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Minor spoilers for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug follow.

Orcs have always been a primary obstacle to progress in Middle Earth. As Frodo travelled to Mount Doom, Orcs kept trying to kill him and his friends. The same goes for Bilbo in The Hobbit. The disgusting creatures are all over the lands of Middle Earth, with a thirst for dwarf and hobbit blood. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the Orc leader was Azog the Defiler, a particularly large, treacherous white Orc brought to the screen with computer graphics.

As The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug begins, Azog is given a new task and his son Bolg takes over the job of tracking down Thorin Oakenshield and the dwarves company that is en route to the Lonely Mountain. Bolg is also CG, but his foot soldiers are practical, just like the Orcs of Lord of the Rings.

That’s the backstory; now to get to the point. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, both Azog and Bolg are CG while the others Orcs are actors in practical makeup. But director Peter Jackson originally filmed Bolg in live action on set, and a photo has now shown up online. Check it out below. Read More »

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Ten years ago this week The Fellowship of the Ring was released. Peter Jackson‘s first Tolkien adaption silenced a great many naysayers who said J.R.R. Tolkien‘s novels could never be properly translated to film. It also fostered a mainstream interest in fantasy movies that continues a decade later.

The development of a film based on Tolkien’s original Middle-Earth novel, The Hobbit, was the subject of speculation as soon as Jackson started work on The Lord of the Rings. Actually making the movie was a terrifically complicated process that involved rights deals, the financial solvency of MGM, a long period of development under original director Guillermo del Toro, and the eventual return of Peter Jackson to the director’s chair.

Now the first teaser trailer — a long teaser, at that — has been released for the first of two films based on the novel. Get the first look at footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, after the break. Read More »

At this point what more is there to say about yet another dwarf reveal from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? (Other than, perhaps, “uh, where’s Thorin?”) Here is the latest image dispatch from Peter Jackson‘s version of Middle-Earth, featuring Ken Stott as Balin (on the left) and Graham McTavish as Dwalin.

These two guys are peers, more or less, for Thorin, the dwarf who assembles the company that travels from the Shire to the Misty Mountain. We’ll likely see Thorin next week, and hopefully a couple of the new human character, too. In the meantime, see the full new image below. Read More »

We’ll probably be hearing about minor casting for The Hobbit for months to come. We’ll even hear about some major names — no one has yet been announced as the voice of the dragon Smaug, for example. This story is a good middle ground. The Master of Laketown may not be a huge character, but if he’s played by Stephen Fry, things change a little bit. Straight from director Peter Jackson, we’ve got confirmation that Mr. Fry is in the film as well as info on two more newly-cast roles. Read More »

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