The lineup for the popular comic convention, which will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center Sept. 5-7, is as varied as Harnell's character repertoire.
"24's" Jack Bauer, otherwise known as actor Kiefer Sutherland led the list, along with actress Christina Ricci and Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren, who played Rocky's Russian nemesis, Ivan Drago, in "Rocky IV" and "Creed II." There is also someone coming who Utah fans have meet before: Canadian actress Megan Follows, best-known for playing Anne Shirley in the popular '80s miniseries "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel." Back in 1999, she was in Utah to perform with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square for its annual Christmas concert.
According to FanX co-founder Dan Farr, the Salt Lake comic convention is able to routinely bring in high-profile celebrity guests mainly because of its fans.
"We have such a great community here," Farr told the Deseret News. "The fan community here is just phenomenal. They're so good-hearted to the guests when they come and they make them feel welcome, and the attendance to the event is really strong."
The numbers support Farr's last comment. For April's FanX Spring Comic Convention, the event saw between 45,000 and 50,000 people attend, while organizers anticipate another 75,000 to 100,000 attendees for the fall convention. At this point, Farr said FanX organizers do not have a spring convention scheduled for next year, but said they may be "open to doing a limited event," Farr said, "that wouldn't be at the convention center but be more of an off-site event that still (has) celebrities and panels and things like that."
But before that happens, FanX's biggest event is looming: three days of celebrities, cosplayers, panels, signings, vendor booths and something new that grew out of this past April's event: A panel that will showcase talented FanX attendees.
A popular FanX tradition is a panel called "Twisted Tunes" that features voice actors in attendance at the conference reading movie scripts. But the April FanX didn't have enough voice actors to make up a full panel. So, rather than cancelling the event, FanX organizers put out a call for conference attendees to audition for what they called the showcase challenge.
"It was a huge hit with people," Farr said. "You know, our community is so talented. Even Jess Harnell, who managed it, he was so impressed with the talent that showed up at that panel, so we're going to do an encore of that. … So much of the entertainment of the event is created by the fans."
Farr said those interested in participating should watch the FanX website over the next few weeks for information on how to audition for the showcase challenge.
Rounding out the FanX Fall Salt Lake Comic Convention guest list is:
- Ryan Hurst, who played Gerry Bertier in the 2000 Disney sports movie "Remember the Titans."
- Actor Jason Patric.
- Actress Lesley-Ann Brandt, currently starring as Mazikeen on the Fox comic book show "Lucifer"
- Scottish-French actor Sebastian Roché, who played Martin Heusmann on "The Man in the High Castle."
- Carlos Valdes, best-known as Cisco Ramon/Vibe/Reverb on the CW show "The Flash."
- Voice actresses Kara Eberle and Arryn Zech, who both voice characters on TV show "RWBY."
- Voice actor Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario in the "Super Mario" video game series.
- Actor and director Jonny Cruz, who played Zane Cannon on the ABC show "Castle."
- Actor and stand-up comedian Kel Mitchell, a former cast member of the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show "All That," and more recently as Double G on the Nickelodeon series "Game Shakers."
- 'N Sync member Chris Kirkpatrick, who now does voice actor work.
- Voice actress Linda Ballantyne, who has voiced characters in popular children's shows including "George of the Jungle," "Mia and Me" and "Sailor Moon."
- Actress Lana Parrilla, best-known as the Evil Queen/Regina Mills in the ABC series "Once Upon a Time."
- Actress and voice actress Katie Griffin, who voiced the character Sam Sparks in the TV series "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."
FanX announced in May that actor Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the "Harry Potter" series, would also attend the fall convention.