For months, director Peter Jackson has been teasing audiences with fleeting glimpses of the fearsome dragon that lies in wait for Bilbo Baggins and his cohorts in the second part of his epic Hobbit trilogy: a blast of fire here, a menacing baritone voice there (courtesy of actor Benedict Cumberbatch). In just six days, with the Dec. 13 opening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the director will finally pull back the curtain on his interpretation of one of the best-known villains in fantasy literature.
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When The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug roars into theaters on Dec. 13, fans of Tolkien’s Middle-earth books and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies will revel in its magnificent visual delights, the return of their favorite characters, and a first real glimpse at a most lethal dragon. As if that’s not enough to hold your attention, Jackson made his own contribution to the Tolkien universe by introducing a whole new Elven character, Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and pairing her with Legolas (Orlando Bloom), the Elven member of the Fellowship of the Ring. “Legolas isn’t discussed in The Hobbit, but as far as Tolkien is concerned, he would have been part of that structure within the Woodland Realm,” Jackson told EW last month. “And we needed characters within the Woodland Realm to drive the story.”
Purists may sniff, but co-writer Philippa Boyens calls Tauriel — a fierce, no-nonsense warrior who understands the danger of the growing evil in Middle-earth before her king does –”a breath of fresh air in many ways.” In the exclusive clip below, she sets out to take on 30 orcs single-handledly. Fortunately, another hero isn’t far behind. READ FULL STORY
If you were a bit befuddled to see Orlando Bloom’s Lord of the Rings fan favorite Legolas pop up in trailers for the upcoming Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug — given that the elf warrior doesn’t appear in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original book — well, you’re not the only one.
Speaking to EW for this week’s cover story on Smaug, Bloom says he was surprised when director Peter Jackson asked him to come onboard the Hobbit trilogy. Nevertheless, Bloom says he happily signed on even before he’d seen a script. “If Pete said, ‘Jump,’ I’d say, ‘How high?’ based on my previous experiences with him and my gratitude toward him for giving me my start in life, as it were,” says the actor, who was all but unknown when Jackson cast him in in the Rings trilogy.
Tolkien purists may wring their hands over the Hobbit films’ deviations from the strict canon, but Jackson argues that bringing Legolas into The Hobbit makes perfect sense both narratively and in terms of Tolkien-ology. As Tolkien later established in the Rings books, Legolas is the son of the Elvenking Thranduil, who is in the Hobbit novel, and since elves are immortal, it stands to reason that he would have been around when Bilbo and the dwarves went tramping through the wood-elves’ territory. “Legolas isn’t discussed in The Hobbit, but as far as Tolkien is concerned, he would have been part of that structure within the Woodland Realm,” Jackson says. “And we needed characters within the Woodland Realm to drive the story.”
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Those poor elves in Middle-earth are finally getting a decent Wi-Fi connection.
They’ll need it for Nov. 4, when fans can meet and greet director Peter Jackson and the cast of the second film in the Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, via satellite-linked cinemas all over the world. Hobbit stars will be scattered throughout movie theaters in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Wellington, New Zealand. Each theater will be connected by satellite, so audiences in each theater can participate in a simultaneous Q&A and get a first look at extended footage from the film.
Your Middle-earth guide? CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will host the entire event from New York, joined by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield) and Orlando Bloom (Legolas). Evangeline Lilly, who joins the cast as Elf warrior, Tauriel, will log on from Los Angeles. London will host other cast additions Lee Pace (who plays Elf King Thranduil), Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman) and Andy Serkis, who previously played Gollum. Director Peter Jackson will join from Wellington. Other select theaters around the world will also allow fans to watch the event.
Can’t make the trek to a Hobbit host city? Watch from your computer screen, as it will also be streamed online.
The fan event will take place Nov. 4, at 5 p.m. ET. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug arrives in theaters Dec. 13.
In Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, dwarves were a mysterious race. Sure, there was Gimli, a loyal soldier of the Fellowship, but his kind were a scattered, weakened tribe symbolized by the remnants and relics found in the dark caves of Moria. One of the delights of The Hobbit, then, was the rehabilitation of dwarves, in the Tolkien universe and pop culture, in general. Bilbo Baggins is a mere hobbit, but the 13 dwarves who recruit him as a burglar on their quest are a diverse collection of characters — whom Jackson playfully referred to as “the little bastards” — led by the dashing Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage).
In the new Extended Edition Blu-ray for the film, which arrives in stores on Nov. 5, fans can revel in dwarfish delights, just as the film’s creators did. Before the movie, dwarves were still widely perceived as Snow White’s supporting characters, but that wouldn’t do for Jackson’s epic adventure that sends them to face a dragon. In one of the new extras, “Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves,” the creative artists explain how they researched and revised the image of the dwarf from comic sideshow to courageous warrior. “I honestly believe that Peter is going to do for dwarves what Tolkien did for elves, removing what nursery rhyme and folktale has done, which is to diminish them,” says conceptual designer John Howe.
Click below to see the exclusive Extended Edition Blu-ray clip. READ FULL STORY
For fans heading to Comic-Con hoping to catch some clips and sneak previews of the newest Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug: Try to contain your disappointment.
The film will not have anything to show J.R.R. Tolkien fans, because the film is still in production and cannot spare its cast or crew. Rather than spend hours on a fabulous sizzle reel, director Peter Jackson explained (on Facebook) that he wanted to focus on making a great film.
See Jackson’s explanation below:
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The one thing that might make you yearn for the end of summer blockbuster season?
That would be the first trailer for Peter Jackson’s second Hobbit film, a clip that’s chock-full of action, pounding music, mid-air leaps, imposing CGI beasties, Evangeline Lilly as an elf warrior maiden, Orlando Bloom as your onetime crush object Legolas, Ian McKellen’s beard, Martin Freeman’s scared face, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular fire-breathing dragon. The sooner the sun-filled months are over, the sooner it will hit theaters — The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug premieres Dec. 13.
Check out the trailer below:
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…there’s Benedict Cumberbatch as a big, bad, dwarf-hating dragon.
The motion-capture character himself doesn’t actually appear on this new poster for the second film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit series, which trades goofy dwarf portraits for something moodier. Look at the entrance to the Lonely Mountain in the center of the image, though, and you’ll spy a veil of mist covering a tantalizing golden gleam, which could represent either the treasures within the mountain or Smaug’s fire breath. Good luck, little Bilbo (Martin Freeman) — you’re gonna need it.
When The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters on Dec. 13, there will be a fresh face among the residents of Middle-earth: Tauriel, an elf warrior played by Evangeline Lilly of Lost fame. “She’s slightly reckless and totally ruthless and doesn’t hesitate to kill,” says Lilly. She’s also not found anywhere in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original fantasy novel, or in any of Tolkien’s other writings for that matter.
Director Peter Jackson and his co-writers on the Hobbit trilogy, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, invented the character to expand the world of the elves of Mirkwood Forest — and to bring some more female energy to the otherwise male-dominated Hobbit narrative. “Tauriel is the head of the Elven Guard,” Lilly explains. “She’s a Sylvan Elf, which means she’s of a much lower order than the elves we all became acquainted with in The Lord of the Rings. She doesn’t hold the same kind of status that Arwen or Galadriel or Elrond or Legolas do — she’s much more lowly. She sort of goes against the social order of the elves a little bit.”
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