[Editors’ note: nothing in this post should be read as derogatory toward any guest, either mentioned by name or not. That is not the intent. It is simply an exploration of the process and fan mind-set in the lead-up to September’s 4th annual Salt Lake Comic Con.]
Well, fans, we now have 30 days until the start of Salt Lake Comic Con 2016. Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg have once again done a stellar job of building up anticipation for the fourth “big” convention here in the beautiful Salt Lake valley.
But somehow, that doesn’t seem to be enough for some of the local fans. Comments of all stripes, from “when are you going to announce a really big guest?” to “there seems to be a lot of returning guests,” abound on facebook and other social media.To be fair, at this point, this year’s guest list might seem a little week at the top: Shatner (a returning guest), Ian Somerhalder (returning), Manu Bennett (may as well work here at this point, lol), Lennie James (first-timer from TWD), and new guests Katie Cassidy (on my list), and Sean Maher (bringing our Firefly total to 6 of 9: gotta get the last 3 Bryan. Get to work).
But it wasn’t until just a couple days ago that Bryan announced the addition of Billy Boyd, Peregrim “Pippen” Took, from Lord of the Rings, that the first cracks in the “big” star damn seemed to appear, although, as much as the fans loved his character and those films (because they were great, but we won’t discuss The Hobbit debacle), it feels a bit like he’s being forced into the category of Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Kate Beckinsale, Hayley Atwell, and Buzz Aldrin. You know: all those guests who announcements have, in the past, created havoc in ticketing, panels, photo ops, crowd control, and general mayhem (in the best way on the mayhem. Some of the other stuff… not so great. But I digress.)
It almost feels like Billy Boyd is a head-fake, designed to keep the fans from watching for the still-to-come announcement of the “big” guest: the Cumberbatch, the Hiddleston (sans Taylor Swift), the RDJ…
The one that will elevate the event’s status yet again, instead of making it feel like we’ve settled into a guest rotation machine of “pretty-good” instead of “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Now, I don’t know if any of those three will be announced or not. Only Dan and Bryan know whose in what stage of appearing (Nope, Maybe, Yep); the rest of us can only speculate based on cryptic clues and facebook polls concerning our preferences as to who’d we like to see show up.
But here’s what I think: I think that around 5 days before the con starts, fans will–finally!–get the “big” guest announcement they’ve been looking for this time. I think this will maximize the last minute excitement, while also allowing Dan and Bryan all the time in the world leading up it to have figured out panels, photos, autographs, and all of the other areas where, traditionally, the fans’ over-exuberance has traditionally caused problems (and I mean that in the best possible way).
I hope I’m right. I hope that my coverage of the last (all) SIX Salt Lake Comic Con events has allowed me to gain some insight into what might happen in this final 30-day push into this year’s 3-day bacchanalia of geekdom. I hope for all the fans to be elated at the final guest list, secure that their dollars were spent, not on a pipe-dream of fandom, but on the reality of what has come before.
I hope that Salt Lake Comic Con isn’t already burning out, what with the expansion of its FanX brand, the still-ongoing lawsuit with San Diego, and/or just plain fatigue on the organizers’ part, leading us to become an event of fixed intensity, no longer the upstart rookie with limitless potential, but the jaded journeyman, playing his part, but never being the star attraction.
I hope not. I think not.
Too much good has come of these 4 short years for it to become just another event.
So, Dan and Bryan, we’ll see you in a month.
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