Posted on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 by Angie Han
Monday, November 4 was a fine day for Tolkien nerds. In addition to releasing details on the extended scenes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and new posters and a new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros. also hosted a multi-city fan event attended by Peter Jackson and several cast members.
The director kicked off the proceedings with his latest production diary (which you can see after the jump), followed by a Q&A with fans all across the globe. However, the real centerpiece of the event was in the new footage they showed — six scenes’ worth, totaling roughly twenty minutes. We also got to hear the new theme by Ed Sheeran, “I See Fire.” Hit the jump for highlights from the event plus a footage recap.
After everyone made their introductions, Jackson opened the fan event with his newest production diary from the set of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. As with most of his video journals before this one, it’s a fun look at both the hard work that goes into these movies, and the silliness that ensues behind the scenes.
We then moved into the Q&A, which was held simultaneously via satellite in four separate cities. Richard Armitage and Orlando Bloom were based in New York, Evangeline Lilly in Los Angeles, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, and Andy Serkis in London, and Jackson in Wellington, New Zealand. Here’s what we learned from it.
Lilly’s Tauriel was inspired by an iconic Disney character.
“One of the things I intentionally did when I was preparing for this role was to not go back and watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy,” Lilly said. “Because one of the things I was afraid of was that I would try and copy the performances of Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett.”
So instead of turning to Tolkien, Lilly looked to the Mouse House. “One of my inspirations that I used when I was preparing Tauriel was Tinkerbell. Tink is a badass little fairy. She’s tiny and she’s cute, but she is fierce, and you don’t want to get on the wrong side of Tink.”
Bloom was afraid you wouldn’t want to see him in The Hobbit.
Bloom confessed to some nervousness about reprising his role from the Lord of the Rings films. “I concerned that as Legolas isn’t written into the books, maybe there would be some conflict there with fans,” he admitted. “But one thing I know about Pete is that Pete has one eye very clearly on the Tolkien world and also on making a fantastic movie. He’s brilliant at creating moments with characters.”
Armitage considers himself “a bit of a purist when it comes to Tolkien,” had to do some improvising.
“It’s such incredible language to speak, and I felt like the character lived through the lines of Tolkien and also the incredible script Peter, Fran [Walsh], and Philippa [Boyens] created,” he said. “But there were many times when we were asked to improvise.”
Armitage added that his favorite line in the movies was one spoken by his own character, Thorin: “If this is to end in fire, then we will all burn together.” (“That is a sexy line,” Bloom agreed.)
Jackson hopes to get a blooper reel out on the eventual box set.
“I’m sure at some point there’s going to be a box set, and certainly I would love for the bloopers to be on the box set,” said Jackson. “The tricky thing with a blooper reel is that they were shot on film, and the negative, like several million feet of it, is in some vault in Arizona somewhere. [...] So the picture quality of the bloopers isn’t going to be that great, unfortunately.” To which the fan who’d asked it replied, “We don’t mind.”
Next up was an extended scene from An Unexpected Journey in which the dwarves dine at Rivendell. (Read about it and all the others here.) As you’d expect, the dwarves are rather ill at ease in the Elvish settlement, complaining about the food and music. Bofur (James Nesbitt) eventually gets up on the table and breaks out into song, which — to the disdain of the more refined elves — eventually leads to a food fight.
Jackson explained how the song itself had come about. “We wanted the words to be from Tolkien,” he said. He choose “The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late,” a tune sung by Frodo at one point in The Fellowship of the Ring, and asked Nesbitt to compose the melody. “Jimmy took that on and this is the result,” he explained.
Once the scene ended, it was time to move onto the main attraction: the footage from the film. First, we listened to Sheeran’s pop tune “I See Fire,” which will play over the closing credits of The Desolation of Smaug. It’s a melancholic ballad, involving guitar and violin, and it incorporates what Armitage said was his favorite line: “If this is to end in fire, then we shall burn together.”
