Kyle J. Steenblik

Weta Workshop and The Hobbit at Salt Lake Comic Con

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IMGR0297-1000My first encounters with Weta Workshop and The Hobbit at Salt Lake Comic Con.

On the first day of Salt Lake Comic Con, I spoke with William Kircher at the Weta workshop booth moments before the floor opened.  It was a spontaneous meeting and interview, he just happened to be there as I was previewing the booth.

Kyle: have you ever been to Salt Lake City before?

William: No Kyle I haven’t and what a beautiful city it is.  I’ve been here about 3 days and I’ve been really impressed.  The people are really friendly, it’s a lovely city.


K: You’ve been here 3 days, what have you done?

W: I haven’t done a lot because I’ve been recovering; I just came from the Atlanta City Comic Con and worked solid for 4 days, so I was pretty tired naturally.  I’ve been walking around in the heat enjoying the heat getting the flavor of the city and the people, getting myself organized, and I’m really looking forward to… <bell ringing on the PA> and I think that’s the bell, yes ladies and gentlemen comic con salt lake city is about to hit.  30,000 people are about to rush in that door.  Run!

K: I think they were up to 39,000 this morning

W: I am really scared, nah it’s going to be great.

K: This is our first convention here…

W: I know and it’s shaping up to be incredible, I am so looking forward to it

K: Thank you it was good to meet you

W: Very nice meeting you, enjoy your day.

Weta swordsmith Peter LyonShortly after, I visited briefly with sword smith Peter Lyon.  I did not have a chance to speak with Peter nearly long enough, and I hate that I missed his panel because they scheduled it at the same time as the Desolation of Smaug panel.  He was extremely nice, and clearly took great pride is displaying his work.  He has a wealth of knowledge that is nothing short of awesome.  Later he was happy to show the sword Sting to my daughter, when she asked to see a sword that he had made.  He also had the pleasure of, briefly, explaining how swords are forged to my son, who was beside himself with excitement.  I do hope he comes back and I can spend a few hours, rather than a few minutes, talking with him.  Maybe he can show me how to make my own swords, but I think that might take a day or two.  The Weta booth was nothing short of spectacular.  I’m a huge fan of movie props, and what they had on display was mouth watering.

That panel, the one that made me miss Peter teaching everyone how to make swords, was an unofficial first look at The Desolation of Smaug presented by with panelists  Larry Curtiins, Pual Genesse, Robert J. Defendi, David Powell, Blake Casselman and last minute unplanned guests Manu Bennett, and William Kircher.

The panel was going to be a look at some new elements of the film, and some discussion about the controversial additional material and characters.  However the majority of the panel turned into a Warg riding lesson from Manu Bennett, and brief Q&A by William Kircher, who showed us all how to walk like Tom Troll.  The actual discussion of the film was interesting, and best if I don’t attempt to reproduce it here, and recommend checking out the information available on  What it mostly comes down to is the additional material makes for a much more interesting film.  The changes and addition of characters adds a dynamic that the film requires to be entertaining.

There were some minor spoilers discussed, I won’t share them here, so if you want to read them visit

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