This afternoon, Peter Jackson hosted a live streaming even that offered a bit of a sneak peek at the upcoming The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, the second installment in his three-film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel The Hobbit. As expected with the film more nine months away, there were a lot of scenes that were still kept underwraps, either to preserve their surprise in the film or because the visual effect work needed to bring them to life was nowhere near done. So if you were hoping to get a glimpse at the dragon Smaug itself, you were out of luck.
But we did see a number of things that we haven’t seen before. Joined by Jeb Brophy, who portrays the dwarf Nori in the films, Jackson took viewers on a short tour of the post-production facilities where the film is being readied for its December release. We see a brief glimpse of some motion capture work being done for the orcs. But it is once we get to the editing suite that we get to see some real glimpses of the upcoming film.
First off was a scene set on a boat in which Bard (Luke Evans) is taking Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the dwarfs towards Laketown following their escape from the wood elves of Mirkwood. In the scene, which they showed from a number of different filmed angles to demonstrate the choices available to Jackson when editing, Bilbo is expressing aggravation again at having been drug out on an adventure, recalling a Hobbit saying about never traveling to the East. Interestingly, Freeman plays the scene a number of different ways, leaving Jackson with a variety of choices in where Bilbo’s frustration level lies.
Jackson then turned his attention to the wood elves of Mirkwood who will be part of the film’s story. We already know that Legolas (Orlando Bloom) will be returning from the Lord Of The Rings films and will be joined by his father Thranduil, the wood elf King (Lee Pace), whom we have seen briefly in the opening prologue of the first Hobbit film last December. Here we got to see more of them both separately and together. I love how Thranduil’s throne in the first picture echoes the horned moose-type mount we saw him riding in the first film.
Jackson also gave us a look at some production art of how both Mirkwood and the elvish kingdom therein will look once the green screens in the background are replaced.
We also see a bit of the confrontation between Thorin and Thranduil, whom as we know from the first film are not on the best of terms. (Though I will confess that I am a bit mystified by the lack of height discrepancy between the dwarf Thorin and the human-sized elf Thranduil.)
Jackson also introduced us to the elf Tauriel who is played by Evangeline Lily. She is a character invented by the filmmakers as one of the elvish king’s guards and it looks like she’ll be seeing plenty of action in the film.
Among the further images Jackson previewed included more of Bard, whom it looks like they’re beefing up his role considerably from the books –
…the Master of Laketown as portrayed by Stephen Fry…
… the dwarfs arrival at Laketown…
… The dwarfs on the side of the Lonely Mountain…
… And Martin Freeman filming a portion of his initial confrontation with Smaug.
The event ended with the presentation of a short, completed sequence featuring Gandlaf (Ian McKellen) investigating the origin of the sword of the Witch King of Angmar found by Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) in the haunted, abandoned fortress of Dol Guldor. He finds himself in the tomb that the evil king had been entombed and, along with Radagst, makes a disturbing discovery. The tombs weren’t broken into, they were broken out of.