Jackson then warned us, via a prerecorded video, that the actual scenes we were about to see weren’t 100% complete, but they looked pretty finished to us. Be warned that spoilers follow from here on out.
1) The first scene has Bilbo climbing up a rocky surface to poke his head out of a bunch of leaves. “I can see a lake, a river, and the Lonely Mountain,” he calls back to his comrades. “We’re almost there! I know which way to go.”
But at that point, he sees the leaves rustles and hears branches starting to break. He slips and falls back down under the leaves, and gigantic spiders approach and wrap him in webbing.
2) The second immediately follows the first, with Bilbo swaddled in spiderwebs and apparently unconscious. However, he wakes up and manages to stab the spider about the eat him, knocking him to the ground. He pulls himself out of the cocoon and sees that the others are also wrapped up. So he puts on the ring to make himself invisible.
This allows him to hear the spiders talking: “Let us kill them, let us kill them.” Bilbo tosses a stick to create a distraction, but one spider remains behind. Bilbo jabs it with his sword, removing the ring and making himself visible just before the fatal blow. “It stings, it stings,” wails the spider. “Sting, that’s a good name,” Bilbo muses.
3) The third picks up with Thranduil, Legolas, and Tauriel, who have an orc in their possession. Thranduil demands to know why it was following Bilbo and the dwarves, as Legolas holds a dagger against its neck. “You like killing things. You like death,” Tauriel snarls at it. “Then let me give it to you.”
The unrepentant Orc says that Thorin will never be king. “You know nothing. Your world will burn,” he says. Thranduil beheads him, as Legolas protests that he’d promised to free the orc. “I freed his wretched head from his horrendous shoulder,” the older elf replies. “There was nothing more he could tell me.”
4) The fourth scene has the dwarves in separate jail cells, bemoaning their bad luck. Bilbo then shows up with a set of kees and proceeds to free all of them. The group tiptoes downstairs, past sleeping elvish guards, into a cellar filled with barrels and bottles. The dwarves are initially skeptical when Bilbo tells them to hide in the barrels, but fall in line after Thorin backs him up: “Do as he says.”
Bilbo then tells them to hold their breath, and sends the barrels rolling down into a river below. As the elves approach, he, too, leaps into the river and rejoins the gang.
5) The fifth opens with Bilbo and the dwarves on a boat, filled with barrels and with Bard the Bowman steering. It’s clear the dwarves don’t care for Bard, and one asks, “How do we know he won’t betray us?” Thorin grimly replies, “We don’t.” However, as one points out, “You don’t have to like him, you just have to pay him.”
As the ship nears a dock, Bard demands their money and goes to talk to a guard on the shore while the dwarves hide and watch. The dwarves fear that he’s selling them out, but he ends up filling the barrels with fish instead, the better to hide them. The ship approaches another dock.
6) Finally, the sixth chronicles Bilbo’s descent into Smaug’s jewel-filled lair. Balin is asking Bilbo to go down into the pit and find the Arkenstone, described as a large white jewel. Though he says Bilbo doesn’t have to do it, the hobbit responds, “I promised to do this and I think I must try.” Balin smiles. “Never ceases to amaze me, the courage of Hobbits,” he remarks.
As Bilbo prepares to go, Balin offers a last-minute warning. “If there is a live dragon down there, don’t awaken it,” he says hastily.
The comment makes Bilbo nervous as he heads down, calling out “Hello?” Hearing no response, he says, “Good, you’re not home.” He’s in the room surrounded by gold, picking through the many treasures to look for the Arkenstone. But one movement causes one of the piles to slide down, exposing Smaug’s fearsome yellow eye.
Bilbo tries to escape Smaug’s notice and make his way out quietly, but it’s too late. “Thief! Where are you? Come now, don’t be shy,” says the dragon. “Step into the light.” The scene ends as Smaug lets out a giant burst of flame.
See all that and, y’know, the rest of the movie when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens December 13, 2013.