Nerd Culture

Updated: John Barrowman, Billy Dee Williams Coming to Phoenix Fan Fusion 2019

John Barrowman at Phoenix Comicon (now Phoenix Fan Fusion) in 2013.
John Barrowman at Phoenix Comicon (now Phoenix Fan Fusion) in 2013. Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/via Flickr
Update January 30, 2019: Phoenix Fan Fusion just added some more geeky star power to its 2019 lineup of special guests. Organizers of the four-day pop culture extravaganza have announced that Catherine Tate and John Barrowman from Doctor Who will appear at the event.

They join a growing list of celebrities and actors that are scheduled to appear at Fan Fusion 2019, which runs from Thursday, May 23, to Sunday, May 26, at the Phoenix Convention Center. Previously announced special guests include Billy Dee Williams from Star Wars, The Princess Bride’s Chris Sarandon, and Sharknado’s Ian Ziering.

Tate, a comedian and actress, is best known for playing Donna Noble, the non-nonsense temp and companion of the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who. Meanwhile, Barrowman played Captain Jack Harkness, the dashing rogue and action hero seen on multiple seasons of the legendary BBC show and its spin-off Torchwood. He’s also famous for playing Malcolm Merlyn (a.k.a. the Dark Archer) on The CW's Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.

Tate will be making her first-ever appearance at Phoenix Fan Fusion while this is Barrowman’s third visit to the event, as he previously appeared in 2013 and 2014, back when it was known as Phoenix Comicon.

As anyone who attended those years can attest, Barrowman’s Q&A sessions tend to be lively, hilarious, and memorable. He’s also known to crash Doctor Who panels, like the time he paid an impromptu visit to a game of Hollywood Squares being played by the members of local Whovian fan group AZ T.A.R.D.I.S. Here’s hoping his visit to Fan Fusion 2019 will be just as memorable.

Original Story: Phoenix Fan Fusion is about to get a visit from a gambler, card player, and scoundrel. Organizers of the annual geek event have announced that Billy Dee Williams, the actor behind the Star Wars saga’s ultra-suave rogue Lando Calrissian, will be a special guest at this year’s event in late May.

In other words, you’ve got four months to get your Lando cosplay on point, geeks. (Pro tip: Don’t skimp on your capes.)

As fans of the saga can attest, Williams has played Calrissian in multiple Star Wars movies starting with 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. He also voiced the characters in numerous video games, cartoons, and even the NPR radio play of Empire. Later this year, he’ll reprise the role in Episode IX.

Williams is the second celebrity that’s been announced as a guest for Phoenix Fan Fusion 2019, which runs from Thursday, May 23, to Sunday, May 26, at the Phoenix Convention Center. Earlier this week, PFF organizers announced The Princess Bride actor Chris Sarandon will also appear.

Williams will be making his second visit to the Fan Fusion. Back in 2011, when it was known as Phoenix Comicon, he spent several days at the con, signing autographs, posing for photos, and participating in a Q&A session with fans.

He’ll do the same during Phoenix Fan Fusion 2019, where’s scheduled to appear daily from Friday to Sunday. If you’d like to ask him about something other than Star Wars, try coming up with a question about the other roles he’s played throughout his 60-year career as an actor, including Harvey Dent in 1989’s Batman and 1972’s Lady Sings the Blues.

In the meantime, Fan Fusion's organizers are promising the additional special guest announcements will be made in the days and weeks ahead.

Stay tuned, Padawans. And may the Force be with you.

Phoenix Fan Fusion 2019. Thursday, May 23, to Sunday, May 26, at Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street; Admission is $20 to $45 per day or $65 for a full event pass via the event website.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.