Another Fan Days has come and gone in Dallas, TX. While the last couple of years were focused on Star Wars, it was decided this year that because of that movie series’ Celebration V being so close to the date for Fan Days that the theme would be altered from the past couple of years. For those that don’t know, the event is usually called Star Wars Fan Days and the bulk of the actor and artist guests all revolve around that movie franchise.
For the first part of the promotion the event was being called Star Trek Fan Days. This change made a lot of people happy and others disgruntled. William Shatner was the first guest announced and that pretty much solidified the convention’s title. Although most of the actors booked to appear (Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Lawrence Montaigne, Bobby Clark) were extremely Trek-related, it became quickly evident that others were not. Although they appear in Star Trek shows and movies, Christopher Loyd and Tracy Scoggins are more well-known for their other roles in films and TV. Right now Loyd is being pumped up in the media for his role as Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy because of the release of the series on Blu-ray. Scoggins has had roles on Babylon 5, Dynasty, and Crusade. Soon enough, the official title of the event became Fan Days.
I would say changing the name was never more appropriate than when they announced that Tom Felton would be appearing. Felton plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies. Putting this actor on the guest list added a whole new level to the affair. Another world of movie geeks would be attending and bringing their own brand of fandom to Fan Days.
I spent the majority of Day One working with Mr. William Shatner and being a part of the entourage that took him around to all his different stops at the con. He did professional personal photos with individuals and families, a special meet and greet, and a Q&A Panel that was packed of course. The Trek icon was very professional and wanted to always make sure he was where he needed to be when he was supposed to be there. He was very nice and cordial to all his fans. At his panel, he spoke about projects he’s working on like S@!t My Dad Says, his A&E shows, and a documentary he put together on the Captains of Star Trek. He also answered a few fan questions. All I can say is that it was an honor working with Mr. Shatner.
Rewinding a bit, the actual first part of Day One was spent making sure no one was trying to sneak into the event and that they had their badges and wristbands on correctly. I also helped them to know where different lines and activities were. Needless to say with thousands of people rushing past me it was a bit hectic.
It was during this time that I got a chance to observe the fans of Tom Felton standing in line and coming out of the room from meeting the Slytherin leader of Hogwarts. They looked anxious, excited, and impatient on their way in. As they came out, some of them were screaming and packs would walk by me almost hyperventilating. Of course, many of the fans showed up dressed in Hogwart’s school uniforms. I would almost bet that at one point on Saturday there were more people at the event dressed in Harry Potter costumes than Trek ones.
In between work shifts, I did get a chance to wander around the Vendor Room a bit. My main focus was to meet the celebrities I wanted to that were only going to be there on Saturday. I first headed into the autograph room to meet Christopher Loyd and get my picture taken with him. I got to witness him hanging out with fans and taking time with each one of them to sign autographs and just chat a bit. He’s an extremely personable guy.
Next, I headed over to Tom Felton’s autograph room and got my picture taken with him. He also was spending time talking to his fans and thanking them for coming to meet him. I walked up to the actor and asked if I could get my picture taken with him and he said “Sure.” I said to him that he probably doesn’t get very many middle-aged fat guys wanting pictures taken with him and laughed. Hey, I have no problem admitting I’m a Harry Potter fan. I left the room telling him that I hope he kills the boy wizard in the next film. Good times.
Summing up Day One is pretty easy for me. There was an eclectic group of people wandering around. You had Klingons, Stormtroopers, robots, Federation officers, Mandalorians, Mario from Super Mario Bros, and a bunch of Hogwart’s students walking around mingling together. It was a pretty cool sight to behold. On a personal level, I got to meet Captain Kirk, Doc Brown, and Draco Malfoy. That’s a lot of fan ground to cover in one day. What’s to complain about?
Day Two of Dallas Fan Days was a little more relaxed for me. I brought my two sons and one of their friends with me to join in the festivities. I got to hang out with my parents who came up from Austin for the event.
I took my four year old through the Vendor Room and let him pick out a few cool toys for him to play with. I didn’t really see too much that stood out to me. There was a company selling tribbles that actually made squeaking sounds and purred.They were pretty cool. I also saw a life-sized Bat phone like the one from the 60s Batman TV show. My twelve year old son’s friend tried to get me to buy him a real Batarang that was actually lethal. He finally dropped it after I told him I would as soon as he got his mom on the phone. He then gave that up and tried to get me to buy him Bat-brass knuckles. I told him no. Kids…
The Star Trek:The Next Generation Q and A was up next. Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Michael Dorn kept the crowd of fans in stitches as they told stories about their different adventures as actors in the Trek world. At one point, Frakes was in the audience asking Dorn and Spiner questions like a fan. Brent Spiner definitely stole the show with his wit and humor.
This Fan Days seemed like the best attended one ever. On Saturday the place was just packed to what appeared to be close to occupancy. It was definitely a good idea for Official Pix and C2 Ventures to mix it up and have actors from many different popular TV shows and movies appear. This was once again another quality and well-organized convention.