What do C-3PO, Captain America, and my mother-in-law have in common? Besides all of the adoring fans, you ask. The correct answer is I actually spent time with all three of them a couple of weeks ago at Salt Lake Comic Con. The comic con that Stan Lee in 2014 called “the greatest comic con in the world” was even greater in 2015 with the addition of one of the biggest movie stars alive. Chris Evans, that is. Not my mother-in-law. Although I will be voting for her as a guest in 2016.
Salt Lake Comic Con broke its previous attendance record with over 120,000 fans, set a Guinness world record for the most costumed comic book cosplay characters in one room (1,784), and had over 200 celebrity guests. But the biggest draw of all was Chris Evans aka Captain America. Captain America is my son’s favorite superhero. At previous comic cons my son has dressed up as Captain America and so when we heard that Chris Evans was going to be at SLCC 2015 we were ecstatic. And he was not the only Marvel actor at SLCC. Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Sebastian Stan (the Winter Soldier), and Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) were there also. My son is a big fan of all of them, but seeing Chris Evans was our main goal. My son was only able to go to comic con on Saturday so we had one day to track down The Captain. He was doing a panel on Saturday morning, but the 4,500 tickets were being given out by a lottery drawing and even my media pass didn’t get us one. So we had to come up with Plan B.
According to one of my inside sources (yes, I’m trying to sound like a real journalist), the FBI was handling Chris Evans’ security, so unless we were going to pose as federal officers (which one man actually tried) we needed to find a connection to help us. Fortunately, my wife’s cousin is also a huge Chris Evans fan and she had purchased a photo-op with him and Hayley Atwell. And she was nice enough to let us wait in line with her! (Thanks, Mykll.) So after over an hour of waiting in line and my kids asking what seemed like thousands of times, “How much longer?” we got our big break. The Captain needed a break from pictures, and we were at the perfect place in line to see him and his armed guard escort walk past us. He seemed surprised and a little embarrassed by the thousands of screaming fans, but he was very appreciative and thankful at the same time.
We finally got through the line and got to see Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell while my wife’s cousin got her picture taken with them. As we exited the photo area, one of my son’s first comments was, “It’s weird that they look nothing like they do in the movies.” He couldn’t believe that Captain America wouldn’t wear his Captain America costume at all times. And who can blame him for thinking that? I’d wear Jedi robes to work if my wife would let me and my patients wouldn’t think I was nuts. But overall, our experience with Chris Evans was amazing and he was very thankful to the Salt Lake Comic Con fans. On his Twitter account he posted, “Wow….I’ve had the most amazing time at #SLCC15. I’ve been to a few conventions before but I’ve never had the opportunity to interact with the fans on such a personal level. They shared some wonderful stories that I was honored to hear. I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Thank you to all of my loyal, sincere, loving, and passionate fans from the very bottom of my heart. You’ve reminded me how gratuitously lucky I am. #weareallconnected”
On Friday, my wife and I attended the Anthony Daniels panel, and after he started by asking the fans in attendance to bow to him Ewok-style he graciously thanked Star Wars fans for paying his salary for the last 40 years. He also revealed that R2-D2 has been feeling jealous due to the growing popularity of BB-8. At most celebrity panels guests take questions from a moderator and fans, but not Anthony Daniels, most likely because of the secrecy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He did ask the audience if they would like to know how C-3PO got his red arm. “Fat chance” was his reply. He also gave the same answer when he asked if anyone would like to know about The Force Awakens. Even though no details were given about the upcoming Star Wars movies I really enjoyed seeing Anthony Daniels live and he was very entertaining and grateful for his fans.
Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 was a lot of fun, but, like watching Star Wars with someone who has never seen the saga before, it was exciting for my wife, my kids and me to go with my mother-in-law, my wife’s aunt, and my wife’s cousin to their first comic con. I’m not sure they knew exactly what to expect, but they seemed to have a lot of fun. It made me think of how I’m going to feel in December when I get to take my sons to see The Force Awakens, which will be their first time seeing a new Star Wars movie on opening day. It is always an amazing experience to see something through someone else’s eyes that I’ve already experienced.
Do you have any unique comic con experiences you’d like to share, whether from SLCC, NYCC, Star Wars Celebration, or any other convention? Let me know by contacting me on Twitter @ryderwaldrondds, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or commenting below. Thanks so much to Coffee With Kenobi for letting me represent them at Salt Lake Comic Con and remember:
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