The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – New Character Guide
The Lord of the Rings are undoubtedly my favorite movies of all-time and when An Unexpected Journey was released last year it managed to hit almost all of my expectations and than some. Tonally and atmospherically it was a bit lighter and whimsical than the Rings trilogy but being that the source material was aimed more towards children than adults this time around I was completely OK with that. Now with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’s release only a few days a way I decided to put together a character guide to the new faces that will be making an appearance in part two of this unexpected trilogy.
Also I would ask that if the readers of the book could please refrain from posting spoilers in the comments I would really appreciate it. Many of these new characters have crucial moments in the story and giving it away on a message board to those who haven’t read the text would be unfortunate and in bad taste. Thank you.
Bard the Bowman
Played by: Luke Evans
Who is he?
He’s my favorite character in the entire book, that’s who he is! Bard the Bowman is one of the book’s main characters and someone who has been given a much more important and boosted role in The Desolation of Smaug. He’s essentially a mixture of Strider and Robin Hood with a dash of Aragorn’s peaceful isolation when it comes to gaining leadership. I would go into great detail about him and who he is but honestly, I think I would just ruin the movie for everyone. He becomes the King of Dale later on in the story and is often seen spending a majority of time in Lake-town. In the book he’s a father to one son but in the movie they also gave him two daughters, so it’ll be interesting to see the family dynamic we didn’t get much of in Tolkien’s original text. I know that Peter Jackson is playing up Bard even more than in the novel so he’s going from an important role to a crucial, spotlighted character throughout the second part of the movie.
You can expect a lot of Bard interacting with members of the company and meeting Thorin’s plan with great concern and doubt in DOS. This will definitely cause friction between the two of them as Bard feels Thorin is being selfish in his desire to awaken the dragon, and he’s right. You’ll see a different side of Thorin in this movie and Bard will be the one who counteracts that with his character actions.
Played by: Evangeline Lilly
Who is she?
Tauriel is an Elvish WARRIOR, yes a warrior who is also the right hand woman of Thranduil (The King of Mirkwood), all while being the leader of the Elven Guards. Not much is known about the character since she is completely made up for the movie but it was confirmed that her parents were slain by orcs when she was young, which will give her an aggressive and almost reckless nature. Evy Lilly actually summed her up in an interview as being “a killing machine”, which is all the more reason to be excited about her. Hardcore Tolkien fans have been vocal about this change in the sense that A. she’s a made up character and B. she’s breaking the “blueprint” of the Elvish race in her personality makeup. To those people I say BACK UP AND WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THE FINISHED PRODUCT. The female presence in The Hobbit is mostly nonexistent and that’s a stark contrast to the Lord of the Rings trilogy which had powerful and revolutionary female characters. Aside from Galadriel, Arwen and Eowyn we know that the high power Valar contain a female, Galadriel is perhaps the most powerful of resistance of the ring and royalty in Middle-Earth and Bilbo constantly states that his internal and external strength comes from his mother. Because of this it was essential to add another woman into the mix for The Hobbit’s trilogy and since they’re expanding on the story and the appendices with a heavy Elvish presence they were able to include her as a brutally kick-ass warrior.
It’s been hinted that Legolas is in a sort of “one-sided” crush on her in the sense that Tauriel either isn’t feeling him or is forbidden to do so, and either way their relationship will be focused. In fact, it’s been mentioned by some that (minor spoiler) she actually winds up having a romantic relationship with Kili the dwarf. This was hinted at in the Extended Edition when Kili is in Rivendell checking out the female elves that walk past him during the dinner sequence. We also know that she’s with Legolas when they “capture” the dwarves and she will most likely have an expanded role in the third film as well, barring she actually survives.
Basically we can count on two things, 1. She’ll kick a heavy amount of orc ass and 2. She’ll look great doing it.
The Master of Lake-Town
Played by: Stephen Fry
Who is he?
He is, as the title suggests, the Master of Lake-town which is a town close to Erebor and The Lonely Mountain, and one that will be heavily featured in the movie. He is never given a name in the book but interacts with the company as they enter the city towards the latter half of the Smaug encounter. He’s sort of a flamboyantly greedy type of leader but never one who is maliciously evil or angry.
In DOS we can expect a lot of Stephen Fry being Stephen Fry which is a great thing for the tone and atmosphere of the universe Jackson created. He’ll most likely get a ton of sequences with Bard as he did in the book and it’ll be interesting to see if they play them against one another or have them show the bond they had (which again, was something only touched on in the novel).
Played by: Mikael Persbrandt
Who is he?
Beorn is a shape-shifter who lives just outside of Mirkwood Forrest and has the ability to change into a gigantic, hulking bear. He was a brutal warrior years earlier and now resides in a nice, pristine cabin with a ton of animals and ponies that he takes care of as pets. In the book he’s known to speak in all tongues to animals and even has a pack of dogs that do everything for him, including set the table and clean the dishes (will they include this? I’m not sure it fits with the tone of Part Two which is another reason why this should’ve been kept in Part One). His main role in the novel is to provide the dwarves with a place to stay and transportation through Mirkwood… well that is before he comes to the aid of Gandalf and Bilbo in The Battle of the Five Armies.
Tolkien describes him in the book as a gigantic man with a large frame, thick black hair and a great bushy beard, a mountain man if you will… and the above picture is what they came up with?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I hate this aesthetic design and really hope that he’s either in bear form for most of the movie or at least gets a powerhouse performance from Mikael because I just can’t take him seriously looking like that. Beorn is a beloved character from all fans of the Tolkien universe and one who we were all desperately waiting to see come to life so I reallllllllyyy hope they nail this one.
