July is here and that can mean only one thing friends... yep it’s time for London Film and Comic Con! We all know the score by now – LFCC is an annual geekfest celebrating all things wonderful from the world of film and TV geekdom. Last year's show was an absolute doozy – Stan Lee, John Hurt, Ian McDiarmid, Carrie Fisher, Michael Madsen, Michael Biehn, Edward James Olmos... the list was endless! No way could that be topped! But sure enough, bucking the trend of inferior sequels, LFCC 2015 blows away last year’s show in terms of big name guests. Not only do we have an Aliens reunion, but also a Back To The Future 30th anniversary reunion. Great Scott has it really been 30 years already! It’s an absolutely STACKED line-up: Sigourney “get away from her you bitch” Weaver! Bill “game over man” Paxton! Carrie “they mostly come at night...mostly” Henn! Michael “damn I’m late for school” J. Fox! Christopher “great scott” Lloyd! James “slacker” Tolkan! Lea “isn’t he a dreamboat” Thompson!
But guess what folks... yours truly is giving every one of them a miss! Shock! Horror! What’s the meaning behind this madness!? Well as Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker: “With great star-power comes great crowdability.” Or something along those lines. Basically, the crowds and queues at last year’s show were absolutely horrendous, and the chances of getting to meet this year’s group of awesome legends is looking to be very slim unless you’re one of the crazy geeks who forked out a small fortune to purchase the VIP Diamond passes and is willing to stand in queues for 6 hours! Not for me thank you very much!
Luckily there are LOADS of other awesome legends for us sensible geeks to choose from: John Ratzenberger (Cliff from Cheers)! Robert Englund (Freddie Kreuger)! James Remar (Harry from Dexter)! Neve Campbell (Sidney from Scream)! Michael Gambon (Dumbledore from Harry Potter)! Jonathan Pryce (High Sparrow from Game Of Thrones)! Richard Dean Anderson (TV’s MacGyver)! Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter from Captain America!) Zach Galligan (Billy from Gremlins)! Plus LOADS of other stars from Star Wars, Game Of Thrones, Star Trek, Back To The Future, and more. The BTTF reunion also includes the actors who portrayed Dave McFly, Goldie Wilson, Marvin Berry, original Jennifer Parker (NOT Elizabeth Shue!), and the other George McFly (NOT Crispin Glover!). No Biff Tannen though – he must’ve been outside washing cars! (Actually actor Thomas F. Wilson has strangely distanced himself from the trilogy).
Last year's LFCC also marked my first foray into the world of cosplay, and this year will be no different... “You’ve already given them everything” ... “Not everything. Not yet.” Yes, the Dark Knight will be returning to London once again! I’ve opted to attend on the less busy Friday this time as the massive overcrowding during the weekend last year was unbearable, so hopefully the heat won’t be too bad in the costume this time around!
So without further ado, let’s get right to it... “Chewie, punch it!”
Friday is here! Myself and my ever loyal geek companion ‘Nien Nunb’ are all set and raring to go. I’ve packed up my Batman costume, rolled up my The Empire Strikes Back poster, she’s made the sandwiches. I slip on my TESB t-shirt and she puts on her lightsaber earrings. And off we go! We drive down to LFCC’s new venue: London’s Olympia (Earls Court is sadly set to be demolished and turned into apartments). It’s a glorious day for a convention, clear blue sky and plenty of sun. As we arrive, we can see that the queues are already huge, snaking around the perimeter of the building. So much for this being a quieter Friday then! I weave the car (aka The Bat!) in and out of geeks like the Millennium Falcon dodging asteroids, and we park up. Thankfully the queue was moving pretty fast and before long we were in! Ah, the familiar sights and sounds (and smells!) of a convention. The Olympia is a massive venue and this year’s LFCC is utilising more space than ever before. It’s absolutely monstrous, set across THREE levels! Rows and rows of tables filled with all kinds of geeky collectible merchandise stretch out as far as the eye can see. The entrance is guarded by a T-800 endoskeleton. This day is gonna be fun!
Nien Nunb and I work our way around, starting on level 1, crawling through the aisles as our eyeballs feast on the geeky delights to be seen. And there are some truly AWESOME stalls to see, with exhibitors selling everything from Darth Maul Lego to replica Kill Bill samurai swords, with everything and anything else in-between!
The ‘Team Fox Parkinson’s Research’ table was freakin’ sweet, with replica props from the BTTF trilogy. And a very, very cool miniature display of Hill Valley. “Save the clock tower!”
Somewhere on level 2 was a stall selling movie props created by nifty 3-D printers. They had a couple of 3-D printers whirring and buzzing away, and this was my first chance to get a close-up gander at these remarkable machines. Let’s just hope they don’t become self-aware Terminator style and start making full-size robots! On display were some very impressive 3-D printed Star Wars props including Han Solo’s blaster and Kylo Ren’s ‘broadsaber’ hilt. We then wander past a nice Star Wars backdrop complete with a couple of Stormtrooper mannequins.
