6 reasons we’re excited for The Hobbit: There And Back Again

Yes, I know it’s not out until December, but that doesn’t stop us getting excited for the final part of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, There And Back Again. Whilst An Unexpected Journey took a bit of a critical mauling (and it wasn’t helped by the 48fps debate), most critics agreed The Desolation of Smaug moved back towards the brilliance of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Smaug also saw the trilogy’s tone shift to darker territory (Bilbo’s reaction to almost losing the Ring being a case in point), and I suspect There And Back Again will take us even darker. So, what can we look forward to in the final film? Warning: spoilers ahead!

1. The Battle of Five Armies:

We haven’t really had any epic battles yet in the Hobbit films – certainly nothing on the level of Helm’s Deep or even the Pelennor Fields. But that will change with There And Back Again as the Dwarves join forces with the Elves, Men and Eagles to battle the Goblins and Wargs. Jackson’s been signalling something’s coming with the expansion of the storyline following Thorin and Lurtz the main Orc in the first two films. In the book, the five armies battle is a major plotline deciding the fate of a number of key characters. We know Jackson can handle epic fights, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with this, especially with the new technology available to him in the 10 years since LOTR.

2. Dain Ironfoot

We’ll finally get a look at Thorin’s cousin Dain in There And Back Again. He’s not a major character and you’re probably wondering why I’ve included him. Billy Connolly, that’s why. The Scottish actor joins the cast as the Lord of the Dwarves of the Iron Hills. Connolly’s revealed in interviews that his Dain has a Mohawk and tattoos on his head. I can’t wait to see him.

3. Gandalf v The Necromancer

At the end of Smaug, we found Gandalf being held prisoner by the Necromancer in Dol Guldur. Now we all know Gandalf knows how to get out of tricky situations (the Balrog anyone?), so it’s hopefully no surprise to anyone that we’ll see the wily wizard escape his capture and join forces with the White Council to fight the forces of evil. Whilst this doesn’t feature hugely in the book, I expect to see it in the film. Will we see Saruman in this sequence? Or even Galadriel? We know she’s a feisty Elf and the scenes between her and Gandalf seem to point to some kind of collaboration. Wouldn’t it be great to see Cate Blanchett kick some Orc butt?

4. The destiny of Thorin, Bard and Tauriel…

I’m trying not to include too many spoilers here, but fans of the book know there are big things coming for Thorin and Bard. I’m intrigued to see how Jackson deals with the destiny of the Dwarf and Man. And what about Tauriel? Will she survive what is to come? We know she’s not mentioned at all in LOTR, could this be a bad omen?

5. Cameos

There have been so many reports that Jackson wants to use the final film to bridge the timeline between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. In Tolkien’s story there’s a 60 year gap. So, will we see characters from LOTR during those years? I would love to see some of Aragorn’s backstory and would be even more delighted to see some of the Hobbits get small cameos – who wouldn’t enjoy seeing Sam, Merry and Pippin again?

6. Bilbo

It seems strange to write a piece about The Hobbit without mentioning the Hobbit himself, but in the final part of Tolkien’s story Bilbo isn’t featured as heavily as some of the other characters (although he does still have a very big part to play). I doubt Jackson will allow his key character to sit on the periphery. As I mentioned, Martin Freeman has already started to take Bilbo to some dark places as the Ring begins to exert its power over him. How far will we see him go in the final film?

So, now there’s another 11 months to wait to find out what thrills Jackson has in store for his, and our, final trip to Middle Earth. I can’t quite believe it’ll be our last journey into the world of Hobbits, wizards and Elves. Peter, have you read the Silmarillion?