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Frodo himself, Elijah Wood, added to 2019 Phoenix Fan Fusion lineup

PHOENIX – One guest to rule them all.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, the Valley’s premier annual comic and entertainment convention, announced Monday that Frodo himself, Elijah Wood, has been added to the 2019 lineup.

The actor who played the diminutive hero in the wildly successful “Lord of the Rings” trilogy joins a lineup that includes the likes of Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian from the early “Star Wars” films), Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck from “The Princess Bride” and Jack Skellington’s voice in “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) and Ian Ziering (“Sharknado”).

This year’s version of the event formally known as Phoenix Comicon and Phoenix Comic Fest will be held over Memorial Day weekend, May 23-26, at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Wood will be there for autographs and photo opportunities Friday and Saturday only.

It will be the first year under the Phoenix Fan Fusion moniker. Organizers changed the name to Phoenix Comic Fest last year after San Diego Comic-Con sued a Utah event over the use of “comic con,” but it didn’t catch on.

“One of the things we’ve heard most was that Phoenix Comic Fest just doesn’t roll off the tongue,” Kristin Rowan of Square Egg Entertainment, which produces the convention, said when the latest name was announced last year. “We heard you, and we’re listening. It doesn’t sound quite right to us, either.”

Furthering the naming confusion was the existence of an offshoot called Phoenix Fan Fest held each fall, but that was discontinued after 2017.

Regardless of the name, the Memorial weekend gathering was marred by security issues each of the last two years.

In 2017, a 31-year-old man entered the facility carrying four guns and wearing body armor, allegedly planning to kill police officers.

Enhanced security procedures were put into effect in 2018, with cosplay props resembling firearms being banned.

There were no threats of violence last year, but a fire alarm resulted in the Saturday evening programming being cut short after the convention center was evacuated.

Tickets, which range from $20 for Thursday-only access to $350 for a four-day VIP experience, are available online. A regular full-event pass costs $75 until April 12, when the price will increase to a level yet to be announced.

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