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IIn her sea-level Vancouver home, Erica Carroll flipped through her research on altitude sickness, knowing she would be in Salt Lake City for FanX this week. The city is more than 4,200 feet higher than she's used to; one of her friends was just in Utah, and the difference didn't go well.

But Carroll, in another sense, is used to great heights.

She dreamed of them since she was a girl, watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation" with her dad and imagining her star-flung future as an astronaut. She never boarded a space shuttle — but as an actress, she still landed among the stars.

For two seasons of the hit CW show, "Supernatural," she played the angel Hannah. She's graced myriad other sci-fi series as well, including "Battlestar Galactica," "Caprica," "Almost Human," "Fringe," "Smallville" and "V."

Part of that is the luck of location: Vancouver is a hotbed of sci-fi filmmaking. But Carroll has a special love for the stargazing genre, beyond her childhood hope of reaching the cosmos. As she watched "The Next Generation," she was enamored not just by the worlds it explored, but the ideas, too.

"I've always been a sci-fi fan. With the writing and the storylines, you can get out of the basic, linear storytelling and can be introduced" to new concepts, she said. "Time travel; space travel; 'Star Trek,' with the holodeck; all that kind of stuff. There's a lot of imagination."

One of the great perks of working in sci-fi, too, is that as an actor, "there's always a chance that you'll be back, no matter what happens," Carroll added. "Like on 'Supernatural,' the angel [Hannah] left that vessel, but the vessel is still technically alive," she said, leaving the door open for an angelic return.

Carroll, as animated in her voice as she is in her expressions, felt challenged playing the more subdued Hannah. To help, Carroll drew upon another sci-fi character near and dear to her heart — which is exactly where he or she stays. Carroll won't let slip who it was (though someone on set did guess it).

Now, Carroll's joined the cast of "When Calls the Heart," a popular Hallmark channel series set in frontier Canada that's entering its third season. Compared to the omnipresent threats of violence in many sci-fi series, Carroll enjoys the change of pace in the gentler world of "When Calls the Heart."

"It's a nice change to shoot something that is so just innocent and lovely, you know, when you're working on stuff where people are being shot and killed and mutilated," Carroll joked.

Not that she doesn't live with one foot in both worlds. She also just finished shooting in Moscow for "Insomnia," a movie reminiscent of "The Hunger Games," in which she's pitted against other contestants in a game of life and death.

With those high stakes well behind her, Carroll can focus on having fun at FanX — where she hopes she can meet LeVar Burton, who was a mainstay of her childhood as Geordi La Forge in "The Next Generation."

Carroll will be at the pop-culture convention, taking place March 24-26 at the Salt Palace Convention Center, all three days.

Twitter: @MikeyPanda

Erica Carroll at FanX

For more information on autographs and photo-ops with Carroll, visit —

Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience 2016

When • Thursday to Saturday, March 24-26

Where • Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 W. West Temple, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $5-$230 for wristbands, some events require an extra ticket;