After a year off because of COVID-19, the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention is going to be “bigger and better,” organizers said.
“We’ve got celebrities coming out of the woodwork, who want to be part of the show,” FanX founder and producer Dan Farr said Tuesday. “The majority of [celebrities] want to get out and meet the fans again.”
Convention organizers Tuesday announced the names of 14 celebrities who have signed on for the convention, which is happening Sept. 16-18 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. They represent franchises including “Doctor Who,” the “Star Wars” animated series, “Supernatural,” “Cobra Kai” and others.
More names will be announced between now and September, Farr said. “The lineup will be unlike anything we’ve ever had before.”
Chris Provost, the comedian and YouTube host who emcees the Salt Palace’s Grand Ballroom during the convention, said Tuesday that this year’s FanX will feature some 200 “celebrity spotlight” panels, an interactive stage on the convention floor, and the “KidCon” area for younger fans.
Provost also announced the convention will feature a cosplay contest with a huge prize: $5,000.
Cosplayers will find a dedicated lounge, Provost said, with photographers and a cosplay repair area.
In addition, fledgling authors will get to sign up for one-on-one writing workshops, and the convention will hold an interactive game called “FanX Quest” to find clues and win prizes throughout the Salt Palace, Provost said.
The convention will expand its space for tabletop games, which he said “is huge now. … During the pandemic, people got really into this — it was very popular before, but it’s been skyrocketing.”
Farr said the convention, which drew more than 100,000 people in pre-pandemic times, will work with health officials to follow all COVID-19 protocols that will be in place this fall. “We are committed to making the event as safe as possible to all in attendance,” Farr said.
The 14 celebrities announced Tuesday for this year’s FanX are:
• Adam Savage, former host of the long-running reality series “Mythbusters.”
• Christopher Eccleston, who played the ninth incarnation of The Doctor on the popular BBC time-travel series “Doctor Who,” and was the villain, Malekith, in “Thor: The Dark World.”
• Ashley Eckstein, who provides the voice to Ahsoka Tano, the Jedi trainee-turned-rebel leader in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels.”
• Three recurring figures from “Supernatural”: Misha Collins, who played the angel Castiel; David Haydn-Jones, who played demon hunter Arthur Ketch; and Richard Speight Jr., who made appearances as the archangel Gabriel.
• Amanda Tapping, best known for her two decades as Col. Samantha Carter on the “Stargate” TV franchise. (She also had a recurring role on “Supernatural.”)
• Bret Iwan, who has been Disney’s official voice of Mickey Mouse since 2009.
• William Daniels, who played the wise teacher Mr. Feeny on “Boy Meets World,” the arrogant heart surgeon Dr. Mark Craig on “St. Elsewhere,” Dustin Hoffman’s father in “The Graduate,” and John Adams in the musical “1776.”
• Two more from “Boy Meets World”: Rider Strong, who played Shawn Hunter, best friend to main character Cory Matthews; and Will Friedle, who played Cory’s brother, Eric.
• Two from the “Karate Kid”-based Netflix series “Cobra Kai”: Peyton List, who plays karate student and love interest Tory Nichols; and Jacob Bertrand, who plays the sometimes villain, Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz.
• Keegan Connor Tracy, who played the Blue Fairy on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” and has had recurring roles on “The Magicians,” “Battlestar Galactica” and Disney Channel’s “Descendants” movie series.
Those 14 — and more still to be announced — join these actors whose appearances were previously announced: “E.T.” and “The Haunting of Hill House” star Henry Thomas; Jaleel White, who played Steve Urkel on “Family Matters”; “The Karate Kid” and “Cobra Kai” villains William Zabka and Martin Kove; and Alan Ritchson, whose credits include playing Aquaman on “Smallville.”
Also previously announced were these voice actors: Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime in most versions of “Transformers”; Jim Cummings, who currently voices Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger for Disney; Frank Welker, whose many voice credits include Fred Jones and Scooby-Doo in the “Scooby-Doo” franchise and Abu in Disney’s “Aladdin”; “Animaniacs” stars Jess Harnell, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille and Rob Paulsen; and Anjali Bhimani and Carolina Ravassa from the video game “Overwatch.”