Original 4 hobbits reunite at 2024 New Orleans Fan Expo | Entertainment/Life

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In a fantastic turn of events, New Orleans will witness the reunion of the four “Lord of the Rings” hobbits at the annual Fan Expo this month.

Actors Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan will reunite again at the pop culture convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center January 5-7.

The annual three-day event, filled with live entertainment, Q&A sessions and film screenings, celebrates pop culture spanning several decades. Fans have the opportunity to meet renowned comedians and celebrity guests during autograph sessions and photo ops.

Organizers expect around 30,000 people to attend throughout the weekend.

Fans gather at the annual Fan Expo to celebrate all types of pop culture.

“It’s a passion-driven event,” said Andrew Moyes, vice president of Fan Expo. “Without the fans and the community they create, this wouldn’t exist.”

The Hobbits join a slate of esteemed actors making appearances throughout the weekend, including Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Charlie Cox and Sean Gunn; Michael Biehn and Lance Hendrickson, from “The Terminator”; and Michelle Hurd, of “Star Trek: Picard.” John Rhys-Davies, who played the dwarf Gimli in “The Lord of the Rings”, will also be present at the last minute.

A hobbit meeting

Twenty years ago, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” was released to a warm reception from critics and LOTR fans. It gathered a cult following and won an Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects. Based on JRR Tolkien's novel “The Lord of the Rings”, the film created an entirely new world for viewers. Wood, Astin, Boyd and Monaghan played the role of the four hobbits in an adventure through Middle-earth.

The film was then part of the trilogy released over a two-year period, having been filmed continuously for over a year in New Zealand. Wood, who plays Frodo Baggins, is best known for his role as the main hobbit and later reprized the role in “The Hobbit” trilogy.

Far from the Shire, the quartet will take part in a live show on Saturday for questions and interactions with fans. Superfans can purchase backstage passes for in-person autographs and photo ops with the hobbits.

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m., with general admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Autographs and photo ops start at $80.

“It’s always a bit of a unicorn moment when you can get a full cast together,” Moyes said, “especially for something as iconic as ‘The Lord of the Rings’.”

Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in the film, began his career as Mikey in “The Goonies.” Since then, he has starred in films such as “Rudy” and “50 First Dates” as well as the second season of “Stranger Things.”

Boyd and Monaghan, the mischievous hobbits Pippin and Merry respectively, join in the night to complete the quartet.

“You never really know what’s going to happen with a group like this,” Moyes said. “The four of them are very close and have a great camaraderie. It makes for quite an entertaining evening.”

The voice actors intervene

Alongside famous actors and actresses, a number of famous voices from animation will be in attendance. Ryan Colt Levy, who plays Denji in the anime “Chainsaw Man,” is looking forward to his first appearance at the Fan Expo convention in New Orleans.

“I've wanted to come back to New Orleans for a long time,” Levy said, “and this is the best way to do it. They really cultivate a beautiful space for pop culture. It's like coming home.”


Ryan Colt Levy speaks to fans at a previous convention.

Levy has been voicing the chainsaw-wielding protagonist since 2022. As a fan of the manga before being cast, he says the response to his portrayal of the character has been “surreal”.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to be a part of something that people care so deeply about,” Levy said. “I'm lucky to be the vehicle for this character and I'm so honored that the fans accept me and appreciate what we do.”

Other animated fan favorites include the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cast: Rob Paulsen (Raphael), Townsend Coleman (Michelangelo), Cam Clark (Leonardo) and Barry Gordon (Donatello).


Fans gather at the annual Fan Expo to celebrate all types of pop culture.

Tattoo artists, local vendors, comic book creators and other artists will also be on hand throughout the weekend.

New Orleans native Vernon Smith is a comic book artist and children's book author who has published original works such as “Hide” and “The Littlest Streetcar,” as well as creating the cover for the Halloween special “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. For Smith, the exhibition is an opportunity to meet other creators and engage with fans.

“It’s a community here,” he said. “There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a fan or someone who wants to work in the industry.”


New Orleans Fan Expo

WHEN: From Friday (January 5) to Sunday (January 7)

OR: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Blvd.

INFO: fanexponeworleans.com

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