Dragon Con 2023: The Best of the Best in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Pop Culture (And Everything You Need to Know!)

Dragon Con 2023

It’s that time of year again! Get ready to geek out because Dragon Con 2023 kicks off tomorrow in Atlanta, Georgia!

As one of the biggest celebrations of all things sci-fi, fantasy, and pop culture, Dragon Con never fails to bring together the best of the best in the fan community. Whether you’re a die-hard cosplayer, a trivia guru, or just someone who loves immersing themselves in the world of movies, TV shows, and comics, this convention has something for everyone.

So, what can you expect from Dragon Con 2023, especially since the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are still going on? We spoke with Dan Carroll, the Director of Media Engagement for Dragon Con, about that very topic, along with everything else you need to know heading into this year’s event.

What to Expect at Dragon Con 2023

The upcoming Dragon Con 2023 is expected to be a blast, despite the Hollywood strikes, which will have an impact on panels.

What Is Dragon Con?

Dragon Con is an annual convention that takes place over Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta, bringing together fans from all corners of fandom. Unlike most conventions that focus on a single genre, Dragon Con tears down the boundaries and brings together a diverse array of fandoms and genres under one roof (well, technically, multiple hotel roofs, but you get the point…).

What truly sets Dragon Con apart from other conventions, in our opinion, is the exceptional quality of cosplay and the sheer size and diversity of the event. It’s essentially a giant Halloween party celebrating fandom. It is a beautiful event where it doesn’t matter your gender, race, or age. You’re accepted. And you’re with your people.

Fans come prepared with cosplay, often bringing multiple costumes to wear each day, ensuring they can celebrate all their favorites. And the evenings truly come alive as cosplayers roam the hotel lobbies, bars, and streets surrounding the convention – striking poses with fellow fans.

There’s no shortage of panels, either. And you can find a panel for nearly anything that piques your interest – from the super nerdy to the more adult in nature, and everything in between.

Dragon Con Parade
Photo Credit: BluIz60

How Will the SAG-AFTRA and WGA Strikes Affect Dragon Con?

Currently, there are certain restrictions in place that affect the interaction between convention attendees and the guests present at the event. As per the strike limitations imposed by SAG-AFTRA and WGA contracts, guests are not allowed to discuss any past, present, or future movies or shows they have worked on.

These measures have been implemented to comply with the contractual obligations and strike actions undertaken by industry unions. While it may restrict certain aspects of the convention experience, it is important to respect these limitations and support the cause.

Panels

The panels featuring guests who are a member of SAG-AFTRA and WGA will either have a narrower focus unrelated to their previous contractual work or will explore more creative topics. Additionally, there will be a stricter screening of audience questions during these panels to help avoid awkward moments of fans asking questions that guests can’t answer.

The Walking of Fame

The Walk of Fame is where fans can get autographs from the guests in attendance. The good news is these sessions will still take place. However, it is advised to bring your own items to be signed as the guests may have limitations on what they can provide for autographing to avoid any perception of promotion. Restrictions also apply to video, audio, and photos taken during these sessions. This means that quotes, poses, or cosplaying related to their previous projects may no longer be allowed.

Photo Ops

In terms of photo ops, there will be limitations on requesting quests to pose, speak, or cosplay as any characters associated with their past, present, or future projects under the SAG-AFTRA and WGA contracts.

For video gaming, anime, and other non-SAG/non-union projects, these restrictions should not apply. However, it is recommended to check with each guest for any specific limitations. Many guests are standing in solidarity with their fellow SAG and WGA members who are currently on strike.

Dragon Con The Walking Dead Panel
‘The Walking Dead’ Panel at Dragon Con with Cooper Andrews

Is There a Masking Policy this Year?

There is no masking policy in place this year. You do you, and do what makes you the most comfortable – whether that’s masking or not.

When it comes to what the most popular cosplay will be at this year’s convention, our money is on Barbenheimer. But we also expect we’ll see a lot of Barbies and Kens as well.

It’s also likely that we’ll see a number of costumes playing into some more recent film and TV releases. Those will likely include characters from Disney’s Ahsoka and Star Wars Rebels. We also expect that we’ll see a ton of the classics as well, including Indiana Jones, Spider-Man, the Star Wars characters, Super Mario Bros, and more! As all of these have had new films or television series launched in 2023.

Dragon Con The Walking Dead Panel
Photo Credit: Doug Sprinkle for FanBolt

Help Support Dragon Con’s Charitable Causes and Spread the Geeky Love!

With great power comes great responsibility. And Dragon Con is stepping up yet again this year to continue supporting amazing charitable causes, including this year’s official 2023 Dragon Con Charity Partner, CURE Childhood Cancer.

What CURE Does

CURE focuses on conquering childhood cancer through targeted research funding and providing essential support to patients and their families. Since its establishment in 1975, CURE has raised millions of dollars to advance promising research, advocate for crucial legislation, and offer tangible assistance to thousands of children fighting cancer and their families.

Unlike many adult cancers, the causes of childhood cancer are largely unknown, which makes them difficult to prevent. Research has shown that around 70-90% of adult cancer cases are influenced by lifestyle behaviors and environmental factors. The unique nature of childhood cancers calls for specific research that directly targets the needs of young patients.

Sadly, in the 1950s, the majority of children diagnosed with cancer did not survive. However, thanks to advancements in research, more than 80% of children diagnosed today have a chance at survival. Despite this progress, there is still work to be done, as one in five children with cancer does not survive, and many who do survive may face long-lasting complications caused by harsh treatments.

It’s important to note that CURE exclusively focuses on funding research related to cancers that affect children. By directing their resources to this critical area, they strive to make a significant difference in the lives of young cancer patients and their families.

For 2023, the convention has increased its dollar-for-dollar match from $100,000 to $125,000. So, let’s make sure they hit $125,000 at a minimum!

Curious about all the good you can do while at Dragon Con? Head over to their site to learn more about the causes they’re supporting (and you can, too!).

Dragon Con
Dragon Con Parade / Photo Credit: BluIz60

Don’t Forget…

When it comes to any convention, the most important thing you can remember is to keep hydrated. Make sure you’re drinking water and have a few snacks on you. Time flies by, and it’s easy to forget to eat and drink (water specifically).

I Can’t Make It to Dragon Con 2023. How Can I Still Enjoy the Convention?

Excellent question! You can purchase a streaming pass to Dragon Con TV to stream the main events and panels (check their site for specifics). It’s only $10 for the pass, so it’s a great deal!

Additionally, FanBolt will have a ton of cosplay coverage coming along with general highlights of the convention. So be sure to keep checking back for more coverage!

Whether you’re a fan of science fiction, fantasy, gaming, or anything else that might fall under the geeky realm, Dragon Con promises an unforgettable experience that celebrates all aspects of fandom. We hope to see you there this year! And be sure to follow our editor on Instagram! She’ll have free swag she’s giving away during the convention if you can track her down!