Played by: Lee Pace
Who is he?
The Elvenking of The Woodland Realm and Northern Mirkwood, Thranduil is just as fabulously beautiful as his son Legolas. You can tell he got his delicate features from his father because this Elf could rock a crown like nobody else can. He has a stark disliking for the dwarves and is completely distrusting of Thorin and his Company when they first come in contact (and even though this is referenced a lot in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit not ALL ELVES hate dwarves this way). He’s completely in control, he’s stubborn and he’s of pristine royalty who rules with a somewhat iron (diamond clad) fist.
In DOS we can definitely expect an increased presence from the elves and a boost in Thranduil sequences since they play up his rivalry with Thorin as well as his relationship with his son Legolas. The latter is of course not featured in the book but makes an appearance in the movie, and because of that we should see some hints at their developed and complicated relationship. He has a pretty big role in The Battle of the Five Armies as well but since I feel like I’ve been getting a bit too “revealing” in these descriptions with details about the book I won’t say anymore.
Played by: Orlando Bloom
How dare you not know the answer to this question but for those of you living under a rock in the past 10 years, Legolas is the strikingly beautiful Elvish Prince of Mirkwood. He’s armed with absolutely deadly precision with a bow, incredible eye sight and flowing golden locks that could make any woman in the audience both jealous and forever in love with him. Perhaps the single most kick-ass character in the original trilogy when it comes to action scenes and the disposing of orcs and uruk-hai, Legolas Greenleaf is back to slay some more evil in The Desolation of Smaug.
Legolas’s role in The Hobbit is completely new for the movie and what once started off as just a cameo with less than 2 minutes of screen time has now ballooned into a feature role in the new trilogy. Tolkien fanatics will again be divided on this inclusion (what else is new) as well as a possible romantic subplot between he and his father’s right hand woman Tauriel. Jackson has repeatedly stated that they will not be in a romantic relationship but the trailer clearly showcases that he’s sporting some serious feelings for her out in The Woodland Realm.
Voiced by: Benedict Cumberbatch
Who is he?
While not necessarily a new character I felt that it was best to describe his role in the movie for those who were still a bit cloudy on who he was. The Necromancer is Sauron, or at least the spirit of Sauron that has been roaming the lands of Middle-Earth after he was defeated in The Battle of the Last Alliance. It’s important to note that none of this character is in the book at all (save for a mention) and his information was derived from The Appendices and The Lord of the Rings. It’s a technique Peter Jackson is using to better bridge the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and tie the entire universe together in a comprehensive web of connections. If he plants the seeds of Middle-Earth’s greatest threat now then the final battle in Return of the King could seem that much more epic (if that’s even possible).
He resides in Dol Guldur which we saw Radaghast visit in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
In the book Gandalf leaves Thorin and the company as they travel through Mirkwood and in the movie it looks like they’ll be fleshing out where he actually went. We know that he’s suspicious of what Radagast saw at the White Council where he tells Galadriel and Saruman about the return of Sauron (Saruman of course denies it, most likely in an effort to dissuade the council and find the ring and team with Sauron himself). We’ve also seen glimpses of him trekking into the tombs in multiple trailers and even got the image of “The Eye of Sauron” as well as a bonus scene of him and Radagast exploring the fortress (pictured above).
So will we see Gandalf confront Sauron in this new movie? I say absolutely and there is even a possibility that we will get a glimpse at the army driving him from Dol Guldur in either this movie or the next (most likely the latter). This is one of those things that splits hardcore Tolkien fans down the middle as some are purists of the book and want the exact same transition while others are open to changes. I’ve been open to every change Jackson has done in The Lord of the Rings and so far in The Hobbit and personally loved them all (save for Beorn but that rant is for another day). I think the opportunity to foreshadow the greatest enemy in the entire LOTR universe as well as tying in these two epic trilogies is something that can’t be understated or looked over. I say bring it on because In Jackson I Trust
Voiced and Motion Captured by: Benedict Cumberbatch
Well, at last we get to the titular character of the movie in Smaug The Stupendous. He’s one of the last great dragons of Middle-Earth and probably the most wealthy after he took over Erebor and hoarded mountains upon mountains of gemstones, minerals and GOLD. You see, dragons are deliciously greedy creatures and want as much gold as physically possible to be in their possession. Once Smaug attacked Erebor he destroyed all those inside and kept the Kingdom to himself for over two decades, since nobody and I mean NOBODY would dare mess with a dragon of that size and strength.
Enter Thorin and his Company on their trek back to Erebor to reclaim their homeland and slay a creature that few believe can actually be slain. His armor is basically impenetrable, he breathes fire like 400 flamethrowers launching at once and his sense of smell is unrivaled to almost any creature of Middle-Earth. On top of ALL OF THAT he is incredibly intelligent, brilliantly confounding and oftentimes immersed in the thought and planning against his foes.
For those that found the “Riddles in the Dark” sequence between Bilbo and Gollum to have been the standout moment in An Unexpected Journey then you will most definitely be blown away by the confrontation between Smaug and Bilbo. Everything I’ve read about this movie includes a solid paragraph or two of people gushing over the creature of Smaug and the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch, whose voice is so booming that it echoes off the walls. Cumberbatch also did motion capture work for the dragon Smaug which few people actually realize, and for those of you that have seen Sherlock you will undoubtedly be ecstatic to see him and Freeman face off on screen together. The Desolation of Smaug will be an incredible ride and one that’s been building towards the most crucial moment in the book that fans have longed to finally see on screen. So if all indications are correct the epic Smaug confrontation will be the highlight of the film and live up to all of our expectations and than some.