It’s been a long, challenging road for The Hobbit. It’s endured lawsuits, studio bankruptcy, and even a change in directors. At times, it didn’t even look like the prequel to the popular Lord of the Rings movies was ever going to be made. On one hand, there were people who were happy with that outlook, feeling like the existing trilogy was so perfect that it was best to leave well enough alone. On the other hand, there’s a disappointment that we have such incredible adaptations of the trilogy but nothing for the earlier story, which sees Bilbo Baggins go on his great adventure, and acquire the ring that winds up leading to so much trouble.
Well, the trailer for The Hobbit is a perfect fit for the existing Lord of the Rings world. In fact, watching the trailer, it became hard to believe that it’s been ten years since The Fellowship of the Ring came to theaters. The movies still hold up incredibly well and have become such an important part of the modern film landscape, but feel so new that it’s amazing to think a decade has passed.
If there have been any questions as to how Peter Jackson is bringing back members of the old cast for The Hobbit, the trailer answers that. The story will be told in retrospect, with Ian Holm (who played the elder Bilbo in the trilogy) recalling the story of his first great adventure, which will show Bilbo played by Martin Freeman. Of course, Ian McKellen reprises his role as Gandalf, and I expect Jackson will really show how strong Gandalf and Bilbo’s friendship became over the course of the adventure.
The trailer also features the dwarves Bilbo travels with, with the mountain folk singing a powerful dirge in the preview – a musical selection that I suspect has already worked its way into the ringtones of many a Tolkien fan. It’s as captivating a moment as hearing Pippen sing to Denethor in Return of the King and sure to become a memorable part of the new movie.
Some have asked why the teaser doesn’t have any hint of Smaug, the dragon who holds the treasure Bilbo and the dwarves are going after. Remember, The Hobbit is being split into two movies and it’s almost a guarantee that Smaug will be exclusively in the second picture. Take heart, however – as we can already see from this teaser, the riddles in the dark between Bilbo and Gollum is sure to be a highlight for the first picture, and that should tide any fan over until the dragon arrives in the second film.
I fully expect the hype surrounding The Hobbit to grow massively before the film comes out – after all, the teaser trailer has come almost a full year before the film hits theaters. Some may find that annoying, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to return to Middle Earth again.