This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The folks behind Utah's first FantasyCon swear by one thing: Their event is not like other fan conventions.
At other fan conventions, founder Josh Patel said at a news conference Wednesday, "there's not a lot of interactivity. You don't get to get involved."
Patel's event, set for July 3-5 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City, boasts plenty of interactive events including a three-story dragon.
"The giant dragon sounds pretty exciting," said Royd Tolkien, great-grandson of author J.R.R. Tolkien, who joined in the news conference via Skype from Britain.
Tolkien and actor Jed Brophy, who plays the dwarf Nori in "The Hobbit" movies and who also Skyped into the press conference, said they were excited about getting more hands-on involvement with fans.
"We enjoy interacting more than sitting behind a booth," Brophy said.
Patel and FantasyCon programming director Larry Curtis boasted that the event will have the largest concentration of "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit"-related celebrities ever in one fan convention.
The list includes the younger Tolkien; "Lord of the Rings" stars Sean Astin (Samwise), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) and Billy Boyd (Pippin); and eight cast members from "The Hobbit": Brophy (Nori), Adam Brown (Ori), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), John Callen (Oin), Ken Stott (Balin), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), William Kircher (Bifur) and Sylvester McCoy (Radagast the Brown).
The celebrity added to the list Tuesday is a big one: Simon Pegg, star of all three of the "Cornetto Trilogy" films ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz" and "The World's End"), as well as major roles in the "Star Trek" franchise (as Scotty) and the "Mission: Impossible" films.
Visit http://www.fantasycon.com for ticket packages, schedules and more information.