In the back of the Vendor Hall there was a section of tables with rope lines setup for Wizard World’s celebrity guests. These tables were used for autographs and pictures were explicitly forbidden in this area. Some of the celebrities also had paid meet and greet sessions as well as free Q&A sessions. There were also panels and events certain celebrities took part in. The Celebrity list included:
- Stan Lee
- Lou Ferrigno(The Incredible Hulk)
- Dean Cain(Superman from The New Adventures of Lois and Clark)
- John Shea(Lex Luthor on The New Adventures of Lois and Clark)
- Billy Dee Williams(Lando Calrissian from Star Wars)
- Laurie Holden(Andrea on The Walking Dead)
- Jason David Frank(The original Green Power Ranger)
- Henry Winkler(The Fonz)
- James Hong(Big Trouble in Little China)
- James Marsters(Buffy, Angel, Smallville, Torchwood, Caprica, and the narrator of the Dresden Files audiobooks)
- Juliet Landau(Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
- Morena Baccarin(Serenity, V)
- Randy Orton(Professional Wrestler)
- Tom Felton(Harry Potter)
Out of these one of the most popular guests was Jason David Frank. Power Rangers will have their 20th anniversary this year so the demographic of children who were watching the show when it was first run are the perfect age to be convention attendees. Jason David Frank has been a ranger on more seasons than any other actor and brought actual martial arts skills to a set of actors. Since they did not have much footage of the original Green Ranger he also spent more time in costume than any other actor. He almost single handedly set the tone for all future Power Ranger seasons and actors. Meeting him at the convention I was surprised by how quickly he became one of my favorite guests as well.
Frank had a meet & greet, Q&A, held a karate class, and was a guest judge in the costume contest. I will get into his performance at the costume contest in tomorrows article, but I will mention that he was one of the more energetic and amusing guests. In his Q&A he was very open to questions and answered most of them with a joke or a funny story. He came off as a celebrity that truly appreciated his fans and wanted to interact with them as much as possible. He also more than most gave the impression that he knew how to enjoy himself and make the most out of his appearances while still not completely defining himself by a single role.
James Marsters was extremely amusing and had long stories for every question that was asked of him. He was supposed to share photo opportunities and a Q&A with Juliet Landau, but she left early due to a prior commitment and fear of a sudden snow storm canceling flights out of St. Louis. Masters stayed behind and signed autographs after his Q&A for as long as they would allow him despite the snow.
I did not have the opportunity to interact with most of the other celebrities, but James Marsters and Jason David Frank were really the two that made the biggest impressions on me. They seemed to understand their fans and had a high level of respect for them. They were true performers who made every moment entertaining.
The convention was less than a week ago, but they have already announced the first two celebrities for 2014. The actors that play Merle and Daryl on the Walking Dead TV Show will both be as Wizard World next year. Celebrity Guests have never been a big draw for me at conventions, but this year may have changed that.