Maybe FAN EXPO Is a Celebrity Con...Yeah, That's the Ticket!

"One of these things is not like the of these things just isn't the same..."
"One of these things is not like the of these things just isn't the same..." FAN EXPO

FAN EXPO isn’t the only thing getting significantly bigger. So is the special-guest list for its late-October Denver convention — including, most recently and sort of inexplicably, SNL alum Jon Lovitz.

When news broke last week of FAN EXPO’s takeover of several Wizard World national conventions, it sent significant ripples out through the comic and pop-culture communities here in Colorado and nationwide. FAN EXPO is only now taking the reins of what was Denver Comic Con and then Denver Pop Culture Con, but fans and comic professionals alike are wondering about its focus. So far, the only celebrity guests slated to come October 29 to 31 have been of the big and small screens. Not much — yet — in the way of comic book creators, artists or writers.

This latest addition just makes things seem curiouser and curiouser. Instead of announcing some comic creators that will have a place at the event, the guests seem to be getting less and less applicable to the fan base. One might make a case for performers with sci-fi and fantasy cred. Lovitz — no offense to the man meant here — just doesn't have that on his résumé. Even his descriptors on the FAN EXPO site don't know how to identify him. Instead of a nerdtastic TV series or movie, Lovitz is identified simply as "comedian," followed by a reference to the 2001 movie Rat Race.

Despite the conspicuous absence of comics-related announcements, FAN EXPO's celebrity list keeps rolling along, and will assuredly serve for some fans as their reason for buying a ticket.

The first celebrity to be announced was a big get: none other than William Shatner. Other Star Trek royalty followed, though from very different sectors of the franchise: Zachary Quinto (Spock) from the Trek reboots, and now Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher) from the Next Generation television series. Even guest Jennifer Morrison has a Trek connection, having portrayed Kirk’s mother in the 2009 film — though she’s more there for her roles in Once Upon a Time and House.

And Star Wars fans shouldn’t feel left out. While the convention doesn’t boast anyone from the original trilogy — at least not yet (wherefore art thou, Mark Hamill?) — a Mandalorian-flavor fan fave has signed on: Giancarlo Esposito (Moff Gideon).

Rounding out the sci-fi slate are two Doctor Who stars, ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston, and Billie Piper as companion Rose.

While the slate of guests is currently light on Marvel characters, Michael Rooker (Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy) will be signing on Saturday and Sunday. (Whether he’s willing to sign a photo — “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!” — is something fans will have to pay admission to find out.)

But DC already boasts a strong contingent, including Ray Fisher (Cyborg from Justice League), and stars Tom Welling, Kristen Kreuk and Michael Rosenbaum — Clark, Lana and Lex from the long-running TV series Smallville, respectively.

Rounding out the list are James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and voice actors Zach Aguilar (Tanjiro Kamado from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba), Irene Bedard (Disney’s Pocahontas), and Paige O’Hara (Belle from Disney’s Beauty & the Beast).

A complete (alphabetical) list of all guests as of mid-August, and the days of the convention on which they’re currently scheduled to appear, is below. Admission tickets are now on sale; all celebrity meet-and-greets and autograph sessions carry an extra fee. For more information, check out the FAN EXPO website.
The Shatner was the first guest announced for the October 2021 convention.

Zach Aguilar (DEMON SLAYER)
Appearing: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Irene Bedard (POCAHONTAS)
Appearing: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Christopher Eccleston (DOCTOR WHO)
Appearing: Saturday

Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

Kristin Kreuk (SMALLVILLE)
Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

Appearing: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Appearing: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Jennifer Morrison (ONCE UPON A TIME, HOUSE)
Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

Zachary Quinto (STAR TREK)
Appearing: Saturday

Appearing: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Billie Piper (DOCTOR WHO)
Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

Michael Rosenbaum (SMALLVILLE)
Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

William Shatner (STAR TREK)
Appearing: Sunday

Tom Welling (SMALLVILLE)
Appearing: Saturday, Sunday

Who do you want to see at FAN EXPO? Tell us at [email protected]

Update: Katee Sackhoff has backed out of the event.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen