Fan Expo convention brings 'Lord of the Rings' reunion to Rosemont

  • Eighteen years after the hobbits watched their movie win Best Picture in Los Angeles, Elijah Wood, left, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan will meet with fans Saturday and Sunday, July 9-10, at the Fan Expo Chicago convention in Rosemont.

    Eighteen years after the hobbits watched their movie win Best Picture in Los Angeles, Elijah Wood, left, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan will meet with fans Saturday and Sunday, July 9-10, at the Fan Expo Chicago convention in Rosemont. Associated Press/Feb. 29, 2004

  • The event now known as Fan Expo Chicago began in 1972 as Chicago Comic Con.

      The event now known as Fan Expo Chicago began in 1972 as Chicago Comic Con. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Visitors crowd the aisles during the 2018 Wizard World Chicago convention in Rosemont. The event, now known as Fan Expo Chicago, returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center July 7-10.

      Visitors crowd the aisles during the 2018 Wizard World Chicago convention in Rosemont. The event, now known as Fan Expo Chicago, returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center July 7-10. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted7/3/2022 7:30 AM

Will Fan Expo Chicago, the first area event for the company that acquired Wizard World, be the one convention to rule them all?

With four Hobbits, a galaxy of stars and a fan base yearning for the experiences they've missed the last few years, that's certainly the goal for the convention, which sets up shop Thursday through Sunday, July 7-10, in Rosemont.

 

Andrew Moyes, vice president of Fan Expo HQ, says his intention with the four-day convention is "to return this legacy event back to its state of grandeur."

The convention now known as Fan Expo Chicago began as Chicago Comic Con in 1972, meaning the yearly event at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, is celebrating five decades of pop culture fans and creators.

"The fact that it's celebrating 50 years is a huge milestone," Moyes said in a phone interview, and he expects it to stay right here in the suburbs. "We're absolutely committed to the event as it is, and where it is, and bringing it back to its former glory."

The marquee draw for Fan Expo's first Chicago event is a "Lord of the Rings" reunion of the four Hobbits from Peter Jackson's film trilogy. Elijah Wood (Frodo), Sean Astin (Sam), Dominic Monaghan (Merry) and Billy Boyd (Pippin) will be interacting with fans Saturday and Sunday, July 9-10, and each will make separate appearances on the convention's main stage. (Check prices for autographs and photo ops at fanexpochicago.com.)

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Hobbits made their first Fan Expo reunion earlier this year at the company's event in Calgary, and Moyes said they did not disappoint.

"Once they're actually sitting together and you see them, you really do have a moment where you think, 'Wow, this truly is a feast to have these four key cornerstones of such a flagship franchise together,'" he said.

And you can see them all together on the same stage for an extra fee on top of your convention admission. "An Evening With the Four Hobbits," a separate ticketed event featuring their stories from the making of the films and fan questions, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9. Tickets start at $20.

If Tolkien's not your thing, you can of course see famous faces from "Star Wars" (Anthony Daniels, Carl Weathers, Ming-Na Wen, Gina Carano and Ashley Eckstein) and "Star Trek" (Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden and John de Lancie), in addition to live, in-person appearances from voice actors like the English-language cast of the anime series "Demon Slayer."

"The 'Demon Slayer' panel is going to be off the charts," Moyes said. "I think it's the first time they've all appeared on stage together before."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Zach Aguilar, Aleks Le, Bryce Papenbrook and Abby Trott will take the main stage at 1:15 p.m. Sunday, July 10.

But wait, aren't these events called comic cons?

"When you're looking at a legacy event like this, you've got to go back to where these events started, and they had their roots in comic books," Moyes said. The show will feature names he calls "powerhouses of the industry" like Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Silvestri, who have worked for both Marvel and DC, in addition to DC Films co-founder Geoff Johns and former Marvel creative director Joe Quesada.

For guests who like to dress as their favorite characters, there is the usual cosplay competition, but Moyes also highlights a cosplay red carpet, where guests can show their stuff without the pressure of competition. "We're celebrating each other, celebrating the work we've put in, and our favorite characters," he said.

The convention floor also features merchandise, gaming, family-friendly programming and tons of surprises -- something for everyone.

"A lot of people look at these events as something not for them," Moyes said, "and then they find themselves there, and nine times out of 10 they'll turn around and say, 'My goodness, I had no idea that I would have so much fun."

You can see all the fun options available at fanexpohq.com/fanexpochicago/schedule.

• • •

Fan Expo Chicago

When: Thursday through Sunday, July 7-10

Where: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont

Tickets: Single-day adult $27-$62; single-day youth (13-17): $20-$52; single-day child (6-12): $12; single-day family pass (2 adults, up to 4 children): $59-$134; four-day pass: $99

Parking: $15 for 24 hours in adjoining garages

Info: fanexpochicago.com

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.