let in first). We wound up sitting in the front row with a perfect view. The panel of course was hugely entertaining, with Victor Dandridge opening it up for questions pretty early on and doing a great job moderating.
At the end of the panel, Stan again thanked his fans and came to the front of the stage to shake hands with a bunch of us. He then had someone take a photo from the back of the stage shooting out towards the crowd, which he later posted on his Instagram page.
Sunday we were there in our comic Bucky and Cap costumes (see cover photo for this article). We went to the VIP photo op in the morning and had no problem redeeming our second photo. Stan immediately recognized us from the day before and couldn’t believe that we had done Bucky’s comic costume. We took a silly photo of Bucky and Bucky fawning over Captain America.
We later visited him at his autograph table and humbly asked if we could get one more autograph that I would donate to the Science Fiction Coalition, a group that we are both a part of that does charitable cosplay. He graciously obliged and also grabbed the photo from our photo op and signed it as well. My girlfriend asked if she might be able to take a selfie with him and he did that as well. Her day was made.
$1,000 is a LOT of money. Was it worth it? Given everything that was included, we agreed that it was. That said, there are only two or three people that I would pay that much money for to have that kind of access. Knowing what a fun, kind, gracious guy Sebastian Stan is, he was definitely on that list for me. This was most definitely a weekend that we will never forget.
Oh yeah, and we also got a photo with the Justice League dressed as Batman and Wonder Woman, and we were on an Infinity War panel. What a weekend.
Here is our haul from Wizard World Portland.
Sebastian Stan is scheduled to do meet and greets at Wizard World in Philadelphia next month, but they are already sold out for both Saturday and Sunday. They are also sold out on Saturday for the Chicago Wizard World show in August, but Sunday is still available.
If some of you out there are thinking about doing the VIP Platinum meet and greet with Sebastian Stan, I hope this can give you a better idea of what is included. Thank you Wizard World for an amazing experience.
Shawn Richter & Lisa Lower