Geek in Gear: When convention guests cancel

If you haven’t heard the news, Norman Reedus (Daryl off of “The Walking Dead”) was supposed to come to FanX in April. I say “supposed to” because, yeah, he sort of had to cancel.

He wasn’t the only one. LeVar Burton also had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts. Hopefully that’s the last of the cancellations, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if there end up being more between now and FanX (which isn’t a ton of time, because wow, we’re already less than a month out).

Cancellations happen. Jonathan Frakes canceled for September’s convention (although he’s totally slated to come to FanX). Many other conventions have seen their high-profile guests bow out unexpectedly. Unfortunately, we just happened to lose the headliner who was part of the initial announcement for FanX.

But you know what? Convention celebrities are people. They have jobs. They have schedules. Most, if not all, try as hard as they can to make their commitments to fans. They wouldn’t initially agree to come unless they were absolutely certain they could (or if they were just jerks who like to crush fan dreams, which, gladly, is not very often if at all).

It seems difficult, though, for many people to accept that sometimes something better comes up for these convention guests. Upon Reedus’ announcement that he had to back out to take up another job, the Salt Lake Comic Con Facebook fan page and Twitter sort of exploded with a lot of angry.

I do understand why so many people were angry. Really. I seriously, honestly do. It was likely very similar to the sort of anger I felt when I was part of the massive lag jump that prevented thousands of wannabe San Diego Comic Con goers from getting tickets to last year’s con. Just remembering that makes me feel disappointed. Many people bought tickets to FanX specifically to see Reedus. Others finagled to get out of work or other commitments so they could meet a celebrity they really liked. I understand why they would be angry.

If you’re one of those people or know someone who is, just . . . please keep it to yourself. Or at the very least, take a step back so you don’t end up posting one of the many angry, vicious comments attacking Salt Lake Comic Con and Norman Reedus. It reflects poorly on all of us fans, Salt Lake Comic Con and Utah included. And that matters, because why would any celebrity, not just ones who have canceled, want to go to a convention and state where fans can be that vicious when said celebrities have to take care of their own lives and career?

Many celebrities have been a bit creeped out by overenthusiastic fanbases. Some of the things on the Internet are certainly best left on the Internet and not dragged out into conventions. Many of us probably notice the difference between what we should say and what shouldn’t see the light of day, but there are always those certain few who are just frankly embarrassing. But even if we know what shouldn’t be brought up in panels, we often forget that celebrities use the same social media sites as we do. What should stay on the Internet sometimes ends up severely affecting stuff in real life.

So yeah, be super disappointed when your favorite celebrity doesn’t come. Be frustrated that your kid won’t get to meet a really awesome person who plays awesome characters on your family’s favorite TV show. But be reasonable with how you respond. You never know who might see it.