The 53rd edition of Lucca Comics & Games festival has now come to an end, with a record 270,000 tickets sold.
Every year, the festival transforms the medieval Italian town of Lucca into the cradle of pop culture, gathering a growing number of comics, board games, video games, fiction and fantasy art, animation, cinema and TV series fans over 5 days. Lucca Comics & Games consolidated its position as the premiere pop culture festival in the western world, with over 1,600 activities including meetings, tournaments, workshops, and live performances; more than 4,000 autograph sessions; 1,500 gaming stations with tens of thousands of sessions played; 16 concerts and musical performances; two theatre shows produced by the festival and over 1,000 speakers including 180 international guests.
The beating heart of the festival are guests from all over the world, who year after year enrich the program. Master Hiroiko Araki told the Italian public the genesis of his most famous work, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Rokuda Noboru, Emil Ferris, Don Rosa and Chris Claremont were some of the many international guests who came to Lucca this year.
RPGs had an imposing presence this year. Fans of all ages played Dungeons & Dragons in a real Dungeon underneath the ancient walls of Lucca. D&D Epic, the largest themed event ever held in Europe took place, with 180 players and 30 Dungeon Masters who played the largest simultaneous D&D session in the continent. Some of the most passionate players of Dungeons & Dragons in the world, such as the actor Joe Manganiello, came to Lucca to play in this unique setting. Two of the most famous Magic: The Gathering illustrators, John Avon and Melissa Benson, were also in attendance .
In the Movie Area, Amazon Prime Video came to Lucca for the first time with international star Sir Patrick Stewart, who took the stage at the historic Teatro del Giglio to announce Picard’s return to Star Trek fans and get inducted into Lucca’s Walk of Fame.
Netflix was back to Lucca to present their new original series The Witcher based on the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. The festival audience was able to watch the world premiere of the trailer and meet, in addition to the author of the famous saga, the showrunner of the series Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and the leading actresses Anya Chalotra and Freya Allan, as well being treated to three never before seen clips.
Actor Joe Maganiello attended the enormous D&D event, with over 200 people taking part in Lucca’s Dungeon Piazza Anfiteatro was “taken over” by the Netflix TV Series Money Heist. Among the guests: Joonas Suotamo, the Finnish actor who plays Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker; Rebecca Sugar, creator of the cult series Cartoon Network, Steven Universe; As always, there were plenty of italian premieres: from Terminator: Dark Fate to Zombieland: Double Tap and the much awaited Sky series His Dark Materials.
Video gaming took over some of the most historic parts of the city. At Baluardo San Regolo, Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was celebrated. At Casermetta San Donato, it was time for heroic deeds thanks to Square Enix and Marvel’s Avengers. Fans were able to meet Scott Amos, Crystal Dynamics Executive Producer, and Valerio Schiti, well-known Marvel Comics artist.
Borderlands 3 was the protagonist of unforgettable activities such as the cosplay parade led by Leon Chiro, a world-famous cosplayer. For the first time in the history of the event, Ferrari created a program of intense racing sessions on legendary circuits, such as Imola, Spa and Silverstone. In the evocative setting of the eSports Cathedral many competed in e-sport tournaments, including Brawl Stars and League of Legends, in addition to the Quake Pro League, featuring some of the best players in the world. At the Esport Palace (formerly Cavallerizza) the adrenaline rushes of the Logitech G Challenge were celebrated, a competition that offered a coveted place for the European finals on November 9th in Cologne, and the exciting Gillette Bomber Cup, an official Fortnite Tournament won by the excellent Filoakai. Nintendo came with a double pavilion dedicated to upcoming titles, and Bandai Namco Entertainment gave fans the opportunity to try one of the most anticipated titles of the moment: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
Two authors Donny Cates (Venom, Marvel) and Megan Hutchinson (Image) chose Lucca Comics & Games to celebrate their marriage on 31 October. The mayor of the city celebrated it, and after they shot a photo at Giglio Theatre in the same pose of the official poster of the festival.
Fantasy literature was one of the stars of the festival, italian authors such Licia Troisi and Paolo Barbieri joined international master Bruce Sterling, creator with William Gibson of cyberpunk. Also present were the duo of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, known as James SA Corey, famous for the saga The Expanse.
Cosplayers took over the town with parades, competitions and rallies. Red Bull brought their Red Bull Cosplay Garage at Baluardo Santa Croce. Among the most popular moments were Zombie Walk parade, the official Marvel Cosplay Italy rally, and the Rat-Man themed parade, dedicated to the character created by Italian artist Leo Ortolani.
At the Junior area, thousands of kids participated in game sessions, imaginative LEGO® constructions (Hidden Side) and meeting with the authors of the their favorite works such as Thomas Astruc, creator and director of the animated TV series Miraculous. Teatro Junior was highly appreciated, a theatrical project featuring titles for children. Workshops and meetings with the Panini author, guided visits to the exhibitions and special initiatives completed the program.
The now iconic Japan Town, was also featured this year, the district in the wonderful historical center of Lucca dedicated entirely to Japanese art and culture was, as always taken over by protagonist of numerous meetings dedicated to Japan: exhibitions, events, food tasting, and initiatives dedicated to the discovery of Japanese culture and traditions.
See you again in 2020.