(MCT) — The wise USS Enterprise Capt. Jean-Luc Picard might take a sip of Earl Grey tea and then issue an order, punctuated with the command, “Engage.”
Dragon Con seems to have taken Picard’s orders seriously with a recently completed galaxy-spanning lineup for the 2014 edition of the sprawling sci-fi, fantasy and pop culture convention over Labor Day weekend. It features a fleet of stars led by none other than the actor who portrayed Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” chrome-domed British thespian Sir Patrick Stewart, and Karl Urban, the hunky New Zealander who has played Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the “Star Trek” movie franchise reboot.
“SirPatStew,” to borrow the Twitter handle for Stewart, Professor Charles Xavier in the “X-Men” movie franchise and a Royal Shakespeare Company veteran, and Urban (“The Lord of the Rings,” “Riddick”) have been camped atop Dragon Con’s guest list for weeks. But convention organizers have filled in around them recently with announcements of appearances by the no-longer-a-kid-but-still-boyish “Karate Kid” star Ralph Macchio and his “The Outsiders” co-star C. Thomas Howell (“The Amazing Spider-Man”), Jeri Ryan (“Star Trek: Voyager,” “Body of Proof”), Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride”), John Ratzenberger (“Cheers,” multiple Pixar character voices) and Adam Baldwin (“Chuck,” “The Last Ship”).
Forming a mini “Karate Kid” reunion, Martin Kove, who played the evil sensei, also will appear.
While actors with sizable long-ago credits enjoy eternal currency with Dragon Con loyalists, this year’s convention, commandeering five downtown hotels from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, also is big on stars with active current TV series, films and/or franchises, including:
• James Gunn, co-writer-director of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” red hot after his film broke box office records for an August debut last weekend.
• CW’s “Arrow”: Katie Cassidy, Paul Blackthorne and Caity Lotz.
• HBO’s “True Blood”: Kristin Bauer van Straten, Nelsan Ellis and Michael McMillian.
• ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”: Beverley Elliott, Lee Arenberg, Sean Maguire, Rebecca Mader and Giancarlo Esposito.
• TNT’s “Falling Skies”: Connor Jessup, Drew Roy and Mpho Koaho.
• Fox’s “The Following”: Shawn Ashmore.
• The Syfy channel will be particularly well represented with multiple actors from “Being Human,” “Warehouse 13,” “Lost Girl” and “Defiance.”
• Other stars on the horizon: Billy Boyd and Craig Parker (“Lord of the Rings”); Walter Koenig (“Star Trek”); Mary McDonnell (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Major Crimes”); Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk”); Julie Benz (“Angel,” “Dexter”); Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”); Jed Brophy, Adam Brown and Dean O’Gorman (“The Hobbit”); and Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman and Philip Paley (Sid and Marty Krofft’s 1970s cult favorite “Land of the Lost”).
Also, Dragon Con has announced that its swarm-attracting costume parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Aug. 30, will follow the same streetcar-altered route as last year. From a staging spot on West Peachtree Place near West Peachtree Street, the parade will turn north (right) on Spring Street, east (right) on Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, south (right) on Peachtree Street, east (left) on Andrew Young International Boulevard and north (left) on Peachtree Center Avenue. It will end on Peachtree Center Avenue between John Portman Boulevard and Baker Street, in front of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Crowds start assembling before 8 a.m. The closest MARTA stations are Civic Center and Peachtree Center. Details: www.dragoncon.org/?q=parade.