A Close Look At The Hobbit Trailer – Some Things You May Not Have Noticed

The first trailer for The Hobbit was generous to the point of overflowing with new images, ideas and characters – not to mention the already-a-cult-smash Dwarven song.

Here are my rough and basic notes on just some of the riches scattered through those two and a half minutes. I’d love to hear about anything you saw, or thought about, too.

So… if you’re sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin.

First up, here’s Elijah Wood as Frodo and Ian Holm as Bilbo outside Bag End in some kind of “Rings era” section of the film.

Note the sign on the gate: No Admittance Except On Party Business. That was there when Gandalf turned up in The Fellowship of the Ring, which probably gives a good idea of the chronology of these framing sequences. Note also what the Hobbits are wearing.

Ian Holm never went back down to the New Zealand location for The Shire, incidentally, so you know there’s some hidden Weta magic at work in this shot.

Talking of trickery, these over-the-shoulder shots require stand in actors or apple boxes to make the scale differences work.

Here’s Gandalf’s new staff:

And, to help you remember, his old one:

Look to the right of Bilbo here, not quite as far as the Hobbit in the tan-ish coat and you can see a fishmonger, looking down and doing his work. That’s Eric Vespe of Aint It Cool who wrote about his cameo:

Peter was blocking the scene with Martin Freeman, which begins with Bilbo buying a fish and looking around nervously. At this point he has already been propositioned by Gandalf for the big adventure and expects the wizard to pop up and bug him about it some more, I guess. After buying the fish from me he bumps into another Hobbit named Worrywort pushing a wheelbarrow of vegetables and Bilbo asks if he has seen the wizard wandering about. Over some stalls Bilbo sees Gandalf’s pointy grey hat and he tries to hide.

Bilbo’s business contract looks about as long as the Standard Rich And Famous Contract from The Muppets. I don’t believe it was anything like this length in the book which is odd – it seems very Tolkieny to stop for a 20 page digression into Middle Earth legalese.

This is a bit like one of those diagrams where they show a human being near a Tyrannosaurus Rex or similar. What we have here are the relative sizes of a Hobbit, a Wizard and some dwarves. Seems like there’s quite a bit of variety in Dwarf sizes.

The time and place – Next December, The Shire. Be there, or be square.

It looks like Bifur has an axe stuck in his head. They’ve removed the handle and left the blade, likely because Middle Earth medicine couldn’t do a better job than just letting it be.

You can see it better, perhaps in an old promotional image. I must admit I didn’t pay attention to it at the time.

Thorin might be a Dwarf, but he’s still the big man so here’s an upwards-tilted shot, giving him a moment of grandeur. Do you suppose we’re at Hobbit eye-level or thereabouts?

Here’s where the Dwarves give us a tune. This song is Misty Mountains and I doubt very much that Jackson will use all of it – it’s not that much shorter than Bilbo’s contract.

Jackson wisely dropped all of the songs from The Lord of the Rings and I’m sure he’ll only be using this one here insomuch as it’s dramatically useful.

I’m thinking this is Dol Guldur, referred to as “the dungeons of the Necromancer” in the text of The Hobbit but never visited, as such. We know to expect  some material in the Hobbit films to be drawn from elsewhere in Middle Earth lore, not to mention the imagination of Peter Jackson and his collaborators. I believe this is one such sequence. Oh – and note the Nazgul statue to the right.

Smaug! Look! It’s Smaug!

Here’s Galadriel, who does not appear in the novel. It’s likely that her appearance here is tied in with Gandalf’s subplot wanderings off to Dol Guldur.

So they label the image of Smaug as “Peter Jackson” and connect his Rings trilogy to “The Desolation of Smaug.” There’s obviously a hidden message here. Yeah. And if you play the trailer backwards, Sauron tells you to burn your house down.

Dol Guldur will need to have an underground if it is to be a dungeon. Compare the colour and design of this set to the other, outside one above.

This is Sting (the sword, not the actor) but it’s missing the inscription we know from the trilogy. I guess it will have to earn it first.

That can’t be all of the Dwarves, can it? They’d have to be itersecting with one another to fit in this much space.

Is this Radagast? Or is it Thrain, at Dol Guldur? I’m not sure, myself…  We know that both are in the film.

Here are Tom, Bert and Bill Huggins, the Trolls, or at least their legs.

And this, I think, is when the Trolls get turned to stone by daylight. It certainly likes the sun is coming up, plus the novel gives Gandalf one of his big, staff-planting declarations at this point.

I wonder if the filmmakers built an outsized ring for this shot too, as they did with the previous pictures? That kind of forced perspective can be hard to work in 3D, but what with all of the different sized characters, that’s a problem they’d need to solve anyway.

In the novel, Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum is in total darkness. On screen in the trailer, there’s some kind of light. I feel it is probably “movie darkness”, however, representative of conditions in which Bilbo can’t see. He hears Gollum, and turns towards him, but doesn’t seem to quite look him in the eye…

And here’s a closer look at Gollum:

He’s baaaaack, etc.

What a beautiful trailer – and that was the flat, 24fps version. I can’t wait to see some of this in 3D and at 48fps, let alone the full film… let alone both full films. Oh, Peter Jackson you spoil us.

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