The place is really starting to get busy now! Time to head over to see some guests I think! I make a bee-line straight for John Ratzenberger. John’s CV is legendary – he of course played postman know-all Cliff Clavin in my favourite sitcom of all time Cheers, and I’m stoked that I’ll be meeting one of my favourite characters from the show. He did have a very small speaking part in The Empire Strikes Back as a rebel soldier on Hoth, but Cliff is who he’ll always be to me! He has also done extensive voice-over work with Pixar, and it will be an honour to meet him at last!
The meeting is short but very sweet. He signs my Cliff Clavin picture for me before shaking my hand. I’m actually at a loss for words for once! I’ve met the likes of Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale, but here I am speechless when meeting the postie barfly of my favourite sitcom! I just beam a smile at him and croak “Real pleasure to be meeting you!” and he replies back “Pleasure to meet you too sir.” And I realise I’m still shaking his hand, finding it hard to let go! I’m a happy geek now!
We make our way towards the Star Wars guests. It’s a rather good line-up this year, and as it’s the 35th Anniversary of The Greatest Movie Ever Made™, there are a whole host of more obscure The Empire Strikes Back guests – Rebel soldiers, Imperial officers, and Stormtroopers aplenty. There’s only one man I want to sign my TESB poster though: Ken Colley. Ken portrayed Imperial officer Admiral Piett (promoted after the death of Admiral Ozzel via 'Space Skype'!) in both TESB and ROTJ. He miraculously survived Darth Vader’s famous short temper after he managed to let the Millennium Falcon slip away. Ken is an absolute pleasure to meet. He’s friendly, chatty, and a really nice bloke. After he signs my poster I tell him that he was my favourite baddie Imperial when I was a kid, and I always loved his line “Bounty hunters! We don’t need that scum.” He laughs and then poses for a picture. He also shakes Nien Numb’s hand and smiles, knowing he’s made another geek’s day.
One last guest to meet. I first met him two years ago and am looking forward to saying hello to him again: Boba Fett! (Or Jeremy Bulloch as he prefers to be known!). The galaxy’s most fearsome bounty hunter is back, and this time I’ve brought along my Boba Fett ‘Mighty Muggs’ figure for him to sign. When he sees my figure, he laughs. He takes time and care to sign it, and is clearly amused by the look of it. After signing, he poses for a picture, and then asks me if I’ve been watching the cricket. Now I’m not a fan of cricket at all, I’d rather watch paint dry, so I tell him “No, I’m not a fan.” He then replies “Oh I love cricket, and I’m missing it being here. I wanted them to put a TV screen up here for me but there wasn’t any room.” I then told him he should’ve brought a little radio earpiece to wear. “Oh no, I’d be tapping my ear all day trying to hear the scoreline.” Then I just wave my hand dismissively and say “Ah, Bobba Fett doesn’t watch cricket!” He then pauses, gives me a most serious sinister look, and says “Oh yes he does.” I laugh, and stroke my chin, replying “Oh I’ve learnt something new about Boba Fett today!” And we both have a good chuckle. Woohoo don’t mind me, I’m just having a casual chat with the man who played Boba freakin’ Fett, that’s all!
Well I’m not sure how my day can get any better to be honest! We spend a bit of time wandering around the floor, seeing which guests we can spot. I manage to snap Hayley Atwell (Captain America), James Remar (Dexter), Neve Campbell (Scream), Tom Savini (‘Sex Machine’ from From Dusk Till Dawn!), Lea Thompson (Back To The Future), Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), Zach Galligan (Gremlins), and Carrie Henn ('Newt' from Aliens)...
We then stumble across the Gibson stand. Last year, Gibson had a really cool green-screen area set up where they let geeks rock out against a cool backdrop. This year, Gibson has created the Guitar Of Thrones (see what they did there!). Time for a quick pose I think! It was also amusing to see cosplayers sitting on the throne, including an authentic looking Judge Dredd and a Batman: Arkham Asylum version of The Scarecrow...
It’s now getting really busy in here, geeks are everywhere, and the place is buzzing. Lots of cosplaying geeks too, and this particular inventive Alien Queen catches my eye.
And that reminds me: Holy Comic-Con Cosplay Batman! I think I see the Bat signal in the sky because it’s time for me to return to the Batcave and sling on my costume! We return to the car and I slowly clamber into my outfit. Then back into the venue we go! I can’t walk 10 feet without someone wanting to pose with Batman!
I spot good Joker and Harley Quinn cosplayers for perfect photo opportunities. I did see a Superman loitering around somewhere, but due to getting stopped so many times by geeks, I didn’t get that Batman v Superman photo I was hoping for. Ah well, there’s always next time! I did come across that awesome Alien Queen again though.
After a couple of hours in the Batsuit, I’m ready to take the damn thing off. Boy it gets very hot in there! We head pack into the car park and Nien Nunb quickly snaps a few shots for fun. Then I finally take that damn hot cowl off. How ever did Bruce Wayne cope?
And that, as they say, is that. An absolutely enjoyable day! Not a long wait until Winter’s con in November. Then of course the BIG one next summer: Star Wars Celebration comes to London!