CORNER BROOK — Christian J. Simpson won’t be appearing in costume as Lt. Gavyn Sykes at next weekend’s Atlanti-Con.
“I’ll go as my earthling alter ego, dressed in casual clothes,” said Simpson, who played the role of Sykes in “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.”
Simpson is one of the headline guests for the science-fiction (sci-fi)/fantasy/comics/gaming and anime convention taking place at the Greenwood Inn and Suites on Saturday and Sunday.
He does have a homemade Lt. Sykes costume that was given to him by a fan, but the size of the hat makes transporting it a challenge.
So even though Sykes won’t make an appearance, Simpson feels he’ll be close by.
“I like to think Lt. Sykes is out there in another galaxy dressed in his clothes at the same time,” said Simpson by phone from London, England recently.
Simpson generally appears at two sci-fi conventions a year and said back when he was working on the “Star War” movies he did a lot more.
He attended the Sci-Fi on the Rock convention in St. John’s in 2009 and it was through organizer Darren Hann that he got put in touch with Jeff Keeping, one of the powers behind Atlanti-Con.
Simpson said he had such a nice time in Newfoundland and raved about it to everyone that he leapt at the chance when contacted by Keeping about being a guest at Atlanti-Con.
That’s because Simpson is a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy.
“When I actually got the part in “Star Wars” I was just beside myself, as you can imagine being. I felt like a seven-year-old kid again.”
His favourite movie of all time is “The Empire Strikes Back” which he saw in a cinema with his dad when he was seven.
“So that really set the benchmark and set the bar,” he said.
“When you’re a kid, that idea of escaping to another dimension in your imagination is fantastic. That was something that just gripped me."
Simpson said the only difference between him and the people who attend the conventions is that he is sitting on a different side of the table.
“But I really come at it as a fan,” he said.
“I love doing conventions because I generally just love to share the stories from the set. Because I know how fans like me want to hear about all the intimate tidbits.”
Things like how “Star Wars” creator George Lucas is in real life and what it was like to work with Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman.
“So I just sort of see myself as a conduit to fellow fans. So it’s nice to be able to give that back.”