There be dragons—or at least one very big dragon. J.R.R. Tolkien fans got their first look at the scourge of Dale in the second installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, when Warner Bros. released the trailer Tuesday (see below). They also got their first glimpse of Orlando Bloom returning as Legolas and Lost’s Evangeline Lilly in the role of the elf warrior maiden Tauriel, a role created by Jackson and his writing partners for the film adaptation.
The additions of both Legolas and Tauriel—neither of whom appears in the book, though Legolas is a major character in The Lord of the Rings cycle—indicate that the films will continue to take liberal license with their source material. Along with the spiders, butterflies, and dwarves-in-barrels that will be familiar to The Hobbit readers, the trailer features plenty of dialogue about “the nature of evil” and “foul things coming forth” that won’t. Taken together, the changes suggest Jackson plans to continue with the much broader, darker interpretation of Bilbo Baggins’ tale that he began with the first film, An Unexpected Journey.
The one thing the trailer didn’t offer was a voice many Middle Earth faithful are eager to hear: Benedict Cumberbatch who, after playing Sherlock Holmes on the BBC’s Sherlock and Khan in the latest Star Trek sequel, will bring Tolkien’s miserly dragon to life via motion capture. Hopefully, diehard fans won’t have to wait until the film opens on Dec. 13 for a taste of what Smaug sounds like to go along with this first peek at what he looks like.