Dragon Con celebrates Y’allywood

The annual media and fandom festival hosts cast members from films and TV shows filmed in Atlanta on Aug. 30-Sept. 3

Photo credit: Courtesy Dragon Con Photography (c) 2017 Dragon Con, Inc
IT'S ELECTRIC: Marvin “Krondon” Jones III plays the villain of CW’s “Black Lightning”.

From the makers of Hotlanta comes Y’allywood, the latest unbearably punny nickname for Atlanta that nobody who actually lives here will ever use. But at least this nickname actually comes from the city’s achievements in film rather than the blistering summer temperature we are so naturally blessed with.

Georgia’s film industry exploded in the last decade, with an increasing amount of film and television shows produced here each year —and it shows no sign of slowing down. Gov. Nathan Deal reported in the 2017 fiscal year more than 320 feature films and television productions generated $9.5 billion of economic impact for the state of Georgia and $2.7 billion in direct spending.

This year, Dragon Con will host cast members from several projects filmed in Atlanta including Marvel Cinematic Universe’s  The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, along with Netflix and CW Television Network series “Stranger Things” and “Black Lightning.”

Evangeline Lilly: The Squickerwonkers

Evangeline Lilly stars in Marvel’s Ant-Man and its sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp as Hope van Dyne, better known as Wasp. She is set to reprise the role in an upcoming Avengers film next year along with co-star Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, or Ant-Man.

Lilly is also known for her major role as Kate Austen in the television series “LOST,” as well as the elven warrior Tauriel, an original character created for the second and third films of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. Unknown by some of her fans, Lilly is also the author of The Squickerwonkers children’s book series, which follow a family of quirky outcasts with personal vices.

Lilly and illustrator Rodrigo Bastos Didier will speak about The Squickerwonkers at a panel on Sun., Sept. 2 in the Marriott Imperial Ballroom at 2:30 p.m.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Pom Klementieff, who plays alien martial artist Mantis in The Avengers, will speak on another Marvel cast session called “All the Feels,” a Q&A panel that discusses what it takes to be a hero. The panel is on Sat., Sept. 1 at the Hyatt Regency VI-VII at 4 p.m. Klementieff will be available for photos at 6:20 p.m.

Benedict Wong, who plays master of the mystic arts Wong in Doctor Strange and Avengers: Infinity War, will speak on a “Spotlight on Benedict Wong” panel, a Q&A on his cinematic roles. Wong is also known for playing the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan on Netflix’s “Marco Polo,” and Bruce Ng in The Martian. The discussion is Fri., Aug. 31 at the Hilton Grand East at 11:30 a.m. Wong will also partake in MCU Cast: All the Feels discussion Sat., Sept. 1 at 4 p.m.

Karen Gillan appears as intergalactic assassin Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy, and also played Martha in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. She will speak in the MCU Cast: Chosen Family discussion held at the Marriott Atrium Ballroom on Sun., Sept. 2 at 10 a.m. and will be available for photos the same day at 12:30 p.m.

Klementieff, Wong, and Gillan will all speak at a Marvel group cast session titled “Chosen Family.” The conversation is about digging into a character personality and  the lessons a birth family teaches versus lessons by a chosen family of friends and colleagues. The panel is Sat., Sept. 2 at the Hyatt Centennial II-III at 4 p.m.

Stranger Things

Gaten Matarazzo plays the spunky and diplomatic Dustin Henderson in Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” In addition to an extensive theater career including Broadway performances in “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and “Les Miserables.”

Caleb McLaughlin plays the pragmatic and speculative Lucas Sinclair in “Stranger Things,” and has a recurring role as Jay-Jay on NBC’s “Shades of Blue.” He also starred as Young Ricky Bell of the American R&B group in “The New Edition Story,” a Black Entertainment Television mini-series about the band.

Matarazzo and McLaughlin will both speak on a panel called “Stranger Things - Why Do That?” about their characters and the show in general on Sat., Sept. 1 in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom at 4 p.m. They will both also be available for photos after the panel in the Marriott International Hall South at 5:10 p.m.

Black Lightning

The CW’s “Black Lightning” premiered early this year The series is an adaptation of DC Comic’s series featuring the publisher’s second black superhero Jefferson “Black Lightning” Pierce, played in the television series by Cress Williams of “Prison Break” and “Hart of Dixie” fame. At the time of the series, Pierce plays a retired superhero working as a high school principal, but must return to crime fighting when his daughters are kidnapped by a local gang.

Dragon Con will feature several panels covering “Black Lightning” this year, including “Black Lightning: Out of Retirement” which will provide conversation on what it takes to be a hero in the current world on Fri., Aug. 31 in the Marriott M302-M303 at 1 p.m.

Four cast members are appearing on two different panels including China McClain and Nafessa Williams, who play Pierce’s super-powered daughters Jennifer and Anissa “Thunder” Pierce. Christine Adams, who plays Pierce’s neuroscientist ex-wife, and Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, who plays Black Lightning’s adversary Tobias Whale, will also speak.

The panels “Black Lightning Cast: Lighting Strikes” will discuss what it takes to create a new superhero story in a changed world on Sat., Sept. 1 in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom at 1 p.m. Additionally, a behind-the-scenes look at the series called “Black Lightning Cast: Neighborhood Watch” will take place in the Hyatte Centennial II-III on Sun., Sept. 2 at 4 p.m.

McClain will appear for a photo session on Sat., Sept. 1 in the Marriott International Hall South at 2:30 p.m., Williams and Jones are available for photos the same day at 2:40 p.m.,

For a complete list of panels, celebrities, and events, slide on over to  Dragon Con’s website. Dragon Con veterans know the smartest way to organize your weekend is by downloading the official app, which provides a roster of events to make scheduling a bit easier.

While taking in the cosplay sights at the Con, feel free to share photos of that kickass costume you spent months preparing. Also be sure to look for a few CL staff in the audience for a chance to be featured on our social media.

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