Phoenix Comicon is going to be absolutely fantastic for Doctor Who fans this year. After all, two of the most iconic actresses from the legendary British sci-fi series – Billie Piper and Alex Kingston – are scheduled to appear at this weekend’s event along with a few other actors from the series.
Needless to say, there will be plenty of Whovians squeeing in delight this weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center during Comicon.
They won’t be the only ones, however, as fans of Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lord of the Rings, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, The Goonies, Star Trek, and even Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will probably get giddy when they get a chance to meet and interact with beloved stars from each of these shows and movies.
Just like with previous edtitions of Phoenix Comicon, this year's event – which runs from Thursday, June 2, to Sunday, June 5 – is loaded up with geek favorites, as well as numerous authors, artists, and icons.
Here's our list of who we're eager to see.
If ever there were a successor to the late Mel Blanc for the title of "Man of 1,000 Voices," it'd be Maurice LaMarche. During his 37-year career, the famed voice actor has brought characters to life on dozens of iconic cartoons, likeTransformers
, as well asInspector Gadget, Ducktales, The Real Ghostbusters, Captain Planet, Hey Arnold!
. In essence, if you grew up in the '80s or '90s, you probably heard his voice a lot. Ditto for anyone who watchedThe Critic
, which featured LaMarche famously parodying the late Orson Welles. Then there’s his stint on several Warner Bros. Animation shows, including his breakout role as The Brain onAnimaniacs
and, um …Pinky and the Brain
. Are Phoenix Comicon attendees going to request he perform many of these voices during his spotlight panel on Saturday? Most likely. Will we enjoy hearing him do so ourselves? Absolutely.
As you may have heard, three of the stars of the originalThe Karate Kid
— Ralph Macchio, Martin Kove, and Billy Zabka — are scheduled to appear at this year's Phoenix Comicon. With all due respect to Mr. "Wax On, Wax Off" and the Cobra Kai's dreaded dojo master, we're much more interested in meeting Mr. Zabka. Back in the '80s, he pulled off the pompous prick hat trick by playing the arrogant bully inThe Karate Kid
,Back to School
, andJust One of the Guys
. And he played it well. So well, in fact, that we flat out hated the dude whenever he appeared onscreen. In recent years, Zabka's habit of poking fun at his most famous roles multiple times (be it in commercials, music videos, or onHow I Met Your Mother
) has endeared him to us tremendously. Heck, we'll even refrain from making reference to sweeping the leg.
Back in 1999, Oded Fehr was something of an "it" guy, particularly after playing Medjai assassin Ardeth Bay inThe Mummy
and menacing "man-ho" Antoine Laconte inDeuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
. In fact, so popular was the Israeli-born actor at the time that he nabbedPeople's "
Sexiest Import" award that year. These days, Fehr is still playing badasses, most notably in theResident Evil
films and on shows likeThe Blacklist
, and he can still make people swoon. You can witness this for yourself, and even ask him some questions in German, during his Q&A on Saturday afternoon.
One of the many tragedies ofStar Trek: The Next Generation'
s seven-season run is that Gates McFadden didn't get to fully show off her considerable acting talents as Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher. Granted, the producers threw her a bone every once in awhile in the form of one or two Crusher-heavy episodes a season, but the quality varied wildly. ("Remember Me" and "Attached" were fantastic, while "Sub Rosa" was awful.) And then there was all the behind-the-scenes drama duringTNG'
s first year that caused her to miss the second season entirely. We hope to hear her opinion on such matters during her Q&A on Saturday, as well as the fact she once worked as a choreographer on such Jim Henson films asThe Dark Crystal
Not going to lie: Tony Todd's given us more than a few nightmares. He’s been flat-out terrifying in each of his horror film turns over the years, like starring as the titular slasher in any of theCandyman
movies or the ultra-creepy mortician in the first twoFinal Destination
films (best line: "You don't even want to f**k with that mack daddy"). Todd’s been just as memorable in less menacing roles, whether it's playing Top Dollar’s henchman inThe Crow
, Lieutenant Worf's brother onStar Trek: The Next Generation
, the diabolical Cecrops on bothXena
, and a Vietnam War veteran with psychic powers onThe X-Files
. So charismatic is Todd that, frankly, he could read the phone book aloud during his Q&A on Friday and we'd dig it.
