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Fan Expo Dallas Loses Michael J. Fox but Scores Ben Affleck

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The Fan Expo Dallas convention has had to do some serious celebrity shuffling with less than a week to go before it opens the floodgates for fans.

The massive fan convention confirmed Monday that Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox won't be able to attend the festivities that kick off this Friday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. An announcement followed, however, that actor and director Ben Affleck, who starred in Batman v Superman and Justice League, will attend the convention.

Affleck will be part of a live Q&A session at 7 p.m. Saturday and will sign autographs and take photos with fans for an additional fee. The convention will also offer a special Ultimate Ben Affleck package that includes access to all three events, according to a press release sent out by Fan Expo officials Monday afternoon.

The Fan Expo convention originally announced Fox's attendance in November as part of a grand reunion of the principal cast of the original Back to the Future film, including Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Tom Wilson. A Twitter from the convention Monday says that Fox had to pull out "due to unforeseen circumstances in his schedule." A follow-up post says attendees who paid for autograph and photograph sessions with Fox or tickets to the BTTF reunion show would receive an email about obtaining reimbursements for their purchases.

Affleck made his first big-screen appearance as one of the paddle-toting bullies in Richard Linklater's classic coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused before hooking up with hot indie director Kevin Smith and scoring roles in some of his most influential View-Askew-inverse films, including Chasing Amy, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Affleck officially achieved movie-star status in the Oscar-winning 1997 film Good Will Hunting, for which he won an Oscar for best original screenplay with co-star and co-writer Matt Damon. Robin Williams also won an Oscar for best supporting actor in the film. Affleck went on to star in big-budget, blockbuster hits such as Armaggedon, Pearl Harbor and Daredevil.

Affleck moved into the director's chair in 2007 with the critically acclaimed mystery thriller Gone Baby Gone and followed with more hits, including the 2010 crime drama The Town and the 2012 political thriller Argo, which won the Oscar for best picture. He played another comic book icon in 2016 by becoming Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and again in 2017 with Justice League.

He's reportedly working on his third and fourth rounds as Bruce Wayne in The Batman and a second Justice League movie, but rumors are circulating that he might be done playing the Dark Knight on the big screen. Affleck is also rumored to be working on a sequel to his 2016 hit thriller, The Accountant, and confirmed that he's starring in and directing a big-screen adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel Witness for the Prosecution and starring in a film for Netflix called Triple Frontier, according to his IMDB page.

Affleck is the latest celebrity in a long line of famous names scheduled to meet the fans at this weekend's Fan Expo convention. Other familiar names include Jeff Goldblum; Val Kilmer; Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman; movie and TV star Chuck Norris; Stranger Things' Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Sadie Sink; The Princess Bride's Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon and Wallace Shawn; and Firefly and Deadpool star Morena Baccarin.

Other celebrities who canceled their appearances at this weekend's con include X-Men film star Famke Janssen, Doctor Who's Karen Gillan and The Walking Dead's Sonequa Martin-Green, according to the convention's official website.
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.

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