Atlanta Life and Culture

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Chewbacca actor, 'Star Trek' actress among stars heading to Dragon Con


That’s the Chewbacca-esque sound (or something like it, since no one quite knows how to spell his guttural blurts) that “Star Wars” fans are making in response to the news that Peter Mayhew, the 7-foot-2 actor who portrays Han Solo’s furry co-pilot, will appear at Dragon Con this year.

Officials for the sci-fi, fantasy, pop culture and gaming convention that takes over five downtown Atlanta convention hotels every Labor Day weekend revealed last weekend that Mayhew will appear at the Sept. 4-7 gathering.

Chewbacca is literally and figuratively a towering figure in the Dragon Con stratosphere, and interest in all things “Star Wars” is rising by the day as the countdown continues for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to arrive in theaters Dec. 18. The British-born Mayhew, now 71, is reprising his role as Han Solo’s Wookiee companion in the J.J. Abrams-directed film, aka “Episode VII.”

Also being announced: Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Nyota Uhura in the original “Star Trek” TV series as well as in six subsequent movies, is beaming up for the Atlanta extravaganza. She will serve as grand marshal of the annual Dragon Con parade on Sept. 5.

Other names of note to the 65,000 people projected to attend the costume-loving convention include Muppet performer Steve Whitmire, who has been the main human behind Kermit the Frog since 1990 after the death of Jim Henson; Alex Kingston, the former “ER” actress who plays River Song in the BBC science-fiction series “Doctor Who”; and Edward James Olmos, whose extended credits include “Battlestar Galactica” and, more recently, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Here’s a quick look at other stars planning to join Dragon Con’s orbit, attending panels and signing memorabilia and photographs for fans:

  • In addition to Nichols, the “Star Trek” universe will be represented by Terry Farrell from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and Jonathan Frakes from another spinoff, “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Gary Lockwood, best known for his role as astronaut Frank Poole in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” also played Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell in the “second pilot” episode that saved the original series, “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”

    Nichelle Nichols served as Lt. Nyota Uhura in the original “Star Trek” series as well as six subsequent movies. CONTRIBUTED BY DRAGON CON

  • “Doctor Who’s” seventh and eighth doctors — Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, respectively — will appear together.

  • “Sesame Street” puppeteer Caroll Spinney, who recently retired after 45 years performing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, will be most prominent among puppeteers from the enduring children’s show. Cheryl Henson, president of the Jim Henson Foundation and daughter of the late puppet master, also will appear.

  • Appearing together at a fan convention for the first time, according to Dragon Con officials, will be Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on CW’s superhero drama “Arrow,” and “Doctor Who” alumnus John Barrowman, who plays his enemy-turned-mentor Malcolm Merlyn. Also coming from “Arrow”: Katie Cassidy (who portrays Laurel Lance/Black Canary) and David Ramsey (John Diggle).

  • Amell’s cousin, Robbie Amell, will represent CW’s “The Flash” along with Danielle Panabaker and Candice Patton. Amell, Fox recently announced, will guest star as a federal agent in the reboot of “The X-Files” early next year.

  • Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow,” which now films in metro Atlanta, will be represented by Tom Mison (who plays Ichabod Crane) and John Noble (Henry Parrish/the Sin Eater). Noble also portrayed the eccentric scientist Walter Bishop on Fox’s “Fringe.”

  • Appearing from HBO’s “Game of Thrones”: Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell) and Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle).

  • ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” will be represented by a trio of actresses who have played witches: Kristin Bauer (Maleficent), Victoria Smurfit (Cruella de Vil) and Merrin Dungey (Ursula).

  • Felicia Day, who got her start on series TV (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Eureka,” “Supernatural”) and then took her kooky persona to the Web (the series “The Guild” and the YouTube channel Geek & Sundry), will hang with fans.

  • Scott Adsit, who lent his improv comedy touch to “30 Rock” and Adult Swim’s “Moral Orel,” will appear.

  • Other network and cable shows will be represented including CW’s “The 100,” Syfy’s “Continuum,” “Defiance,” “Ghost Hunters,” “Lost Girl” and “Warehouse 13,” FX’s “American Horror Story” and NBC’s “Hannibal.”

  • Guests from older TV shows will seek to keep interest fresh in “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” “Torchwood,” “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the “Battlestar Galactica” and “Stargate” franchises.


Dragon Con 2015

Sept. 4-7 in downtown Atlanta. Memberships: $50 for Sept. 5, $40 for Sept. 6, $130 for all four days — available through Aug. 21 at Memberships for Sept. 4 ($40) and Sept. 7 ($30) available at the door only.

















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The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.