Assembling Dragon Con’s vast lineup seems to mimic the mission of the Starship Enterprise: “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
William Shatner, the actor who intoned that classic introduction to “Star Trek,” will return as one of the star attractions of the Labor Day weekend science-fiction, fantasy and pop culture extravaganza that turns downtown Atlanta into something of a final frontier.
Other big names joining Shatner include Lee Majors and his long-ago bionic girlfriend from TV, Lindsay Wagner; Avery Brooks; Lou Ferrigno; Kathy Najimy; George Takei; and Billy Dee Williams.
But in the Dragon Con universe, household names are hardly the only ones with currency. This year’s convention also will boast younger stars from current or recent TV series including “Arrow,” “Game of Thrones,” “Spartacus,” “Torchwood,” “True Blood” and “The Walking Dead.”
As usual, the 57,000 expected to attend will also be a big part of the show, many of them decked out in costumes honoring favorite movies, TV shows and other forms of entertainment.
Retro pleasures also will be well represented at the gathering Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, with celebrations of the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who,” the 30th of “Fraggle Rock” and the 20th of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
Assessing the all-over-the-pop-galaxy roster, a joking George Lowe, who voiced the sardonic title character in Cartoon Network’s “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” and who now announces FX’s “The League,” said, “They get the bigger guys, and then you also get the guy who was a monster’s foot in ‘Star Trek!’ ”
OK, while there isn’t anyone who portrayed a monster’s foot among the 185 “featured” artists on the Dragon Con website (or its even longer directory of celebrity “guests”), the roster does cover a lot of ground …
Appearing for the first time: “Six Million Dollar Man” (and, most recently, “Dallas”) star Majors, Amy Acker (“Angel”), Steve Amell (“Archer”), Noel Clarke and Peter Davison (both of “Doctor Who”), Terry Farrell (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), Burn Gorman (“Torchwood”), Allison Mack (“Smallville”), Adrian Paul (“Highlander”) and Natalia Tena (“Game of Thrones”).
As seen on TV: Liam McIntyre and Manu Bennett of “Spartacus”; Kristin Bauer, Lauren Bowles and Jim Parrack of “True Blood”; Amell, Seth Gabel and Kelly Hu of “Arrow”; John Barrowman and Eve Myles of “Torchwood”; Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of “MythBusters”; Michael Rooker (“The Walking Dead”); Richard Dean Anderson (“Stargate SG-1”); Mitch Pileggi (“The X-Files”); and Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”).
As seen on the big screen: Doug Bradley (“Hellraiser”), Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange”), Graham McTavish (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”), Edward James Olmos (“The Green Hornet”) and Julian Sands (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”).
As heard in cartoons: Rodger Bumpass (Squidward on “SpongeBob SquarePants”) and John DiMaggio (Bender on “Futurama”).
And that’s not all: A constellation of animators, illustrators, authors and musicians also will appear.
Other changes this year:
From a new staging spot on West Peachtree Place near West Peachtree Street, the parade will turn north (left) on Spring Street, east (right) on Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, south (right) on Peachtree Street, east (left) on Andrew Young International Boulevard and north (left) on Peachtree Center Avenue. It will end on Peachtree Center Avenue between John Portman Boulevard and Baker Street, in front of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
Kramer had not been involved in the convention’s management since 2000. But some former Dragon Con attendees had threatened a boycott as long as Kramer, who is facing child-molestation charges in Gwinnett County, continued to profit from it.
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