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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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FILE - This film publicity image released by Focus Features shows, from left, Nick Frost as Andy, Eddie Marsan as Peter, Simon Pegg as Gary, Paddy Considine as Steven, and Martin Freeman as Oliver in "The World's End." Pegg will appear at the first FantasyCon, set for the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on the July 4 weekend. (AP Photo/Focus Features, Laurie Sparham, File)
FantasyCon promises dragons, hobbits and Simon Pegg

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."

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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 www.fantasycon.com for ticket packages, schedules and more information.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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