Uncle Joe gets makeover as Lord Vader heads to town

David Prowse who played Darth Vader
David Prowse who played Darth Vader
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UNCLE Joe has been given a space-age makeover as Darth Vader puts Wigan in his diary.

The confectionary icon, who has helped to popularise Mint Balls around the planet, has now been blasted into a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

The famous William Santus sweet factory trademark has now, with approval of the makers, gone all sci-fi as the official emblem of Wigan’s second Comic-Com at the Robin Park Sports Centre on December 7.

Uncle Joe has adopted a monocled cyborg look for guest of honour Dave Prowse, the actor who played the bronchial-voiced anti-hero of the Star Wars films.

Prowse, also known to a past generation of youngsters as Green Cross Code Man, will be joined by Chris Rankin the Kiwi actor who was the Ministry of Magic pen-pusher Percy Weasley in Harry Potter.

And they are likely attract hundreds of fans of both cinema blockbuster series dressed in their own costumes joining in the fun in the Cos-Play section.

The town’s debut Comic-Con earlier this summer certainly proved a truly out-of-the-world experience.

And organiser Paul Prescott – who runs Funky Figures on Market Street – is already confident Mark Two will be even better.

Hundreds of fans of movie, TV and comic superheroes and science-fiction creations flocked to the Robin Park Arena for the ultimate in escapism.

They travelled from as far as London in the south, Lincolnshire in the east and all points on the compass in between.

Attractions included the sixth Doctor Who, actor Colin Baker, who shared a question and answer event for Whovians alongside Standish author and scriptwriter Paul Finch who has worked on scripts of the hit BBC series and written a number of fan books charting The Doctor’s intergalactic adventures.

Other celebrity guests included diminutive star Kenny Baker who will soon be climbing back inside R2D2 for the seventh in the Star Wars film series and appeared alongside co-stars Femi Taylor (Oola) and Jeremy Bulloch (bounty hunter Boba Fett).

Mr Prescott is sure that Darth Vader and a dose of Hogwarts will work even more magic this time.

And even Uncle Joe is looking forward to a distinctly new experience.

He said: “We held a contest for Comic-Con supporters to design a logo and Mike Coen Jnr was the winner. We have had his design given a polish by a digital artist and we are all thrilled with the result. It’s a fantastic idea because Uncle Joe is such an iconic emblem in the history of Wigan and is instantly recognised.

“With the convention drawing people from around the country, could also open up Mint Balls to a new audience of sweet lovers!

“We certainly hope that we can work more closely with Santus’s in the future”

He admits he was “just a little overwhelmed” by the fantastic support and atmosphere at the earlier convention.

In fact visitor numbers were more than double what he privately envisaged.

He believes that the success in landing Dave Prowse plus teen heart throb Rankin shows that it has already come of age.