‘Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’: Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel is Young & Ruthless

Published 2 years ago by

Evangeline Lilly Hobbit Desolation of Smaug Interview  Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug: Evangeline Lillys Tauriel is Young & Ruthless

Avid J.R.R. Tolkien readers will no doubt be aware from her name that Tauriel, the elf to be played by Evangeline Lilly in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is an original character being introduced to the film series by writers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro.

Adding new characters into a film whose source material is as well-loved as The Hobbit always carries the danger of controversy, but in this case it probably can’t hurt to add a named female into the band of elf warriors, especially as we’ve been assured that Tauriel isn’t simply a love interest for Legolas.

Whereas the Lord of the Rings trilogy had Eowyn, Galadriel and Arwen all occasionally dropping into the plot to move things along, The Hobbit is a bit sparse on that front. Speaking very broadly, it’s about fifteen hairy men going on a road trip and encountering many more hairy men along the way (including the hairiest man of them all).

In keeping with Jackson’s onscreen vision of Tolkien’s elves, Lilly will also have her fair share of hair, but that won’t be the only thing that Tauriel will bring to the film. Speaking in an interview with Total Film, Lilly gave a few details about the character, starting with her age:

“She’s a very, very young elf. She’s only 600 years old, unlike Legolas who’s like, 1,900 years old and Thranduil who’s about 3,000 years old. She doesn’t have quite the wisdom and poise that those two boys do; she’s a little more… gritty. A little more spontaneous, passionate perhaps.

“To play this character I need to have a certain amount of grace. But I’m also supposed to be an absolutely ruthless, deadly killer.”

‘Graceful but deadly’ is a fairly accurate and concise description of the elvish fighting style, and a recent behind-the-scenes video of The Desolation of Smaug showed Tauriel fighting alongside Legolas and the rest of his warriors with a bow and arrow, against a group of what appear to be goblins (stuntmen with green bags on their heads, which was the method for creating goblins in An Unexpected Journey).

Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel in The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug  Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug: Evangeline Lillys Tauriel is Young & Ruthless






Though Jackson has made a number of changes to the Hobbit trilogy, in order to include details from the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, there are at least two places in the films where Legolas, Thranduil and Tauriel are almost guaranteed to show up. The first is when Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves find themselves lost and starving in Mirkwood and repeatedly gatecrash elven parties in an effort to beg for food, eventually angering Thranduil to the point where he has the dwarves captured and thrown into the dungeons.

The Hobbit Spoilers Smaug Benedict Cumberbatch  Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug: Evangeline Lillys Tauriel is Young & Ruthless

The elves come back into the picture during The Battle of the Five Armies, after Smaug is defeated by Bard the Bowman and the different races quickly descend to fight for a share of his treasure. Though Tolkien never specified whether or not Legolas fought in the battle, it’s not a stretch to believe that he did, since Thranduil is there to lead the wood-elves into battle, and where Legolas goes Tauriel will be likely to follow.

Do you think that Jackson is wrong to introduce new characters into the world of The Hobbit, or do you think that Tauriel simply gives a name to one of the many anonymous wood-elves of Mirkwood?


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters on December 13th, 2013, followed a year later by the final chapter, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, on December 17th, 2014.

Source: Total Film

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. Can’t wait to see legolas his my fav

  2. Someone that will die, possibly in order to inject some love torn drama. I know, not a popular idea with the male crowd but the gals need something to spice up the story for them…

  3. Thanks for marking the spoilers for me to skip over.

  4. I don’t have a problem with Jackson introducing characters if it’s done so in a way that fits naturally into the broader story that Tolkien crafted… which, as far as Tauriel is concerned, does seem to be the case. Certainly, from a movie-making point of view, a character like hers is also an expected addition. I personally feel that through all of Jackson’s Tolkien adaptations to date, he’s done as good a job as anyone might as far as making modifications to the source material in order to make good films, so I’ve long stopped worrying about changes or additions being detrimental.

    • I agree, Ethan. There is a very vocal minority out there, however, who likes to complain about every little thing with which they disagree, and who base a film’s total worth on their individual perception of it.

  5. is that kate from.lost? I Always liked her but she hasnnt been in much roles sincel ost ended

    • Yup. That’s Kate.

      • As long as she doesn’t spend the entire film going ‘I love Legolas, no I love Bildo, no, I love Legolas, I’m soooo confused.’ then I’m happy.

        • An elf “loving” a Hobbit? Ah, I don’t think you are going to have to worry about that…

          • It’s a reference to LOST Jeff.

            • Ahhhh…now I get it. Yes, then. I agree. :)

              • “WE HAVE TO GO BACK …to The Shire!”
                - Dr Bilbo Shephard

          • What about a Dwarf?…

    • Super grammar skills “runs with scissors”! Proper punctuation is for suckers!

  6. After having watched the first movie (and mostly enjoyed it), I cannot wait until all three movies are done and someone creates a fan edit, cutting out all the extraneous bits (I’m thinking of the goblin and dwarf chase through the tunnels – all that was missing was 8-bit music). Might even do it myself.
    I love Peter Jackson, I do, but I think, like George Lucas, he’s now surrounded by yes-men.
    In King Kong, he cut out dinosaur scenes in favour of dudes dancing on boats (put back in the extended version thankfully).

