In the lead up to the recent release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, many Tolkien fans were discussing how might director Peter Jackson live up to his promise of incorporating various elements from the Appendices to the Lord Of The Rings in order to flesh out some of the backstories of certain Hobbit characters and events.
And I think some of those people were a bit surprised with how some of those plot points were rearranged by Jackson and his writing crew of Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and Guillermo Del Toro into different combinations than were originally intended by Tolkien. I know I was.
One of the chief rearranged plot points that stands out to me is this – How exactly did Gandalf get the key and the map to the dwarfs’ kingdom of Erebor which he gives to Thorin Oakenshield in the film?
In Tolkien’s writings, he presents a backstory in which Gandalf discovered that Thorin’s father Thrain, whom we do see in the film in the flashbacks to the attack on Erebor by Smaug, is a prisoner of the Necromancer in the dungeons of Dol Guldor. However, when Jackson and company beefed up the role of the wizard Radagast, they shifted the job of discovering that Dol Goldor is occupied by the Necromancer to Gandalf to Radagast. So if Gandalf has never gone to the ruined fortress, how does he get the map and key?
Well, while it seems like a plot hole now, it appears that it will be addressed in the next installment of the trilogy. Catching up with Boyens at the New York premier of the film, a writer from Vulture specifically addressed the issue.
Good storytelling-spotting! We did try it at the front of this movie, and then we moved it… We will be meeting Thráin, and it may be in unfortunate circumstances. It may involve torture. The discovery of who or what is in Dol Guldur is a fantastic part of the storytelling, so yes, of course we went there.
Currently, Jackson has wrapped up his initial cut of the second chapter of the adaptation, The Desolation Of Smaug due out next year at this time, and is getting ready for the pickup filming for the final installment, There And Back Again, which will be released in the summer of 2014.