I’ve always appreciated the changes made in converting The Lord of the Rings from page to screen, and I think that Peter Jackson and co. proved themselves, ultimately, to have better storytelling instincts than JRR Tolkien himself. All the same, I’d be a little surprised to see the cinematic Hobbit vary radically from it’s literary forebear.
Though maybe it will. Saoirse Ronan has long been rumoured for a role in the film as a character called Itaril who seems to be a new creation of Jackson and co-writers Guillermo Del Toro, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Here’s how Itaril has been described in casting calls:
[ITARIL] FEMALE, A WOODLAND ELF, this character is one the Silvan Elves. The Silvan Elves are seen as more earthy and practical. Shorter than other elves, she is still quick and lithe and physically adept, being able to fight with both sword and bow. Showing promise as a fighter at a young age, ITARIL was chosen to train to become part of the Woodland King’s Guard. This is the only life she has ever expected to live, until she meets and secretly falls in love with a young ELF LORD. This role will require a wig and contact lenses to be worn. Some prosthetic make-up may also be required. LEAD. AGE: 17-27. ACCENT – STANDARD R.P.
This seems to be the writers giving flesh and focus to characters that were left as cyphers in Tolkien’s original. You won’t see me complaining about that.
Ms. Ronan has spoken to The LA Times about the Hobbit films, and how she’ll “hopefully” have a role in them. Most interestingly, though, she says that several new characters can be expected to appear. Simply put, she says:
Pete is adding a lot of characters in the film adaption.
Of which Itaril is one. I see that several other sort-of-new characters are on the casting list, being creations of Tolkien that never appeared explicitly in The Hobbit. The best example of this is probably Primula Brandybuck and Drogo, the parents of Frodo.
I’m comfortable with Jackson adding, and I’m even comfortable with him removing. He knows what he’s doing. I’d be interested to see how the Tolkien fans react, however. Even though they accepted the Rings films, by and large, they could well flip over a seriously augmented Hobbit plot line.