Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Possible upcoming sets? Spoilers, I suppose.

I suppose I really can't let this go by without comment. Brickset and Lord of the Brick are reporting a list of upcoming Hobbit sets:

79011 Dol Guldur Ambush ( UK RRP £ 19.99 )
79012 Mirkwood Elf Army ( UK RRP £ 29.99 )
79013 Town Lake Chase ( UK RRP £ 49.99 )
79014 Dol Guldur Battle ( UK RRP £ 69.99 )

Before I go any further, can we agree that there is no reason to worry about spoilers? This is a book that came out 75 years ago, so if you don't really know the plot by now, I can't be held accountable. Yes, the Peter Jackson movie introduces some variations from the book, most importantly adding in material about the Necromancer that Tolkien wrote later to connect his earlier children's tale to his later epic adventure, and some other changes made for movie-making reasons. But from here on out on this blog I'm not going to worry about spoiling plot points. You've been warned.

First up, a few random thoughts. The thing that really jumps out of this list is what's not there, i.e. no Smaug set. We know from the trailer that movie 2 will at least get up to the point that Bilbo enters the mountain and sees Smaug for the first time. Presumably we will get his riddling conversation with Smaug. I suspect that we won't get Smaug's assault on Lake-Town in this movie. Basically, my thinking, based in part on what's in the book and on what hints we've gotten from Jackson and company is that movie two will have three story lines, and we'll cut back and forth. In the Bilbo story line, he and the dwarves will pretty much start with Beorn, go through Mirkwood with time spent on the spiders and the halls of the Elvenking, escape down the river, intrigue in Lake-Town, arrival at the Lonely Mountain, and initial confrontation with Smaug. Along the way they will be harassed by Azog and other orcs, which is part of story line 2 - growing conflict in the north of Wilderland. In addition to the orcs chasing Bilbo and company, we'll also get conflict between orcs and the elves, mustering of the elven armies, and possible involvement of Lake-Town. The growing conflict in the north of Wilderland will really be just sort of a side-note to the even larger conflict happening in the south, in story line 3 - Gandalf and Dol Guldur. Here Gandalf (and probably Radagast) will discover the truth about the Necromancer, fight with Nazgul, rouse the White Council, and go to war against Dol Guldur for the big climax of the movie. The movie will end with apparent victory over the Necromancer in the south, and a cliff-hanger in the north where Smaug has flown off and the dwarves don't know where he is. This will then set up movie three, which will start with Smaug's attack on Lake-Town and his death, and then the growing conflict in the north from movie 2 will break out in the Battle of Five Armies. There will be some sort of epilogue where we (the audience, and maybe 'old Bilbo' in narration, but not the characters in the time of the main story) find out that the victory in the south was hollow and that Sauron is reestablishing himself in Mordor, and probably the reveal that Saruman has been a traitor all along. Perhaps, and rampant speculation here, Saruman will be communicating with Sauron via Palantir when Radagast walks in, and Saruman turns around and kills him. This would establish Saruman's character, and also account for why (in the film version of the story) Radagast doesn't appear in the Lord of the Rings.

Okay, back to the LEGO sets. Even if you ignore my rampant speculation, as I said we know from the trailer that Smaug is in movie 2, at least the first time Bilbo goes into the mountain. But no Smaug set listed above. Wait! Remember the video previewing the Lake-Town Chase set? They said there would be five sets coming out later this year. Mystery solved. On to the set list:

Dol Guldur Ambush Pretty cheap, this should be Gandalf, Radagast, and a Nazgul in some ruins. Basically we've see this minus the Nazgul in the trailer.
Mirkwood Elf Army Army builder set (yay!). This will presumably include the Azog fig from Comic-Con in a different color, and may recreate the scene from the trailer where some sort of elven outpost is getting attacked by Azog. Probably we'll get at least one of the three key elven characters - maybe Thranduil, since Legolas and Tauriel are already in the spider set, or maybe they will save Thranduil for the Battle of Five Armies sets.
Town Lake Chase Set we've seen (shown again, below).
Dol Guldur Battle Expensive, lots of characters fighting around some sort of fortress. Do we finally get a Galadriel fig? How about a Sauron fig?
Unnamed fifth set Bilbo, Smaug, treasure chamber.

And there's my thoughts. I think that these, along with the spider and barrel sets we've already seen, hit most of the notes from movie 2. About the only thing really missing (assuming they include Smaug in a fifth set) is something around Beorn. Maybe they're saving a big bear for the Battle of Five armies releases, but I would love to see a set based on Beorn's house (with, of course, dogs serving dinner: "I hope you're hungry because Epsilon is the finest chef I've ever had").

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