The Hobbit: What We Know So Far About Peter Jackson’s Epic Trilogy

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J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit turns 75 on Friday, and the folks at Warner Bros. must have thought it was the perfect time to release a brand-new trailer. The new trailer, full of action that will leave you cheering for the underdog, reminds us that every legend has a humble beginning.

But what do we know so far about Peter Jackson’s films? For starters, we know that the project, originally slated to span two films, has been expanded to three movies.

(LIST: Top 10 Alternative Places to Film The Hobbit)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey kicks off the Tolkien trilogy on Dec. 14. Expect to view The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Dec. 13, 2013, and since you are setting your calendars this far in advance already, you might as well pencil in The Hobbit: There and Back Again for July 18, 2014.

Jackson wrote on Facebook in July that when he had a chance to sit down and look at the film he had shot, including a large chunk of the second movie, there was plenty more story to tell by adding a third one — and the cast was certainly capable of following through.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will introduce audiences to the story of how Bilbo Baggins joins a group of 13 on a quest to restore a lost dwarf kingdom. As with the original Tolkien classic, the cast of characters encounters challengers and foes en route to defeating the mighty dragon Smaug. (We expect the second movie’s name isn’t just a clever title and will include that battle.)

That cast features Martin Freeman as Baggins. (Jackson told Entertainment Weekly that Freeman “fits the ears, and he’s got some very nice feet. I think he’s got the biggest hobbit feet we’ve had so far.”) Other stars include Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lilly and Elijah Wood.

The original Unexpected Journey trailer got an update when the trilogy was announced, with a few new scenic clips added to the introduction of Baggins, Gandalf and the group of fighters embarking on a search for the lost dwarf kingdom of Erebor. Jackson’s vision for the beauty of Middle-earth is stunning. In April 2011, Jackson revealed on his Facebook page that the films would be shot in ultra-high-resolution at 48 frames per second, but now the film will be released only minimally in that format.

The new trailer has a distinct action-movie vibe, showing some of many quests featured in Tolkien’s book. First we see Baggins somewhat unwillingly being dragged into this “adventure” of discovery. Then there are scenes that show the battles pitting the little guys against the giants. From underground-dwelling goblins chasing dwarves and fighting Baggins to stone giants — not a key part of the novel, mind you — atop mountains and even some wargs (supersize wolves) mixed in for more mayhem, the list of enemies is long.

The new footage offers life past Middle-earth scenery, showing the “wild” realms full of goblins, orcs, wargs, shapeshifters and more. But, more important, the second trailer also offers us a fuller look at Gollum and the dialogue we can expect from Baggins’ encounters with the creepy creature, including the two engaged in “Riddles in the Dark” when Gollum threatens to eat Bilbo whole.

While we’ve learned quite a lot over the course of nearly five minutes of footage, we know there’s more to come from Warner Bros. as the film’s release date approaches. After all, The Hobbit trilogy is the prequel to another trilogy that just happened to go out with a Best Picture Oscar.

MORE: Lord of the Rings vs. Casablanca

10 comments
fmondana
fmondana

I don't recall any law being passed that says you have to see the movies. If you are so offended that your pockets are being picked then just stay home. In one breath many Tolkien fans will marvel at the scope and detail in his writings then bitch about 3 movies from 1 book.

There is a ton of stuff in The Hobbit that can easily be expanded without offending any of the fanatics.

Hell, even in expanded LOTR films there was lots of stuff left out yet the story was told quite well. LOTR could easily have filled 6 films and still left stuff out.

Besides it's 2 different mediums. You can't just write a screenplay lifted straight from any book (or the other way around). Personally I thought the last 3 films did a better job of telling the story and getting the themes across without having to know the genealogy of every character and every single detail about the races.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

How does one book become a trilogy?

$$$

Christopher Lawson
Christopher Lawson

the Desolation of Smaug was not the destruction of the dragon, but the wasteland surrounding the Lonely Mountain.. I'd be surprised to see Smaug's death in the second movie..

Fla4Me
Fla4Me

I do hate when money making takes the place of good story telling.  Tell the story as it is written.  Peter Jackson does us no favors in adding and deleting as he sees fit.  

Fla4Me
Fla4Me

"Good storytelling in literature does not always translate directly to good storytelling in film"  Obviously.....and I have no issue with filling in some dialogue to make things easier on the folk you never read the books or creating impressive battle scenes using the latest CGI.  I do have an issue with characters being added where they do not belong or events occurring that do not in the books.  Re Mr. Ramos' comments....my book shelves are full and you should not presume as to what I have or haven't read.  Yes, I'm sure they will call it an "Adaptation"....the necessity of doing so being my point.

Alexander Ramos
Alexander Ramos

It is been told how it is written... the problem is you just has read The Hobbit, but that is just a piece of whole story of the War of the Ring, where LOTR and events in The Hobbit era are the most important...

That is called Adaptation, you have a lot of material that you can show even from The Silmarillion, thou they don´t have the rights of it, there are a lot of information about events around The Hobbit.

architect424
architect424

if it were told as written (and condensed into a 180 minute movie) the battle of 5 armies would take up roughly 15 minutes, and most of it would be relayed in dialogue after the battle was over.  Also, Gandalf would disappear for half of the movie and the only explanation would be a single line of dialogue.  Good storytelling in literature does not always translate directly to good storytelling in film.

Steve032
Steve032

A great book and my first Tolkien read, but the depth and history just isnt in the hobbit as it is in LOTR. 

For one - the fact that 'frodo' makes an appearance in the hobbit in the movie? Never happened in the book. In fact, it might be possible that Frodo is not yet even born when the hobbit takes place, since in the LOTR, he is in his twenties. 

Bilbo is about 60 when the hobbit starts, meaning Frodo cant have been born.

Expect lots more 'book bending' to make this kids book into 3 movies

architect424
architect424

Frodo was 33 when tLOTR started, but the book very quickly skips 17 years to make him 50 (the time between when Bilbo leaves the shire, and Gandalf returns with knowledge of the ring).  Either way, he would not have been alive when The Hobbit took place (as Bilbo was 50ish during that story and he was 111 at the start of LOTR).  However, it has been implied that a prologue to the movies would feature Old Bilbo (Ian Holm), so it might make sense that Frodo would be included in that, assuming that they use the prologue to introduce the story.  

Secondly, there is a lot that was left out in the LOTR movies that was in the books, because they were written almost as comprehensive histories rather than as a cohesive tale.  The Hobbit is a much smaller book, but it is also entirely story based, without the tangential histories/exposition that existed in the LOTR trilogy.  Almost all of the Hobbit can be easily translated to the screen, which was not the case in LOTR.  Additionally, because The Hobbit was told primarily from a 3rd person viewpoint centered on Bilbo, it shortens and skips segments that could easily be expanded in the films.  The two that really stand out in that regard are the Battle of 5 Armies, which Bilbo was largely unconscious for (that whole segment lasts maybe 10 pages), and Gandalf's exploits when he was not with the Dwarves and Bilbo, which are only briefly mentioned in the books.  Both of these are explained either after the fact in the story or in appendices and can easily be expanded in a film.

Millennial Dan
Millennial Dan

Condense three books into one film each for Lord of The Rings, and then blow up one book into three movies? Seems legit.