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The August issue of the German language magazine Cinema has a feature on The Desolation of Smaug including some spoilers. Chief editor Artur Jung writes that the author of the article, Philipp Schulze has been on the set.

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[Translated from German by ArchedCory]

Main Text:

The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

By Philipp Schulze

A well-known Necromancer, a high-spirited elf and a menacing skinchanger: But what else can we expect in part 2 of Peter Jackson’s new Middle-earth trilogy? In our special we will reveal secrets of the fantasy event of the year. And we will reveal what fans can expect from the extended version of part 1.

A greedy dragon, a rather testy skinchanger, a river ride full of action and the battle of the White Council against the Necromancer of Dol Guldur: Middle-earth fans should be prepared for something big; because with “The Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug” (starting December 12th) Peter Jackson will (once again) show all he’s got.

While he took about an hour in “The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey” to bring the audience back to the world of orcs and wizards the threefold Oscar winner will immediately jump back into the story in the second part of his fantasy trilogy. After all in the predecessor the characters were already introduced and the conflicts drafted. So just like back then in Jackson’s favourite “Rings” adventure “The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers” the story can steer with full force towards the finale. And already the beginning has it all.

Not only will the valiant company with 13 dwarves and hobbit Bilbo Baggins meet giant talking spiders in psychedelically colourful Mirkwood, the resident elves Legolas and his father Thranduil watch the travel group just as warily. Let alone the inhabitants of Laketown Esgaroth of which Bard the Bowman slowly rises to be the leader. And the clumsy attempts of dwarf Kili towards elf Tauriel provide material for discussions. So there is a lot going on in Middle-earth. At least more than in the original from 1937.

While a lot of nerds have been sceptical in the beginning as to how Peter Jackson wants to turn the only 300 pages strong children’s book of J.R.R. Tolkien into a nine hour epic, the director later surprised with coherently interwoven elements of the appendices of “Return of the King”. A lot of the appendices will also be used in part 2.

Hardcore fans will find the revelation of the Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch as CGI shadow) as witch master Sauron just in a couple of sentences in the book. And according to Tolkien the pale orc Azog doesn’t survive the Battle of Azanulbizar (in the beginning of “The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey”), while Jackson definitively turns him into Thorin Oakenshield’s arch enemy now. Orcs invading Esgaroth on the other hand was completely invented by Peter Jackson. Just like Tauriel – this young, only 300 years old elf which will add a bit of femininity to the male dominated story.

“This story needs estrogens”, Evangeline Lilly jokes. And Peter Jackson adds: “Thanks to characters like Tauriel we will discover more about the life in Mirkwood, which is completely different from Rivendell.” But the Silvan pointy-eared beauty is not supposed to be a mere copy of Arwen from the old trilogy. After all the people of the wood elves is a lot more dangerous and suspicious than Elrond and his companions. “We are like ninjas from the undergrowth.” (Lilly)

Another new character is in fact an old acquaintance: Legolas. “It doesn’t feel as if I was gone for 12 years”, says Orlando Bloom cheerfully about his return to Middle-earth. “I am just happy that my costume still fits me.” Luckily, because there are also supposed to be virtuoso maneuvers with bow and arrow in the style of his unerring “Rings”-stunts.

Peter Jackson not only uses additions like this to narrate a coherent chronicle of Middle-earth, he also uses them to sprinkle a little treat for spare time hobbits here and there. For example fanboys will anticipate the first encounter of Legolas and Gloin, father of grumpy dwarf Gimli from the “Rings” films. Other than “An unexpected Journey” the sequel is going to be distinctly darker though, stresses Jackson.

One climax of the new trilogy, which over 2000 actors and extras worked on, is the death of the dragon. Whether Smaug’s fall will end part 2 however is yet unknown. Certain is that the Battle of the Five Armies will play the center role in “The Hobbit – There and Back Again”. In Jackson’s planned battle turmoil there is hardly room for other story elements. But who knows, during the pick-up shots which the 51 year old has just recently finished in the Stone Street Studios in Wellington the chief hobbit might have gotten new ideas again. According to Richard Armitage (Thorin) the genius doesn’t need more than four hours of sleep. He rather quickly writes a new scene for the next day of shooting at 1 am.

Text boxes on the side:

“The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey” extended cut:

Probably in November there will be released a longer version of the 166 minutes theatre film . Within there are more scenes from Hobbiton, e.g. a sequence in which we’ll see Bilbo’s mother Belladonna Took, a song from the Goblin King and a lengthy prologue, which will show new aspects of Smaug’s destruction of Dale. Further there will be more reasons for the antipathy between Thranduil and the dwarves (Arkenstone!) and the hostility of the little warriors towards the elves of Rivendell will reach a new dimension.

What will happen in “The Hobbit – There and Back Again”?

The dragon is dead, but the evil over Middle-earth is still not warded off: After Smaug pays his attack on Laketown with his life, the dwarves hide with their treasure in Erebor. Gradually leader Thorin Oakenshield is lured into his greed and paranoia which eventually leads to the Battle of the Five Armies. Men from Esgaroth, wood elves from Mirkwood and in the end also the dwarves of Erebor and the Iron Hills will face together with Gandalf, Bilbo, the giant eagles and the skinchanger Beorn the superior strength of orcs and wargs. Starts in German theatres on December 17th 2014.

Text accompanying pictures:

New face “Lost” star Evangeline Lilly as determined elf warrior Tauriel

Orc chief Azog is inspired by the revenge on Thorin and his dwarfs

On his journey to Erebor the little Hobbit will experience the magic of Middle-earth

Wild water action in the style of Middle-earth: The wet flight from the Thranduil’s dungeons was shot on the Pelorus River in the province Marlborough on the South Island of New Zealand.

Clad in coat and the mithril shirt which will save Frodo’s life in “The Fellowship of the Ring”, Bilbo alias Martin Freeman discusses with Peter Jackson

In Mirkwood Legolas (Orlando Bloom) encounters the dwarves – and takes them captive

Hobbit Bilbo (Martin Freeman) finds the greatest of all treasures in Erebor: the Arkenstone

Elven king Thranduil (played by Lee Pace from the TV series “Pushing Daisies” and the cinema epic “The Fall”) is Oropher’s son and Legolas’ father. He was born in the Second Age and is over 2000 year old by the time “The Hobbit” takes place. Although he originates from the grey elves (Sindar) the jewel loving Thranduil is the king of the wood elves which in comparison to other elf races are less snooty and rather enjoy feasts, songs and hunting.

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