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Celebrities gear up for Comic Con FanX, encourage fans to join them

Published: Sunday, April 13 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Peterson, who is known as the Queen of Halloween, said the longevity of her character’s success comes from its yearly attachment to the October holiday. “During Halloween, I’m on television, on the radio and I can’t get away from Elvira,” she said. “Then I go underground a little bit. But then Halloween happens and (I’m) back again!”

Billy Dee Williams etched himself a permanent place in Hollywood fame with his role as Lando Calrissian in the original Star Wars trilogy, but he actually got his start as a 6-year-old singing on Broadway, which the actor jokingly referred to as being “100 years ago.”

Williams’ IMDb page lists 130 credits — including three projects filmed in Utah. But he said that working with George Lucas for the Star Wars films was easily a highlight for him.

“It was a lot of fun for me, and it was, obviously, a monumental step in my life and my career,” Williams said. “To be able to work with people of that caliber was a good career.”

By working with recent projects, including “Robot Chicken,” “The Cleveland Show” and most recently “The Lego Movie,” Williams has been able to revisit his Star Wars role in a humorous light that allows him to expand his character’s legacy.

“When I parody myself or my character, Lando Calrissian, it’s always a lot of fun for me. I enjoy it,” Williams said. “There was never an opportunity to really explore Lando and his life, separate from all the other situations going on.”

Williams also recently performed a Star Wars-themed cha cha as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.” He described his experience on the show as “rough,” adding, “It’s a challenge, especially at this juncture of my life with all my ailments. … I’ve got no business getting out there and trying to dance with all those young folks.” He and his partner, professional dancer Emma Slater, withdrew from the competition during an episode on March 31 due to an injury to Williams’ back.

According to Salt Lake Comic Con’s master guest schedule, Hu, Peterson and Williams are scheduled to appear during all three days of FanX. The three guests explained their takes on the draw conventions have on fans.

“There’s a deep attachment to those characters and those things we loved as a kid,” said Peterson, who co-owns a convention called Comikaze with comic book legend Stan Lee. “So I think it’s a chance for kids, adults and everyone to kind of come and see their heroes from when they were young and meet them. It seems to be a really big deal for people. They love it.”

“It’s an experience,” Hu said. “It’s one of those that you really should go to and experience at least once in your life.

“It’s an opportunity for me to meet these people who have followed my career, and I love when people get into it,” she said. “I love when people get all dressed up and cosplay and stuff like that. It’s such a great way for people to be able to show their creativity. It’s a creative outlet for a lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily have a stage.”

Williams also said he enjoys spending time with his fans at conventions. “It gives me a chance to meet all of the people who have given me so much support throughout the years,” he said. “I just enjoy it. It’s fun — all the creativity, all the people in their costumes. I love to see all that stuff.”

“It’s kind of like Halloween in the middle of the year,” Peterson said. “It’s fun for kids; it’s fun for adults — every age. It’s fairly inexpensive for a whole day’s entertainment and, I mean, I’ve never seen a person yet who hasn’t gone to one of these and just had a blast.”

Single-day and multi-day passes for Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience are available online at SaltLakeComicCon.com.

Email: achristensen@deseretnews.com, Twitter: atownmania

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