Comic-Con ’12: The Hobbit Delivers the Goods

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Boy, does that Peter Jackson know how to satisfy his fans. Not only did he trot out many of The Hobbit's biggest stars, he showed off a generous helping of clips and revealed all kinds of news about the movie.

Joining Jackson on stage were Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Ian McKellan (Gandalf), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Andy Serkis (Gollum), and Elijah Wood (Frodo), who showed up to surprise the crowd. Jackon’s co-writer Philippa Boyens was also there (though not his other co-writer and partner Fran Walsh).

In addition to taking questions from the crowd, the Hobbit crew showed off four clips from both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, interspersed with quick-cuts of action scenes. The entire reel ran for over twelve minutes. From the scenes and following discussion, here’s what we learned. (Minor spoilers ahead.)

  • Just as in the book, it’s Gandalf who arranges for Bilbo to join the dwarves on their journey. Dwarf leader Thorin doesn’t think Bilbo clever enough for the task at hand, but Gandalf refuses to take no for an answer.
  • In order to join the quest, Bilbo has to sign a contract. The contract states that the Dwarves won’t be held liable for any form of death that might befall him, and then goes on to describe examples of how said deaths might occur. Reading this, Bilbo passes out.
  • When Bilbo meets Gollum for the first time, they agree to a game of riddles. If Bilbo wins, Gollum must help him. If Gollum wins, he gets to eat Bilbo.
  • Gandalf might just have an unrequited thing going on for Cate Blanchett‘s Galadriel. A scene shown featured the two characters debating the wisdom of having a Hobbit join Thorin’s quest. Gandalf defends his assertion with an eloquent speech about the smallest of people making the biggest of differences. The emotional scene leads to a tender moment between the two.
  • After his fateful encounter with Gollum, in which he acquires the One Ring that will later fuel The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bilbo almost confesses the whole thing to Gandalf, but stops short.
  • If the trailer that was released a few months back didn’t do enough to convince you, rest assured: this is still the Middle Earth that you remember from ten years ago. The look and feel of the place perfectly recaptures the lands that the Rings trilogy first showed us.
  • Jackson answered one fan question in a way that led to a very uncomfortable moment. The fan at the mic asked if Jackson might ever make a film of The Silmarillion, to which the director replied that it was very unlikely. Why? Because the Tolkien estate owns the film rights to The Silmarillion wholesale (unlike the rights to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, which are owned by studios in Hollywood), and Peter Jackson claimed that “I don’t think [the Tolkien estate] like these movies at all.” Awkward!
  • The fans in Hall H really love them some Ian McKellan.
  • Evangeline Lilly‘s red-headed Elven warrior, Tauriel, who appears in the second film, was created by the writers because they felt there wasn’t enough “feminine energy” in Tolkien’s story.
  • The first film, An Unexpected Journey, will clock in at over 2.5 hours.
  • As in the earlier films, Peter Jackson makes a cameo in The Hobbit. But he wouldn’t reveal who he’s playing.
  • Boyens described Galadriel as “the most powerful being in Middle Earth” during the time that The Hobbit takes place.

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