10 Must-See Guests at Phoenix Comicon 2016

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

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.

Maurice LaMarche

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, like



G.I. Joe

, as well as

Inspector Gadget, Ducktales, The Real Ghostbusters, Captain Planet, Hey Arnold!

, and


. In essence, if you grew up in the '80s or '90s, you probably heard his voice a lot. Ditto for anyone who watched

The 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 on


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.

Billy Zabka

As you may have heard, three of the stars of the original

The 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 in

The Karate Kid


Back to School

, and

Just 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 on

How I Met Your Mother

) has endeared him to us tremendously. Heck, we'll even refrain from making reference to sweeping the leg.

Oded Fehr

Back in 1999, Oded Fehr was something of an "it" guy, particularly after playing Medjai assassin Ardeth Bay in

The Mummy

and menacing "man-ho" Antoine Laconte in

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

. In fact, so popular was the Israeli-born actor at the time that he nabbed

People's "

Sexiest Import" award that year. These days, Fehr is still playing badasses, most notably in the

Resident Evil

films and on shows like

The Blacklist


Covert Affairs

, 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.


Gates McFadden

One of the many tragedies of

Star 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 during


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 as

The Dark Crystal





Tony Todd

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 the


movies or the ultra-creepy mortician in the first two

Final 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 in

The Crow

, Lieutenant Worf's brother on

Star Trek: The Next Generation

, the diabolical Cecrops on both




, and a Vietnam War veteran with psychic powers on

The 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 original

Star 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 three

Star Wars

books since then, including the novel version of

The 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 for

Star 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.


Sean Astin

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 in

The Goonies

, a post-adolescent role model as underdog Daniel Ruettiger in


, and a courageous but unlikely hero as Samwise Gamgee in

The Lord of the Rings

trilogy. (We'd cite his over-the-top performance in

50 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 triathlon

last 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.


James Marsters

True story: When Joss Whedon was originally casting James Marsters as Spike on

Buffy 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 like

Hawaii 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 from

Doctor 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 of


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. 


Speaking of kick-ass women, there’s probably no better example of such on

Doctor 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.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.