Sci-Fi fans flock to campus

By By Parker Williams

By Parker Williams

If you think you know where Darth Vader is from, guess again. He’s not from a galaxy far, far away — he’s British.

David Prowse, originally from England, starred as Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars films. Prowse, along with nine other celebrities from the sci-fi world, were among the attractions at this year’s Mountain-Con Science Fiction Celebration held on campus.

This year’s sci-fi convention attracted a diversity of characters to the University Park Marriott hotel, including stormtroopers, aliens, superheroes and even a few pirates.

Clinton Hallberg, 22, came to the event in a long brown robe and lightsaber at his side — imitating the clothing of Star Wars character Anakin Skywalker. Hallberg said science fiction opens up a way of thinking about the universe.

“What could be out there? What would it be like if we could travel throughout the galaxy and the universe?” Hallberg asked.

Ironically, not all the celebrities at the convention are science fiction buffs.

“I’ve never seen an episode of ‘Star Trek,’ I’ve never seen a Star Trek movie and I’ve never seen an episode of ‘Doctor Who,'” Prowse said.

He hasn’t even seen the episode of “Doctor Who” that he starred in. This comes as no surprise as he called starring in the program “the most embarrassing (thing) I’ve ever done in my life.”

Even while filming Star Wars Prowse said, “I felt I was doing a load of rubbish.” He later learned that playing Darth Vader was the best job he’d ever been offered.

Even though Prowse doesn’t have a deep interest in science fiction, he said he enjoys interacting with sci-fi aficionados at the conventions.

Even minor characters in sci-fi productions develop cult-followings. Femi Taylor played Jabba the Hutt’s slave dancer, Oola, in “The Return of the Jedi.” Although her character is only on the screen for a short time, there are many fans of Oola. Taylor said that many of the people who attend the various sci-fi conventions know more about her character than she does.

“I had no idea it was going to become such a phenomenon and (create) such a following,” Taylor said.

When asked what kind of people attend sci-fi conventions, Taylor explained that “geeks are enthusiasts?and nerds are people who are socially inept.”

Various events were held during the three-day convention, including an “Are you smarter than a Padawan?” competition, how to answer questions from non-diehard fans, costume workshops and a panel discussion on ghost hunting. On Saturday night, around 30 people gathered for a costume masquerade, where clothing ranged from sparkly shirts and pointy ears to mechanical cyborgs with robotic arms.

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