Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hobbit line: rampant set speculation

As we know, LEGO will be introducing a line of sets based on the first Hobbit movie this year, presumably just in time for the movie release and Christmas gift buying. So let's have some rampant speculation on what sets they might build. I should note that I haven't seen any leaks about this, so these are simply my guesses.

In addition to having no information from LEGO, this speculation is further complicated by precious little information about the movie. We've all seen the trailer, and I also highly suggest checking out the Riddles in the Dark podcast, in which the Tolkien Professor Corey Olsen and Dave Kale talk about what might be and some of the rumors. One huge question is where the first movie will even end. I guess there are production photos that suggest that the first movie will at least include the 'Barrels out of Bound' escape from the Elven-King, so many speculate that the movie will end somewhere around there, perhaps as Bilbo emerges from the forest and sees the Lonely Mountain in the distance, or maybe with the entrance into Lake Town with Thorin proclaiming his arrival.

As I did with my consideration of sets from the Lord of the Rings, any speculation should start with an analysis of the key settings of the book:
Shire - The story sets off from Bag End. Given the significance of this scene for setting the stage, and also the fact that LEGO did not include a Bag End in the initial Lord of the Rings sets, I think they'll have to include this here.
Eriador - Travel, travel, travel, TROLLS! From the trailer it looks like Peter Jackson is turning the whole troll episode into an action sequence, which makes it perfect for a LEGO set. They've also already got that troll mold from the Moria set.
Rivendell - Sadly, as with the Fellowship of the Rings, I don't really see the set potential here. What are they going to base this on? Elrond reading a map? Now, from the trailer, we do get the hint that Peter Jackson is building up the tension at Rivendell, and also we see Galadriel there, since he is probably bringing in some of the external material on the White Council at this point. So maybe we'll see a set with cool elf-architecture, and that missing Galadriel fig, but I'm not holding my breath.
Misty Mountains - Okay, here we get conflict, conflict, conflict, so surely the basis for some set designs. Really there are four notes here - initial conflict with the orcs, Bilbo's encounter with Gollum, chased by orcs and wargs, and rescue by the eagles. I think we'll get two sets out of this.
Mirkwood - Four main items here - visit to Beorn, battle with the spiders, capture by the elves, and escape from the elves. Beorn's house would be cool, but LEGO probably wouldn't make a set due to the lack of conflict (unless Peter Jackson has orcs chase them to Beorn's house or something, skipping the eagles altogether). Spider battle is the obvious one here, something along the lines of the Shelob set from the Lord of the Rings, but maybe with two or three smaller spiders rather than the one huge spider. They could (sigh) include Legolas in this set, since there are reports of images of Legolas and web-covered dwarves. It may be that in the movie Legolas will be the one to capture the dwarves right at the conclusion of the spider battle (or, sigh, he'll be the one fighting the spiders) (oh, and Evangeline Lily as well, sigh again). Escape from the elves probably wouldn't make a really exciting set.
Dol Guldur - This is the real wild card. In the book we only get Gandalf's second hand mention that he met Thrain while investigating Dol Guldur, and some further mention in the Lord of the Rings appendixes. From the trailer, and from some clips recently shown to theater owners at a convention, we will definitely see some screen time devoted to this investigation. Apparently in the film version of the history of Middle Earth, after the Last Alliance, the Nazgul were trapped in tombs bound with many spells, but Gandalf finds that these were broken open. He also runs into Radagast during this investigation.

My predictions
Unexpected Party Bag End (at least the front door and the sitting room), Bilbo, Gandalf, a dwarf or two.
Troll Battle - Cave, tree, fire, troll, dwarf.
Orc Encounter - A portion of an orc-cavern, two orcs, dwarf, warg.
Riddles in the Dark - Bilbo, Gollum, Ring, small boat, some rocks.
Spider Attack - Two spiders, tree with webs, Bilbo, dwarf, Legolas.
Gandalf's Investigation - Gandalf, creepy ruins, maybe an orc?
One thing we saw in the first Lord of the Rings sets, you pretty much had to buy almost all of the sets to get the full company of nine walkers. We can expect in a similar way that the different sets will have different dwarves. I don't know if we'll set all twelve, though. Maybe to get them all you'll have to get all of the sets from both lines. I won't even start to speculate on what sets we'll get with the second movie at this point, but expect to see Lake Town, Smaug, and the Battle of Five Armies as the focuses. Also, maybe, the assault of the White Council on Dol Guldur.

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