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Phoenix Comicon Red Alert:

Stewart Out, Wheaton In

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Wil Wheaton. Image by Gage Skidmore. Patrick Stewart image by Urban tog. Used under the terms of creative commons licenses.
Sir Patrick Stewart Cancels Headlining Appearance At Phoenix Comicon, But Wil Wheaton Steps In To Replace Him And Re-Energize Star Trek Roster

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By Brad Hamilton
Modern Times Magazine

May 9, 2012 — Now that Capt. Jean-Luc Picard has been called away on an important assignment, it seems like Wesley Crusher is going to have to save the Enterprise crew — again.

Fans of Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) and Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), stars of Star Trek: The Next Generation, must be going through mixed emotions since the iconic Stewart was forced to cancel his appearance at Phoenix Comicon in 2012 due to film commitments. Wheaton came to the rescue for the big Star Trek celebration when he confirmed his attendance at the event this week.

“We will be refunding all Patrick Stewart solo photo-op purchases along with all TNG cast photo op purchases. Refunds should be complete within the next 72 hours. The TNG cast photo op will continue with Brent, Marina, LeVar, and Michael and will be repriced and offered for purchase online,” said Matt Solberg, convention director. “We have been fortunate over the years to not have any major guest cancellations, especially this close to our show. It is a risk we take as we book headlining actors, and working actors at that. This really is our first major guest cancellation we have had in over four years.”

A little less than a day later, though, Solberg was happy announce that Wheaton confirmed his attendance — he is a regular at the Phoenix Comicon — as well as re-confirming the attendance of Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Levar Burton and the indubitable Brent Spiner.

“He (Wheaton) is an author online and in real life he is a geek in the purest and best sense of the word and he makes his FIFTH appearance at Phoenix Comicon this year! He will participate in the Star Trek TNG and the Eureka cast reunions, along with their cast photo ops. He will also hold "Storytime with Wil" on Saturday night at 6 p.m., which is a special registration event for $10. He is attending Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” Solberg posted on the Phoenix Comicon Facebook page.

There was no confirmation as to whether Spiner would do his world famous Stewart impersonation now that the Shakespearean star had backed out, but many are thinking it is now assured.

Besides former members of the Enterprise crew, other actors scheduled to attend include Erin Gray and Gil Gerard of Buck Rogers, Ed Asner from Pixar’s Up, Jon Bernthal who played Shane on The Walking Dead, Phil Lamarr from MadTV, Pulp Fiction and for his voice work in anime.

Another highly anticipated event will be the 15-year-celebration of Starship Troopers including a reunion of Dina Meyer and Casper Van Dien.

Comics will also meet sports as the Arizona Diamondbacks host Phoenix Comicon night at Chase Field Wednesday, May 23. The Diamondbacks will be facing the Los Angeles Dodgers and attendees will get special pricing on tickets.

Among the comics scene, Avatar Press and Zenescope will be bringing many artists and authors from their stable. Other special comics guests include Brian Augustyn, writer and editor of Flash, George Perez, artist for Superman and Wonder Woman, and many others.

Other big news for Phoenix Comicon 2012 is that the wildly popular Steampunk Ball will be free this year. Events that are coming back include Geek Prom (brought to you by Bookmans), and the Zombie Beauty Pageant. New events include Geek Speed Dating, High School of the Dead, and an Opening Night Sci-Fi Party.

Also new is the Bleeding Cool Fan Awards, hosted by BleedingCool.com blogger Rich Johnston. Nominees and winners are to be determined by fans from around the world.

For more information, visit http://phoenixcomicon.com/ or contact volunteers@phoenixcomicon.com.

Brad Hamilton lives in Tempe, Ariz.
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