In honor of the 75th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, Warner Bros. released a second Hobbit trailer this week (see below), giving eager fans a more detailed preview of what they can expect when the first film rolls out on Dec. 14. As an added bonus, the studio posted four additional trailer endings at the dedicated site, TheHobbit.com, each offering about 20 extra seconds of footage.
Though originally planned as a two-film adaptation, studio executives announced in late July that The Hobbit, which takes place in Middle-Earth about 60 years before The Lord of the Rings, would be divided into three 3-D films, with the subtitles An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug,and There and Back Again.The final two installments are expected to hit theaters on Dec. 13, 2013, and July 18, 2014.
Though some industry watchers have wondered whether the expansion of the franchise represents something of a cash grab by Warner Bros., director Peter Jackson, who also helmed the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, said the decision was based solely on his team’s desire to do justice to Tolkien’s work.
“Upon recently viewing a cut of the first film, and a chunk of the second, [screenwriters] Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and I were very pleased with the way the story was coming together,” he said. “We recognized that the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, gave rise to a simple question: Do we tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved ‘Yes.’”
Jackson added, “We know the strength of our cast and of the characters they have brought to life. We know creatively how compelling and engaging the story can be, and—lastly, and most importantly—we know how much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur would remain untold if we did not fully realize this complex and wonderful adventure.”
The good news for those who can’t get enough Middle-Earth is that the added films should allow Jackson and company ample time to cover every much-beloved scene from the book.
One other thing likely to cheer Tolkien devotees—though actor Martin Freeman is considerably younger than the 50-something master of Bag-End (much like Elijah Wood as Frodo), his wry comic timing in this early glimpse suggests he was an inspired choice to play Bilbo.