Few people could have predicted how massive the “Star Wars” phenomenon would become when it was released 40 years ago. It certainly boosted the profile of Peter Mayhew, the 7’3” English actor who played the iconic Chewbacca in the space adventure series. Mayhew will be one of the featured guests at Niagara Falls Comic Con June 2-4.
During a recent phone interview, Mayhew said he’s looking forward to returning to Niagara Falls, Ont. for the three-day convention. When asked how many years has he been touring on the convention circuit, he laughed and said, “Too many. It’s been a long time (since I’ve been in Niagara Falls). I was quite amazed the first time I went up there and saw all the water and the whole lake.”
Mayhew wasn’t interested in answering many questions during the interview, as he’s saving his thoughts for the Q&A panel scheduled for 2 p.m. June 4. With fans having the ability to ask him any question, it’s likely here where Mayhew will share his thoughts on the recent passing of original “Star Wars” actors Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker. You can even ask him about his role in the critically savaged “Star Wars Holiday Special.”
“It all depends on what kind of questions they ask,” Mayhew said. “Everybody has their own ideas. I enjoy it.”
What the actor is unlikely to answer are questions about any future "Star Wars" films, like this December’s “The Last Jedi,” the young Han Solo film in production and Episode IX. While another actor will play the hairy Wookie in the Han Solo movie, Mayhew filmed scenes for “The Last Jedi.”
With "Star Wars" entering its fifth decade as a pop culture juggernaut, Mayhew always looks forward to interacting with his cast mates from the original trilogy, whether it’s in the new movies or on the convention circuit.
“It’s like a family,” Mayhew said. “It has been joyous for the family to get together. How can you describe the family? You can’t. You would have had to been there to enjoy it.”
In addition to Mayhew, there will be appearances by Robert Englund, Barbara Eden, Kevin Smith, wrestling star Sting and more. With plenty of opportunities to see, meet and interact with celebrity guests like Mayhew often comes a price. Autographs and photographs start at about $40 each and go up. Staged photos and autographs for stars like Sting and Englund top out at $120 each, and a signature will set you back $100.
Niagara Falls Comic Con also will feature panels and presentations with celebrity guests and artists, offering a chance for fans to ask them questions. There are also a couple of unique fan experiences available, like drinking beers and hearing stories from Okerlund or learn drumming from Marky Ramone.
You can also spend an entire day or more just looking through the countless merchandise sold by vendors at the convention, looking for that one rare piece to complete your collection.
Mayhew had one final message for fans – fortunately one that did not require a Wookie translator.
“Enjoy the show!,” he said. “Turn out and we’ll have a great time.”
Where: Scotiabank Convention Centre, 6815 Stanley Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont.
When: 3 to 8 p.m. June 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 3, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 4
Tickets: Single-day admission is $23.95-$36.95 plus fees. Ages 7 to 12 are $11.95; ages 6 and younger are admitted free with paid adult. Multi-day packages, VIP tickets, autograph and photograph tickets also are available.