518000123 3 620 439 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Trailer: Meet the King Under the Mountain [Updated]

“I do believe the worst is behind us now,” quoth Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) at the end of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, eliciting a laugh from everyone in the audience who had either read the books or was aware that Bilbo had merely completed the first chapter of an adventure that spans two more movies and will likely bring a lot more trouble along the way.

Earlier today we unveiled some character posters of Bilbo and friends in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and now there’s a three-minute trailer for the movie to reveal even more of what this sequel has to offer. The trailer gives a comprehensive look at the characters, both old and new, who will be encountered in this leg of Bilbo Baggins’ journey, including another fleeting glimpse of Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) and a flashing vision of the Eye of Sauron.

By the time the second or third trailer for a movie rolls around there’s often a lot of recycled footage involved, but The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug apparently has plenty of clips to pick out from its running time as this trailer is comprised almost entirely of brand new footage. It’s also probably the best trailer so far, doing a neat job of laying out Thorin’s quest and the attitudes of the various factions towards it, as well as introducing the Arkenstone as a key plot device.

[UPDATE: Watched the trailer and hungry for more? Check out this new production diary video for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.]

The one fly in the ointment of Thorin’s plan to re-enter the Lonely Mountain and reclaim his home and title as King Under the Mountain is not a fly at all, but a reptile. A very large reptile with wings and a belly full of fire and the growly, grumpy voice of Benedict Cumberbatch with which to announce his own claim to the royal title. So far we’ve only been given fairly brief glimpses of Smaug and this trailer is no exception, but he does get in one chilling line of dialogue.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has a difficult task to pull off as the middle portion of an epic trilogy based on a 300-page book, since it has to follow up on story arcs that were established in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, introduce a whole host of new characters and also set up the events of The Hobbit: There and Back Again. This is an extremely promising trailer, however, and it will be a joy to see Smaug sparring in battles of both wits and might on the big screen.

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