I walked into the Ray Park panel not knowing what to expect. All I really knew was that he had played Darth Maul in the first Star Wars prequel, Toad in X-Men and Snake Eyes in the G.I. Joe movies. When the announcer said to welcome Ray Park and his entourage, my first thought was, “Oh, one of those guys.” I was surprised when some Boba Fett cosplayers walked out on stage, then some Jedi and even a Wookie made an appearance, which got the crowd amped.
It set the tone for Ray’s panel beautifully, and after thanking the cosplay group he took a seat that he wouldn’t stay in for very long. He’s been in martial arts most of his life, so he’s an active guy. He ended up dancing on stage multiple times, getting cheers and laughs from the crowd. The best story he told was about how he reacted when he got the job. He received a phone call while he was driving to a martial arts exhibition. After they told him he was Darth Maul, he couldn’t say a word to anyone, so to burn off all that excess energy from being elated, he demonstrated a ton of martial arts moves, over and over.
The best part of his panel was the end, when they cut the line for questions there were a few kids in line. He invited those kids, along with several others from the audience to come onstage with him. He shook all their hands, and then taught them the Darth Maul pose. It was god damned adorable and the perfect way to end his panel. He was the best way to close out the FanX panels for the day because his insane amount of energy was infectious. You left re-energized and ready for the next day.