In Celebration of Tolkien Week and Hobbit Day: Seven Things We Missed About Middle-Earth
09.19.12 by BJSprecher
Return to Middle-earth with new still images from The Hobbit
If you're a fan of high fantasy, then you're probably already drinking a pint of Gaffer's ale and singing "The Road Goes Ever On" in celebration of Tolkien Week along with the thousands of other J.R.R. Tolkien fans around the world — that is, assuming you haven't been stuck in the Mines of Moria since 1978, the year the American Tolkien Society first proclaimed Tolkien Week and set Sept. 22nd as Hobbit Day. With the first part of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings prequels opening in less than three months, Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and MGM decided to join in on the fun by releasing a huge batch of new still images from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, with a new trailer to follow later today. Pour yourself another pint and enjoy the new still images with us as we reminisce about seven of the things that we have been missing about Middle-Earth and are looking forward to when Tolkien's creations return to the big screen this winter.
The wide-eyed and fresh-faced Hobbit hero at the heart of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), is sitting out this adventure — Frodo had yet to be born, but we will get to see him return in an opening sequence — but his uncle Bilbo (Martin Freeman) will be shepharding us through Middle-Earth on a quest that rivals Frodo's mission to destroy the One Ring.
Extremely powerful and nearly immortal, Wizards are the superheroes of Middle-Earth. Of course, they're not all kind, pipe-smoking mentors like Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) as we discovered when Saruman (Sir Christopher Lee) sided with Sauron. Gandalf is one of the many characters that will return in The Hobbit, and this time he will be joined by Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy), a wizard with a strong relationship with wild animals.
The brave dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) provided plenty of laughs and even a few tears in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and we can't wait to see more of his noble race in The Hobbit. Not only do we get to meet Gimli's father, Glóin (Peter Hambleton), but a dozen more of his brethren, including Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), Bombur (Stephen Hunter), Balin (Ken Stott), Dwalin (Graham McTavish), Bofur (James Nesbitt), Bifur (William Kircher), Nori (Jed Brophy), Ori (Adam Brown), Dori (Mark Hadlow), Óin (John Callen), Kili (Aidan Turner) and Fili (Dean O'Gorman).
Regal, statuesque creatures, the elves inhabiting Middle-earth are as beautiful as they are deadly. Immortal beings, the elves who aided Frodo on his quest to Mount Doom — Legolas of Mirkwood (Orlando Bloom), Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) — will all return in The Hobbit to offer aid to Bilbo and his company of thieving Dwarves.
Perhaps the most tragic creature in all of Middle-earth, Gollum was once a Hobbit named Sméagol who became consumed by the power of the One Ring. British actor Andy Serkis won numerous accolades for his portrayal (through motion capture technology) of Sméagol/Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and he returns to lend his voice, facial expressions and mannerisms to the miserable creature with two personalities in The Hobbit, revealing how the One Ring ended up in Hobbiton in the possession of Bilbo Baggins.
Incredible Landscapes & Sets
A combination of digital artistry and breathtaking real-world landscapes, the world of Middle-earth as envisioned by Peter Jackson and his teams of artists is just as magical and compelling as any of the characters in the movie, which is why we were so excited when The Hobbit production returned to New Zealand to film in many of the same locations where The Lord of the Rings was filmed.
The dramatic, poignant scenes in The Lord of the Rings were punctuated by epic conflicts — humans vs. orcs, Ents vs. orcs, elf vs. troll, Hobbit vs. Nazgûl, wizard vs. demon — so we can't wait to see Thorin Oakenshield's company of dwarves enter the fray.
Since this is Tolkien week, check out this crazy-but-true story about how Tolkien's timeless myth almost came to the big screen in the '70s as a live-action movie starring...The Beatles.
Images courtesy Warner Bros., New Line & MGM