This year’s Dragon Con drew an estimated 70,000 worshipers of geek culture to downtown Atlanta, accompanied by a plethora of impressive costumes, celebrity guests, and of course, street-jamming crowds. So what were the hottest cosplay characters, coolest Easter eggs, and most-welcome surprises? A convention breakdown:
(All numbers are approximated, and costume statistics exclude the parade)
What we saw
59 characters from Mad Max: Fury Road. The dominant costume: Nux. Only a handful were actually Max.
63 characters from Game of Thrones, including a “naked” Cersei followed by a Shame Nun.
31 characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. Most popular: Star-Lord and Rocket.
17 Stormtroopers, either in the service of the Galactic Empire or the First Order.
Speaking of which, 9 characters from the forthcoming The Force Awakens.
23 costumes from Rick and Morty
11 dogs (including service animals)
18 giant mallets
10 (heavily modified) Power Wheels cars
1 Big Hug Mug (Matthew McConaughey-style nihilism not included)
2 (terrifying) McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes
7 Squid hats
2 public shamings of motorists who attempted to run red lights before pedestrians crossed Peachtree Street.
Other popular trends: Batman’s Harley Quinn, dressed in her Suicide Squad getup; Inside Out emotions, the least popular of which was Fear; people riding dragons.
What we did
40: Number of hours we spent at the convention over the course of 4 days, most of which were spent at the Marriott Marquis.
0: Number of minutes we spent at the Sheraton.
5: Number of events we attended
0: Number of events turned away from! Compared to previous years, we spent very little time spent waiting on line, too.
36: Number of miles walked during the convention.
Dragon Con 2015 Superlatives
Best use of low tech: The volunteers who held up “10 minute warning” signs during large moderated panels.
Biggest time suck: Getting trapped in overcrowded tunnels. The con’s growth has led to extreme pedestrian gridlock, which was much worse than last year.
Longest time spent waiting for a Marriott Marquis elevator: 14 minutes, after which we gave up and took a down elevator to guarantee a spot for the ride up.
Biggest improvement: Moving the vendor hall to the super-spacious AmericasMart building 2.
Best gender-bending costumes: The cast of Mad Max: Fury Road, including Furiosa, Immortan Joe, Max, Nux, and the wives, in which the men were dressed as women and visa-versa.
Most effective way to clear Peachtree Street after the parade: A phalanx of Atlanta Police motorcycles taking up the entire width of the street succeeded in foiling jaywalkers where multiple ambulances and loudspeakers failed.
Biggest letdown: Despite being an accomplished DJ, Dragon Con attendee Kristain Nairn (Hodor, from Game of Thrones) did not play a set at any of the official parties.
Coolest collectible Easter egg: If you were somehow able to snag all three hotel keycards (for the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton, respectively) designed by artist Dave Cook, they make a pretty awesome set.
Best good deed: Dragon Con attendees are a generous bunch. In addition to the daily blood drive, the con also collects thousands of charity donations—this year, money raised went to the Lymphoma Research Foundation. In one panel alone, a pass-around bucket collected $600.
Best people-watching from the Marriott Skyline floor: The multiple spontaneous Lightsaber fights that broke out on the atrium level. Those high-end sabers look like giant glow sticks from 10 floors up.