Comicpalooza delivers super sci-fi fun with ‘Aliens’ cast and others

It’s been 30 years since the science fiction blockbuster movie “Aliens” came out and Sigourney Weaver doesn’t look like she’s aged a day.

As for the rest of the cast … well, gosh, how about that Sigourney Weaver!

The cast of the iconic film reunited last weekend at Houston’s Comicpalooza, delivering laughter and cheers from the same ensemble that made us scream and cry at one of the most frighteningly suspenseful movies ever made. Present on stage together (and individually at their autograph booths) were Daniel Kash (Pvt. Spunkmeyer), Cynthia Scott (Cpl. Dietrich), Ricco Ross (Pvt. Frost), Mark Rolston (Pvt. Drake), Jenette Goldstein (Pvt. Vasquez), Carrie Henn (Newt), William Hope (Lt. Gorman), Michael Biehn (Cpl. Hicks), Paul Reiser (Burke), Bill Paxton (Pvt. Hudson) and Weaver (Lt. Ellen Ripley). The only major cast member not there was Lance Henriksen (Bishop).

Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver

With their time abbreviated due to a late start, several of the stars recounted their experience auditioning for the movie. Several of them nearly turned it down for other roles and most said they were unfamiliar with new guy directing the movie – James Cameron. Most of the cast members recalled reading lines for the part of Vasquez and Hudson. That led Paxton (who played Hudson) to quip that Weaver read for the part of Hudson.

Weaver not only headlined the movie but its predecessor, “Alien,” along with the sequels “Alien 3” and “Alien: Resurrection.”

It was an incredible experience seeing this much Hollywood talent together at one time. Yet they only made up a fraction of the celebrity guests, artists, authors and other entertainers who helped pack out the George R. Brown Convention Center over the weekend.

Lou Ferrigno

Lou Ferrigno

Among the numerous celebrities appearing at Comicpalooza were “Star Wars” veterans Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and David Prowse (Darth Vader), “Star Trek” actors Walter Koenig (Chekov) and Robert Duncan McNeill (Voyager’s Tom Paris), “The Incredible Hulk” himself Lou Ferrigno, “Rocky” star Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed), celebutant Tara Reid and the lovely Kate Beckinsale (Evelyn from “Pearl Harbor”).

In one of the classiest acts I’ve ever seen, Comicpalooza made a late addition to the guest list by bringing in Charlie Hunnam (Jax Teller from “Sons of Anarchy”) who had just headlined two weeks earlier in Houston at Space City Comic Con. To understand the significance of this, you first need to understand a little history.

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

The Greater Houston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (which has half ownership of Comicpalooza) sued Space City Comic Con (SCCC) to get it to stop using the Space City moniker (owned by the bureau). A federal judge refused to stop the show from going on but the lawsuit continues.

In the meantime, Hunnam (who rarely appears on conventions) was to join the entire Sons of Anarchy cast at SCCC. Hunnam did appear but several of his castmates held out due to a contract conflict. That led to anarchy at SCCC as outraged fans nearly rioted after spending hundreds of dollars for autographs and photos they never received.

David Prowse

David Prowse

Not only did Hunnam return to Houston, he agreed to give free autographs to those holding Sons of Anarchy VIP tickets from SCCC, he also cancelled his scheduled panel discussion so he could spend more time doing autographs and photos. Wolf Studios honored unredeemed VIP photo op vouchers from SCCC and Comicpalooza gave free three-day passes to those jilted SCCC VIP ticket holders.

Kudos go not only to Hunnam for his selfless act but also to Comicpalooza founder John Simons who went way out of his way to make good on a bad situation that he had nothing to do with.

Bill Paxtor

Bill Paxton

Now if I can bend John’s ear for a minute and drop a suggestion for next year ¬– it’s the 40th anniversary of “Star Wars.” A cast reunion would be a major coup for any comic con, especially Comicpalooza.

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