SALT LAKE CITY — Flanked by Imperial stormtroopers and accompanied by the steady, electronic breathing of Darth Vader, Salt Lake Comic Con organizers Tuesday announced the first batch of geek- and pop-culture guests for September's event.
Actors Ernie Hudson ("Ghostbusters"), Cary Elwes ("The Princess Bride"), Bruce Campbell ("Army of Darkness"), John Barrowman ("Doctor Who" and "Torchwood") and Sam Witwer ("Being Human") will join the previously announced Christopher Lloyd ("Back to the Future") in Salt Lake City for the Sept. 4-6 celebration of all things geeky.
"With a lineup like that, it would be really easy to say that's enough, that we don't need to do anymore," said Dan Farr, co-founder of Salt Lake Comic Con.
But that's only six of roughly 200, Farr said.
"We'll have a lot more great people that we'll be announcing as we get closer to the event," he said.
Decked out in full Ghostbusters gear, complete with a proton pack, Robert Aswin cheered as Hudson was announced as one of September's headliners.
"We're very excited about (Hudson)," said Aswin, who heads the Salt Lake City-based ERT Ghostbusters fan club.
Salt Lake Comic Con 3.0, as vice president of marketing Bryan Brandenburg called it, will be "bigger and better" than the inaugural event last year and the mid-year Salt Lake Comic Con FanX last month.
"It's not about size," Brandenburg said, paraphrasing "Star Wars" Jedi master Yoda, "but it's about the experience."
More than 72,000 people attended last September's event, making it the largest first-year comic convention in North America and ranking fourth among attendance of such events in the U.S.
April's FanX topped those numbers, attracting more than 100,000 people and beating its own record as the largest convention ever in Utah. The three-day event was the third-most attended comic con in the U.S. and the largest such event per capita in North America.
"We called it the FanXperience because it's really about people having an amazing time and wanting to come back again and again," said Brandenburg, adding that he expects record-breaking attendance again at September's event.
In addition to a fresh cast of celebrities, comic book creators, authors and artists, the 2014 Salt Lake Comic Con will feature a film festival, expanded activities for kids, more cosplay opportunities and increased entertainment, including Video Games Live Night with the Utah Symphony.
"The reason we're able to bring such a fun, exciting event here is because of the support from this community and the great fans this community has to offer," Farr said.