Monday, September 24, 2012

Hobbit Trailer

I'm sure that most readers of this blog have already seen this, but the new Hobbit trailer came out last week. One interesting aspect relates to an ongoing discussion that has sprung up in various Tolkien sites online. POTENTIAL MOVIE SPOILERS BELOW THE VIDEO.

Okay, it's hard to say that anything is a 'spoiler' regarding a book that just celebrated its 75th anniversary this past weekend (happy anniversary, and also happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo, btw), but this is regards to the breaks.* Originally, the general consensus was that the movies would break at some point after the dwarves escape from the elven king. This was based on the assumption that all promotional material released this year would be for film 1 and not film 2. Some of the still images that have been posted by Jackson and company include the barrel ride, so people assumed that the film would either end with the dwarves floating down the river, or maybe just as they arrive at Laketown (probably then with the camera sweeping up to see the Lonely Mountain in the distance, with a wisp of dragon smoke).

Then, though, Peter Jackson hinted at ComicCon that he'd like to film more material, and a couple of weeks later an announcement was made via his Facebook page that the Hobbit would be released as three films rather than two. Still, most online figured that movie 1 was pretty much finished as it's due out in a rather short time, and so any extra material would end up in movies 2 and 3. Then, about a week or so ago, an iPad app was released in relation to the movie, and interestingly, a previously released photo collage had been edited. This collage originally put together scenes from various points in the movie - Gandalf in the Shire, Bilbo and the dwarves at Bag End, etc. And, significantly, we saw a picture of dwarves floating in barrels. Then the same collage was included in the iPad app, but the barrel scene was not there. Some say that this was meaningless, that they promotions department just puts together various film images for use in these things, but others suggest that this is a hint that the movie ending has been changed, and now movie 1 will end sometime after the Misty Mountains but before the barrel ride. Now this trailer includes scenes from the 'Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire' section of the book, but nothing after that. In relation to LEGO, this is interesting because one of the sets we know of is 'Fleeing from the Mirkwood Spiders', which may (or may not) refer to action in movie 2 rather than movie 1.**

*Just a little bit more for those who may not be following movie news. Some may ask how you can make two movies, let alone three, out of the Hobbit, since the book is significantly shorter than any one volume of the Lord of the Rings. So I suppose it is also a spoiler to learn what other material might be included in addition to the bare storyline from the book. We know from various movie news that Jackson will significantly play up material from the appendices and from hints in the Lord of the Rings about the White Council story line. That is, we know that Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, Elrond etc. learned that the Necromancer was none other than Sauron coming back to power and gathered forces to attack him. In the Hobbit book, Gandalf leaves the company for a time to take care of his business 'away down south'. So this material will be expanded on in the movies. We also know that Radagast the Brown will play a role in the movie, since he is in the trailer. Presumably he will be part of the White Council action, which is only sensible since he is a wizard and associated with Mirkwood, so he's got to be part of that attack, even though he's just briefly mentioned in the Hobbit book. We might also see more dwarven backstory as part of the movies, drawing from some of the material in appendix A of RotK. Showing some of the great war of the Dwarves and Orcs, culminating in the Battle of Azanulbizar before the gates of Moria, will fill in key information about Thorin's line and lay the foundation for the enmity between the dwarves and orcs. Plus the Moria connection would be good for movie fans, since if they've seen the movies and not the books, the main thing they know about dwarves is their ancient kingdom of Khazad Dum.

EVEN MORE SPECULATIVE SPOILERS - It is, I suppose, potential that 'Fleeing from the Mirkwood Spiders' does not refer to the scene where Bilbo fights off spiders in northern Mirkwood at all. Another promotional item (and again, this may have been put together by people in the promotions department with no connection to the creative team, so this should be taken with a grain of salt) was a trivia quiz that asked 'who attacked Rhosgobel?' and the answer was 'the spiders'. Of course there was no such attack in the book, but it's a reasonable expansion if you include Radagast in the White Council storyline. And in this new trailer we see Radagast in a home (his at Rhosgobel, presumably) and something (spiders?) starts breaking through the ceiling. We also see Radagast traveling fast through the forest. Perhaps he is retreating? Also, we know from the book that Gandalf investigated Dol Guldur, and from the movie trailers we see Gandalf sneaking around someplace dark and spooky, presumably Dol Guldur. Since spiders are also hanging out in Mirkwood, and we could expect them to be attracted to the evil regions around Dol Gulder, we could also imagine an encounter between Gandalf and the spiders. We also know from the trailers (or maybe this was from some footage shown by Jackson at a convention) that Gandalf encounters Radagast while he's sneaking around the aforementioned dark and spooky place. So, while I think it's most likely that the LEGO set 'Fleeing from the Mirkwood Spiders' illustrates the action described in the book chapter 'Flies and Spiders', which now may or may not be found in movie 1, it is at least possible that this set describes an encounter that either Radagast, Gandalf, or both have with the spiders.

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