Celebrities coming to Middle East Film & Comic Con 2023 in Abu Dhabi

The pop culture event returns to the UAE capital for the second year

David Harbour, the American actor best known for his role as Jim Hopper in Stranger Things, is the latest celebrity to join the starry line-up at the coming Middle East Film & Comic Con.

The annual pop culture event returns to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre for the second time from March 3 to 5.

Harbour, 47, will join other A-listers including fellow Stranger Things cast mate Jamie Campbell Bower, House of the Dragon star Matt Smith, director and actor Andy Serkis and Anthony Daniels, the actor behind beloved Star Wars character C-3PO.

A celebration of pop culture and fandom, MEFCC brings together fans and stars for a fun-filled weekend that features workshops, talks, meet-and-greets, concerts, competitions and more. Among the highlights is the annual cosplay competition, where fans dress up as their favourite characters and compete to see who is the best dressed.

Here are all the stars confirmed to attend so far:

David Harbour

Although Harbour is best known for his role as Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper in Stranger Things, he has also appeared in films such as Hellboy and Violent Night.

He began acting professionally in 1999 with a Broadway role in the revival of The Rainmaker. He then crossed over to television with small roles in shows before his breakout gig in Stranger Things in 2016.

More recently, he appeared in Steven Soderbergh's neo-noir drama No Sudden Move and made his Marvel debut as the Red Guardian in 2021's Black Widow, a role he will reprise in the coming Marvel film Thunderbolts, which is scheduled to be released later in the year.

Jamie Campbell Bower

Bower is best known globally for his role in the fourth season of the record-breaking Netflix show Stranger Things. In it, he plays One, the first child to be experimented on, and who decides to use his powers for evil. He later becomes Vecna, the powerful being who lords over the Upside Down, an alternate dimension in the show.

Bower made his film debut with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, in which Johnny Depp plays the titular character, and has since appeared in a number of major Hollywood productions, including The Twilight Saga and the fantasy film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. He also played the role of a young Gellert Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, as well as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

An accomplished musician, Bower co-founded punk rock band Counterfeit in 2015 and was its frontman and lead singer. The band released its debut album in 2017, but disbanded three years later in 2020. Bower has since released music as a solo artist.

Matt Smith

Best known for starring in Doctor Who, Smith played the 11th Doctor in the series from 2010 to 2014. The British actor later played Prince Philip in the first two seasons of The Crown, earning his first Emmy nomination, before his current role as Daemon Targaryen in the hit show House of the Dragon.

House of the Dragon broke viewership records upon its release in August, with critics praising it for its character development, visual effects and performances, including Smith's.

He also made his Marvel debut with Morbius, in which he played Milo, a living vampire. The Spider-Man Universe spin-off starring Jared Leto in the lead, however, was widely panned.

May Calamawy

The Egyptian-Palestinian actress is best known for two roles. She plays Layla El-Faouly, an Egyptian archaeologist and estranged wife of Marc Spector (portrayed by Oscar Isaac) in the Disney+ show Moon Knight. She also stars in the US comedy series Ramy.

Calamawy was born in Bahrain, and lived there until she was 17 before moving to Boston, initially to study industrial design. She moved to Dubai for five years, before returning to the US to pursue her acting career.

Her early break came with 2013’s Djinn, an Emirati supernatural horror movie directed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper. But it was Ramy, in which she plays the titular character's sister, Dena Hassan, that proved to be her breakout role.

Anthony Daniels

Star Wars fans will be able to meet Anthony Daniels, the man who brought C-3PO to life, at the Middle East Film & Comic Con.

The only actor to have starred in all nine of the Star Wars films, Daniels is best known for his portrayal of the beloved golden robot and R2-D2's constant companion.

He has also played the part in many of the franchise's spin-offs and is the latest celebrity to be announced as part of the star-studded line-up heading to the capital.

Andy Serkis

Best known for his performance in films such as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Planet of the Apes and King Kong, Serkis is also popular for his role as Ulysses Klaue in the Marvel Universe, having appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Black Panther (2018), as well as the Disney+ series What If…? (2021).

He made his directorial debut with the 2017 film Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy. He also directed the Netflix film Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, as well as the Marvel film Venom: Let There Be Carnage, with Tom Hardy in the lead. Serkis and his The Imaginarium Studios are adapting the beloved George Orwell book Animal Farm that is currently under production.

Other guests

Joining these Hollywood stars at MEFCC will be American voice actor Christopher Sabat, who is best known for his work as Dragon Ball Z's anti-heroes Vegeta and Piccolo.

Sabat has also voiced anime characters in the hit series One Piece, YuYu Hakusho, Fairy Tail and My Hero Academia. Aside from voice acting, he is also the founder of OkraTron 5000, an audio production company.

Disney artists Mike and Patty Peraza will also attend. Mike is an award-winning designer who has worked on films such as The Little Mermaid, DuckTales, The Fox and the Hound, Return of Oz, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. His wife Patty has also done animation for Mickey’s Christmas Carol and various Disney commercials.

Other talents announced include voice actors Paige O’Hara, who played Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Zach Aguilar, known for voicing Tanjiro Kamado in the Demon Slayer manga series and films, and Aether in the video game Genshin Impact.

Tickets to MEFCC start at Dh135 for a one-day pass. Celebrity meet and greets are additionally charged. More information is available at www.mefcc.com

Scroll through the gallery below for pictures from the cosplay competition at MEFCC 2022

Updated: February 22, 2023, 1:07 PM