The Hobbit: What to expect from An Unexpected Journey
So what is The Hobbit all about? Let hobbit lookalike Ross McD take you on a journey…
Hobbitses? What’s Hobbitses, precious?
It is a prequel to the one of the greatest film trilogies of all time, The Lord of The Rings.
What? Another quick cash-in spin off dreamt up by soulless movie exec types?
No, not exactly. The Hobbit (or There and Back Again, to give it its full title) was written by JRR Tolkien in 1937, before he even started on The Lord of the Rings, which originally meant to be a similar sized follow up to The Hobbit, but developed into the six book epic comprising The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of The King. They took 12 years to write.
12 years? That was about the combined length of the first three films, right?
Almost – 11.5. Hours that is.
So this Hobbit book is smaller than The Lord of The Rings? My arse won’t be as numb from spending the entire Xmas in the cinema this time?
Well, yes and no. The Hobbit is smaller – only 20% the size of its sequel, with 95,022 words compared to LOTR’s combined 455,125.
However, despite being a fifth of the size, The Hobbit will also be comprised of a trilogy if films: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again, set for release this week, Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2014, respectively.
What?! Another trilogy for a single book?
Yes – it was originally meant to be a two-parter… But you know how audiences love trilogies these days.
Surely it’s going to be padded out a bit then?
The universe of Middle-earth is a rich one (Tolkien actually invented over a dozen different languages and several more scripts specifically for it) so there’s plenty of material to draw from. Just as LotR had reams of material left out, The Hobbit will have plenty of stuff probably not in the book.
Hang on – they’re was even more stuff that couldn’t fit into 12 hours of Lord of the Rings? Like what?
Oh yeah, tonnes of stuff didn’t make the original trilogy – some for the better. Tom Bombadil for example.
Never mind. Just think Middle-earth’s version of Jar Jar Binks.
Alright, so what sort of extra stuff will they cram in?
Well, perhaps to hammer home the point the trilogies are connected, or perhaps to make sure the cameramen didn’t get creaks in their necks by spending the entire three films following only the diminutive dwarves, Director Peter Jackson has shoehorned in some of the characters from the original trilogy, even though they never appear in the book – Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel is one, Orlando Bloom’s Legolas is another, while Elijah Wood’s Frodo Baggins will also make an appearance – though only as a flash forward (he isn’t born yet). Conveniently for Blanchett and Bloom, elves don’t age as such. The trailer also seems to suggest some sort of shenanigans between the MARRIED Galadriel and Gandalf – is there anything editors won’t try to sexify?
So who else is in it?
James Nesbitt plays a dwarf! So does Billy Connolly! Stephen Fry even has a small part! Sherlock’s very own Benedict Cumberbatch plays Smaug the Golden.
Smaug? He sounds awesome.
Yeah he is. That guy Ross McD even has a tattoo of him on his chest.
Without spoiling anything, what can we expect?
Well, it’s about a load of dwarves who recruit Bilbo Baggins (under the sceptically-received advice if Gandalf the then-still Grey) to help retrieve treasure stolen by the dragon Smaug. We’ll see how Gollum and Bilbo first met, and how Bilbo came to posses the One Ring and the sword Sting.
And after these six films are finished and Disney buy the Tolkien estate, what then?
Tolkien did write other works set in Middle-earth, such as The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. They’re a bit dreary though…