A nerdy engineer, a justice-seeking archer, and a moonboot-wearing dance machine are joining the celebrity line-up for the 2014 Salt Lake Comic Con.
Comic Con founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg announced the latest block of major celebrities at a press conference today at The Leonardo in downtown Salt Lake City.
The event was packed wall-to-wall with excited fans in cosplay — part of a promotion for free tickets to the event, set for Sept. 3-6 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Flanked by guards from the Umbrella Corporation (the malevolent company in the "Resident Evil" videogames and movies), Farr projected some 120,000 people will attend the three-day event.
"I’m overwhelmed by the fan support," Farr said. "We have the best fans in the world."
Brandenburg said ticket sales are already outpacing both last year’s Comic Con and April’s Fan Experience event. (A basic multi-pass, good for all three days, is now on sale for $40 — with the price going up to $60 in September.)
Probably the most recognizable celebrity announced today is actor Simon Helberg, who plays Howard Wolowitz, one of the gang of socially awkward scientists in CBS’ hit sitcom "The Big Bang Theory."
Farr said Salt Lake City will be the first time Helberg has attended a comic convention outside the media hub of San Diego Comic Con. "Let’s show him a good time," Farr told fans.
Two stars of CW’s action series "Arrow" are joining the line-up: Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen, the title hero of the show based on DC Comics’ "Green Arrow" title; and Manu Bennett, who portrays the supervillain Deathstroke. (Bennett also plays the Orc chieftain Azog the Defiler in Peter Jackson’s "The Hobbit" trilogy.)
Jon Heder, the Brigham Young University alum best known as the dorky Napoleon Dynamite in Jared Hess’ 2004 movie of the same name, will also appear at Salt Lake Comic Con.
Also added to the celebrity list is Dean O’Gorman, who plays Fili, one of the 13 dwarves seeking gold in "The Hobbit" trilogy. (O’Gorman is one of the few "Hobbit" dwarves who didn’t attend last weekend’s FantasyCon.)
Farr and Brandenburg also announced that WETA Workshop, the New Zealand special-effects house responsible for the effects in "The Lord of the Rings" and other films, will return to show off their work.
Salt Lake Comic Con will also feature the Kid Con, with activities for children, and a film festival that Brandenburg said would move up "to a serious next level. Our goal is to be right up there with Sundance."
The five stars announced today join a growing list of celebrities previously announced for the September event. They are, in alphabetical order:
• John Barrowman ("Torchwood," "Doctor Who," "Arrow")
• Bruce Campbell ("Evil Dead," "Burn Notice")
• Eliza Dushku ("Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," "Bring It On")
• Cary Elwes ("The Princess Bride," "Saw")
• Giancarlo Esposito ("Do the Right Thing," "Breaking Bad")
• Lou Ferrigno ("The Incredible Hulk" TV series)
• Jason David Frank ("Mighty Morphin Power Rangers")
• Erin Gray ("Buck Rogers in the 24th Century," "Silver Spoons")
• Ernie Hudson ("Ghostbusters," "The Crow," "Oz")
• Christopher Lloyd ("Back to the Future," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit")
• Michael Rosenbaum ("Smallville," "Sorority Boys")
• Kevin Sorbo ("Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," "Andromeda")
• Sam Witwer (U.S. version of "Being Human," "Battlestar Galactica")
Brandenburg said another eight stars of similar caliber are signed to appear in September, and will be announced in the coming weeks.
Farr also held out the possibility of other stars jumping on board, and that he would go to great lengths to get commitments from fan favorites.
"If we have to fly to their house and wash a few cars to get them here, we’ll do that," Farr said.
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