UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: After being forced to cancel his appearance at this weekend’s Big Lick Comic-Con, LeVar Burton recorded a message of apology to those planning to attend this weekend’s event at Berglund Center.

That message can be viewed by clicking here.


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Just days before the Big Lick Comic Con returns to Roanoke, the event organizer shared some sad news about one of the biggest names in pop culture.

Back in October, Big Lick Entertainment made its first celebrity guest announcement for the February event — LeVar Burton, who has starred as the host of “Reading Rainbow,” Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series and feature films, and Kunta Kinte in the mini-series “ROOTS.”

“Reading Rainbow” was the longest-running children’s television show in history, with a 26-year run from 1983 to 2009, winning more than 25 awards, including 10 for outstanding series and the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.

Burton has won several prestigious awards including three Primetime Emmy Awards; two nominations for the Spoke Word Grammy award, winning in 1999 for his narration of “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr;” and 27 Daytime Emmy nominations and 21 wins.

However, on Tuesday, Feb. 8, JD Sutphin with Big Lick Entertainment announced that Burton’s shooting schedule for a new project got moved to this weekend, forcing him to “cancel and/or move his appearance” at the Berglund Center.

Sutphin says he is working with Burton’s management in hopes of rescheduling the star’s appearance for Roanoke’s next Big Lick Comic Con, which is scheduled for Aug. 6-7.

The Big Lick Comic Con is set to take place at the Berglund Center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13.

However, according to the event schedule for the weekend, there will be a pre-party from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11 at Awful Arthur’s, complete with MCU trivia, karaoke, themed drinks, and giveaways. There will also be a party kicking off at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Courtyard Marriott on Ordway Drive with cake, themed drinks, karaoke, and fire pits.

Tickets for the comic con are still on sale through the event’s website and through the Berglund Center box office. You can also purchase photo ops with other celebrity guests, including the following:

  • Dante Basco, a film, television, and voice actor who is best known for playing Rufio, the leader of the Lost Boys, in Steven Spielberg’s “Hook,” but he has also performed a number of notable voice acting roles, such as Prince Zuko in Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” Jake Long from Disney Channel’s “American Dragon: Jake Long,” and Spin Kick from “Carmen Sandiego.”
  • Austin St. John, an actor and martial artist known for his portrayal of Jason Lee Scott in the “Power Rangers” franchise.
  • Michael Biehn, an actor primarily known for his roles in science fiction films, such as Sgt. Kyle Reese in “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Cpl. Dwayne Hicks in “Aliens,” and Lt. Coffey in “The Abyss.” On television, he has appeared in “Hill Street Blues,” “The Magnificent Seven,” and “Adventure Inc.,” as well as the second season of the Star Wars TV series “The Mandalorian” as the villainous Lang.

For those who purchased photo opportunities with Burton, Sutphin says he will reach out to you about your options, including switching that photo op to any other celebrity guest at this weekend’s event, using it at a later date for any guest at any Big Lick Comic Con event in Roanoke or Chantilly up to the same value, or receiving a refund.