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KEV!NOU, The Loyalty Creative
Actor Elijah Wood will appear at Salt Lake Comic Con on Sept. 21-23, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — Next month, local fans of the Lord of the Rings films will have the opportunity to see the hobbit who "changed the course of the future."

Salt Lake Comic Con announced Monday that actor Elijah Wood will join the September 2017 event, according to a press release. Wood joins an all-star lineup that includes Dick Van Dyke, Val Kilmer, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd and others.

Wood is best known for his role as Frodo, the little hairy-footed hobbit who carried the one ring to Mordor in the Lord of the Rings movies. These days, he tends to steer away from big-budget movies to focus more on independent films, such as “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Wood has been in acting since he was 8 years old, first starring in a music video for Paula Abdul.

Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg said organizers have been hoping to bring Wood to the event for at least three years, and his business partner, Dan Farr, secured the visit after meeting Wood at Sundance.

"It's very one-of-a-kind," Brandenburg said of Wood's upcoming appearance. "Everything we know about him, including Dan's personal interaction, is that he's a super-nice guy and will be a really fun guest."

Wood doesn't regularly appear at fan conventions, Brandenburg noted, making next month's visit to Salt Lake all the more exciting.

Brandenburg also pointed to the popularity of the Lord of the Rings franchise in Utah and fans' delight at meeting Wood's hobbit co-stars Sean Astin and Billy Boyd at past comic con events.

Wood will speak during the convention's panel lineup and will sign autographs and take photos with fans at the event. While the panel will be included with a comic con ticket, photos and autographs come with an extra cost.

While opportunities to meet celebrities like Wood one-on-one at comic con are generally quite brief, Brandenburg says photos and autographs with the stars have become prized souvenirs for fans over the years.

"What our fans have said in a variety of ways is that, yeah, it's a quick experience and you get to shake their hand and hug them and say hello, but every morning when I get up and see that photo, it brings back memories and makes me happy," Brandenburg said. "It feels just as good looking back."

With the convention just over six weeks away, Brandenburg promised that more guest announcements, including some big names, are still coming.

Salt Lake Comic Con is scheduled for Sept. 21-23 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Information and tickets are available at saltlakecomiccon.com.

The event will mark the local geek convention's fifth anniversary.