Smoke from Labor Day weekend's Dragon*Con 2012 in Atlanta is clearing, but hot Hobbit news and rumors still abound. For an intense update on Peter Jackson's upcoming fantasy trilogy, mind the trolls and brimstone and come inside for more.
With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a mere three months away, ravenous Tolkien fans at the recent Dragon*Con panels were treated to an enticing array of gossip, facts and tales from the set. The good folks at theonering.net have compiled a tantalizing list of all known and speculated Hobbit morsels to savor and devour, gleaned from multiple sources and events in Atlanta. Some are presented still sizzling, while others have been around long enough to have cooled down a bit. But together they represent an up-to-date reference point from which we can to march confidently toward December's epic opening. Journey forth, brave souls... SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
FILM TITLES AND RELEASE DATES:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first film and comes out on December 14, 2012.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the official name for the second film, which comes out on December 13, 2013.
The Hobbit: There and Back Again is now the third film and will be out on July 18, 2014.
WHISPERS, RUMORS AND PANEL FACTS:
You will see Radagast riding through the Mirkwood on a sleigh drawn by huge jackrabbits.
Stephen Fry's Master of Laketown is a nasty piece of work.
Aflred is played by actor Ryan Gage, who was originally cast as Frodo's dad Drogo Baggins, suggesting that we will see Frodo's dad in the films.
Frodo, Elijah Wood and the older Bilbo, Ian Holm, are listed in the cast for all three films, lending further credence to the rumor that they will be bookending/narrating the films.
Figwit returns! Bret Mackenzie will appear as Lindir, an elf in Rivendell who is present during a poetry reading by Bilbo at Elrond's house. ("Figwit" is the fan-created name for the once-nameless Elf extra Bret Mackenzie played in the Lord of the Rings trilogy... an acronym for "Frodo is Great, and Who's That?")
Thrain and Thror appear in the first film and we will most likely see them in earlier (and happier) times as part of sequences that illustrate the dwarven race of Middle-earth in its glory days. The panel was split on whether we'll see the history of Moria, such as the battle at the Gates of Moria.
It was also speculated that Radagast's role will be to tie the storylines of Bilbo and the dwarves to the story of The Necromancer.
We will get better wargs in the Hobbit movies as the production team was not happy with them in the original LOTR trilogy.
We'll see Legolas and his father Thranduil spar.
Goblins in the Misty Mountains are "super gross." Considering the orcs we've already seen, that's saying something!
Guillermo Del Toro's influence on the visual style and script of the movies won't be apparent in the films.
Smaug's looks are being kept a complete secret. During a five-week stint that Larry Curtis, the Dragon*Con Tolkien track coordinator, spent working on The Hobbit, there were absolutely no traces of the dragon anywhere on or off set. The offices of illustrators John Howe and Alan Lee were similarly vacant of Smaug sketches.
Curtis also pointed out that Gollum wasn't created until after initial filming work was underway with Andy Serkis, so it's very possible Smaug simply hasn't been designed yet.
The panel suggested that if fans want an idea as to what Smaug will probably look like, they should pick up a copy of John Howe's Forging Dragons.
Benedict Cumberbatch is in the cast list for all three films as The Necromancer but is only credited as the voice of Smaug in the cast list for the second film, The Desolation of Smaug, suggesting that we'll only get the dragon in one film.
This was entirely speculation on the part of the panel, but they believe An Unexpected Journey will now feature a lot of dwarf history and will follow Bilbo and the dwarves into the mountains, with the Great Goblin serving as a Big Bad for the first film. Bilbo will meet Gollum, then be pursued out of the caves and into the woods where they'll finally meet with Gandalf. As they're all cornered by orcs, goblins, and flame, the eagles will arrive to rescue them and the movie will end, with the next film obviously focusing on Smaug.
Satiated yet? As the marketing campaign launches into racing gear this fall, more gems will be mined. Excited for an extended return to Middle-earth, or are your feet already tired?