First Full Image of Smaug from ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Appears on a Plane

Published 1 year ago by

Though generally well-received, many reviews for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey criticized the fantasy adventure for being a bit of a slog, with twenty minutes of its 170-minute running time dedicated just to Bilbo and the dwarves eating dinner. However, with the journey already underfoot and the Lonely Mountain on the horizon, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug definitely looks like it could be a much stronger and more exciting entry in Peter Jackson’s new Middle-earth trilogy.

One of the big draws for the sequel, as evidenced by the title, is the introduction of Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) himself, who has so far only been glimpsed in brief bits and pieces during the original attack on Erebor and in extreme close-up at the end of An Unexpected Journey. However, with the release of The Desolation of Smaug less than a fortnight away, it’s time to reveal Smaug in all his high-flying glory.

For all the people who thought it was impossible to top Snakes on a Plane, New Line Cinema has joined forces with Air New Zealand to bring the first full image of Smaug to the public – in particular, the members of the public who happen to be hanging out at Auckland airport or LAX. An Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER has been decorated with a full-length image of Smaug, which on a cloudy day might just look like an actual dragon soaring through the sky. Check out a time-lapse video of the preparation above.

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug plane First Full Image of Smaug from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Appears on a Plane

In addition to the handful of shots in An Unexpected Journey, Smaug has also shown up in the trailers for The Desolation of Smaug, albeit in low light and mostly buried beneath an enormous pile of gold. The image on the plane isn’t totally clear, due to Smaug’s hide being perforated by windows (not to mention the emergency exit on his neck), but it’s the clearest look at the movie’s fire-breathing villain so far.

It’s a clever marketing stunt, though it might have been better to keep Smaug out of the public eye as much as possible until the film’s release. Seeing Jackson’s interpretation of the creature for the first time on a massive cinema screen (in full 3D and 48fps glory with Cumberbatch’s already powerful voice filtered for extra gravel) is probably reason enough to see The Desolation of Smaug in theaters.

Since the interior of the plane wasn’t shown in this image or video, we’re going to assume that the walls are gut-pink and all the seats are flame-red. There’s no use doing things by half-measures.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters December 13th, 2013.

Source: Air New Zealand

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. neato

  2. Peter Jackson’s private jet? AND Peter Jackson’s private gold horde.

    • Peter Jackson is really Smaug.

  3. New Zealand really is milking the whole Middle Earth thing aren’t they.

    • Peter Jackson is originally from there.

      • That’s why the West Midlands here in England are trying to find ways to ramp up tourism because there are places there that inspired Tolkien when he lived near Birmingham and they’re tired of people traveling to New Zealand to see filming locations instead of visiting the areas he pictured when describing The Shire and other places in the books.

  4. He’s not red. You had one job Peter. ONE JOB.

    • He looks red in the trailers…

    • Looks rust color to me. It might be the light of the gold hoard reflecting onto him.

  5. it would look way cooler if Smaug’s head was closer to the cockpit and the tail didn’t trail off all curvy and if his wings were printed on the plane wings but hey it’s not my plane

  6. I like the design, although I may have gone for a longer, sharper snout instead. Overall it looks pretty conventional for a dragon design (though it must be said that the whole underside of his body is supposed to be encrusted with gold and gems, so that’s probably going to be enough in the “previously unseen on screen” department), but I suppose that, considering how The Hobbit shaped a lot of the fantasy genre, it makes sense for it to have fairly archetypal designs.

  7. Can’t go five minutes without someone trying to sell you something anymore.

  8. they should have just made a plane in design of Smaug

    • ^^^yep
      Someone get this guy a cookie.

  9. Sean Connery – Draco keeps coming to mind

  10. To have the entire plane look like smaug would have been cool,

  11. Interesting..

  12. Looks great! I hope Smaug is the polystone collectible in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended DVD Gift Set.