Alan Dean Foster
Our first experience with the talents of Alan Dean Foster came from a book he wasn’t even credited with writing. More specifically, we're referring to the novelization of the originalStar Wars
, which George Lucas reportedly paid him $5,000 to ghostwrite back in 1976. It wasn't the last time the Prescott resident would visit that galaxy far, far away (he's written threeStar Wars
books since then, including the novel version ofThe Force Awakens
) or adapt a blockbuster movie into novel form. Foster is equally famous for his original work, including the best-selling series of titles involving the Humanx Commonwealth Universe. He also penned the original story forStar Trek: The Motion Picture
(entitled "In Thy Image") that series creator Gene Roddenberry wound up mangling. Here's hoping that won't prevent him from signing a copy of the script at his autograph session on Saturday.
Forgive our nostalgia, but it sort of feels like we grew up with Sean Astin. He was the avatar for our childhood treasure-hunting daydreams as pre-teen Mikey Walsh inThe Goonies
, a post-adolescent role model as underdog Daniel Ruettiger inRudy
, and a courageous but unlikely hero as Samwise Gamgee inThe Lord of the Rings
trilogy. (We'd cite his over-the-top performance in50 First Dates
as a sign not to do steroids, but that seems a little ludicrous.) Astin's still an inspiring fellow to this day, as he completed his first-ever Ironman triathlonlast year at the age of 44
. Sure, it might not seem as momentous a feat as trekking "there and back again" during his round-trip between The Shire and Mordor, but it's impressive nonetheless. Feel free to give him props on Friday afternoon at his panel.
True story: When Joss Whedon was originally casting James Marsters as Spike onBuffy the Vampire Slayer
, he originally planned for the character to be killed off quickly after a few episodes at most. Fate — and the Buffy fans — intervened, however, and the audience's overwhelmingly positive response to Spike convinced Whedon to keep the platinum-blond vampire around. The rest is history, as Spike went on to become one of the show’s resident anti-heroes and eventual ally to the Scoobies, as well as an off-and-on love interest for Buffy. And while it's been 12 years since Marsters played any fictional vampires (he's mostly guest starring on TV shows likeHawaii Five-0
and doing the vocalist/guitarist thing in his band Ghost of the Robot), he'll glady answer any Spike-related question you might have on Friday.
Billie Piper and Alex Kingston
Friday and Saturday are going to be big days in the lives of local Whovians. As we mentioned, the actor and actresses behind several beloved characters fromDoctor Who
will be at the convention center signing autographs, posing for photos and fielding questions both days. That includes Neve McIntosh, better known as the lizard-like Lady Vastra, and Dan Starkey, who portrays her hapless Sontaran bulter Strax. Eve Myles ofTorchwood
fame is also scheduled to appear.
Then there's Billie Piper and Alex Kingston, both of whom are arguably the most high-profile guests at Phoenix Comicon 2016. Piper, who currently portrays Brona Croft on Penny Dreadful, played shop girl Rose Tyler during the first two seasons of the rebooted show. And with the exception of maybe Sarah Jane Smith, the character was the franchise’s most popular companion. She also was also pretty kick-ass to boot, getting both the Ninth and Tenth Doctors out of plenty of jams.
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Speaking of kick-ass women, there’s probably no better example of such onDoctor Who
than Alex Kingston’s character, River Song. The often-mysterious and gun-toting archaeologist who (spoiler alert) later married the Eleventh Doctor, she pretty much could hold her own with her sweetie in every respect. Just don't ask us to explain her ultra-complicated backstory, however, since it involves a TARDIS-load of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey exposition.