Legolas Will Be The Main Link Between 'The Hobbit' And 'Lord Of The Rings' Trilogies

Considering there's another film set for release in 2014, it's no spoiler to reveal The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ends on a massive cliffhanger. It also ends very close to the end of J.R.R. Tolkien's narrative of The Hobbit, which means unless There And Back Again is 20 minutes long, it'll be stuffed with new narrative linking Peter Jackson's current trilogy with the Lord of the Rings.

Recently, one of the film's stars teased the press by saying the character of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) would be the main link between the trilogies. Jackson also explained how he justified putting that character, which isn't in The Hobbit novel, into the film by giving a brief Tolkien history lesson.

The first piece of the puzzle came from Evangeline Lilly who plays the Elf Tauriel, a character Jackson and his screenwriters created to give the film not only a female voice, but a love interest for a few characters. Here's Lilly:

Peter, Fran [Walsh] and Philippa [Boyens] brilliantly tied the last Hobbit film to the first Lord of the Rings film through the one character would could do that, which is Legolas.

Of course Elves are all but immortal, and Legolas is one of those summoned to Rivendell in The Fellowship of the Ring to decide how to destroy The One Ring. He then joins the Fellowship and plays a major role in helping end the world of the ring. Unfortunately, while the character would have certainly been alive during the time of The Hobbit, he's not in the book, which has some fans a little pissed off about his inclusion in the film. Jackson explained why he felt Legolas belonged in the film:

People always ask about Evangeline's character Tauriel and why we felt the need to create her. But in The Hobbit novel, [the dwarves] are captured by the elves and they escape in the barrels. And it's a memorable part of the book but the Elf King is not even named. He doesn't have a name. And it was only later on that Tolkien decided it should be Thranduil and he also decided he should have a son when Lord of the Rings was written 18-19 years later. He created the character of the son of the king.

So you've got material there but you can't have a scene in a film that's a memorable scene with just one person as the Elf. We wanted three Elven characters. That's the thing too, to create characters and have conflict with each other and they have different agendas. Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel are all on different flight paths which makes it much more interesting ability for Fran [Walsh] and I to tell the narrative through their eyes.

I never noticed the Elf King who captures the dwarves in The Hobbit was never named, and had no idea years later Tolkien decided it was Legolas' father. That actually seems like a very fitting reason for him to be in the film though, once you see it, he has much more to do besides appear in that scene.

I'm more curious how it's Legolas, and not Gandalf or Bilbo, who'll be the link between the trilogies. Any thoughts?