    • “8-bit music” – that’s perfect!
      I’m a longtime Jackson fan, but they should have all died many times over falling like they did, but they just kept running and jumping. Unbelievably lucky and athletic running…and jumping.
      Then when it felt like the chase should be over (where the heck are we meant to be now-the core of the planet?), and we the audience had learned via repetitious exposure that dwarves are really good at running and jumping (oh, and hobbits), they…(oh, hang on, human wizards as well, especially really old ones, they’re good at running and jumping too)…they did MORE running and jumping.
      And falling too – did I mention that? Lots and lots of falling. Hundreds of metres. Out of control. Into rock. While carrying heavy and/or sharp weaponry. With no head protection. Falling is bad. Good thing they brought a surgical team along. What’s that? No major injuries…at all? Oh, they landed in a pile and there was a fat joke? Hey, there’s the door to outside! Ohhh..wait up, the running and jumping and falling HAD to be that long so we could end up here, right where Bilbo should be! (Sshhh, we don’t know that yet. What we do know is that he won’t have been injured by running or jumping or falling…lots of falling).
      Don’t get me started on the non-deleted first half hour of King Kong..grrr-arggh…
      (Screen)Rant over.

      • Lol. Are u seriously ranting about how illogical a make believe movie involving wizards,monsters, dragons and such had a scene where Dwarves are falling for an extended period of time with sharp weaponry and made it out alive, because that clearly just doesn’t happen to dwarves in real life right….. In real life… Yeah in reality dwarves and old wizards would totally die or be seriously injured right. ITS MAKE BELIEVE you tool. They can do what ever they want in a science fiction fantasy type movie. If your gonna rant then rant about something that is valid like bad acting or drawn out scene but not about how someone was illogical in a illogical setting.

        • Agmeraz, there is inherent logic that a film requires in order to maintain what is known as the ‘suspension of disbelief’. If you don’t understand that, you don’t know what you’re talking about. If there is no consequence to being in danger, then there is no real danger, and therefore no emotive journey. The fact that you have decided to call me a ‘tool’ speaks volumes about your character though, and shows you are probably nothing but a troll…so you’ll turn to stone in the sunlight and we’ll be rid of you :)

  7. I have no problem with this particular addition. I love the idea of Evangeline Lily as an elf, and Tauriel is a great name.

    However, in my opinion, An Unexpected Journey was a cinematic hack job, and at this point Peter Jackson has very little of my approval for the way in which he is handling The Hobbit. Although I expect The Desolation of Smaug to be the best of the three films, I may very well elect no to see it in the theater.

    • I’ve heard some complaints about the first Hobbit film, but I’ve heard a lot more people express their approval with it, as evidenced by the billion + dollars it made worldwide. Honestly, with the exception of a few short scenes, I don’t understand what the complaints are about. The movie, thus far, makes a perfect companion piece to The Lord of the Rings.

  8. What’s with the new moving header?

    Only having a small monitor, it means I’m either going to have about half the screen taken up by it constantly, or adblock it out.

    It’s really very, very pesky.

    We know what site we’re at.

    Did anyone request this, or were you just bored?

    • We’re trying out new site design. We appreciate feedback… though expressed in a more constructive and less condescending way.

      • Personally, I like the new style of header. I appreciate being able to click on the ScreenRant logo when I’m done with comments to go back to the home page. Maybe add a way to close the header for those who do not like it.

        • Talby,

          Yup, that’s why we did it. To make it easier to navigate the site when you’re lower down on the page either done with reading and article, commenting, etc.

    • Strawbear,

      We’ll look at adding an option to minimize it.

  9. Okay so Charlie was in the Lord Of The Rings… Now Kate is in the Hobbit… What next, Sawyer in the Silmarillion?

    • If by “Sawyer” you mean “Hurley” then yes. :D

  10. All of the signature points in UJ seemed like lesser retreads of what happened in LOTR.

    Radagast steals a Morgul blade but isn’t stabbed. Gandalph blows on a moth…again. Fat King troll did not impress like the Cave Troll. Balrog was awesome…Smaug was a stupid tease. Galadriel was awesome in LOTR…ordinary here. The sense of loss was palpable in LOTR. UJ ends in hairy brohugs…

    Id like some unexpected awesomeness in Part 2, but PJ seems to have lost his mojo…

  11. She makes for one sexy elf.

  12. Isn’t the third Hobbit movie set for a summer 2014 release instead of December 17, 2014?

    • Rescheduled for a December release a few months ago.

  13. Hey, as long as the rumour of Tauriel and Kili getting it on is only a rumour (and forever stays a rumour) he can make her the God damned Queen of the Trees of Valinor for all I care.

  14. I love An Unexpected Journey despite acknowledging its flaws in comparison to Lord of the Rings, and I am very much looking forward to The Desolation of Smaug. I have no problem with Tauriel currently; however, I haven’t seen her. I tend to think that with all I’ve read about her already, including what Lilly states about her character, I’m inclined to think I won’t like her. Having said that I will try desperately to at least remain neutral until I actually see the movie. I think a lot will depend on how well she simply blends into the story…I do like additions/alterations to be as close to canon and as “realistic” as one can make them. I’m very optimistic about that; they can’t butcher it too badly, right? *Hides*

  15. I’m not saying yay or nay right off the bat. I’ll wait until the film comes out to pass judgement. And the romance isn’t between Legolas and Tauriel but her and Kili. It’s happening, get used to it. But I’m all for it if it brings something to the playing field. I just hope PJ doesn’t turn it into a Romeo and Juliet type thing

  16. What was Percy Jackson doing? Deciding to base the hobbit movies on Fanfiction? She sounds like a Mary Sue. Obviously, she’s going to be like Arwen, and save someone, while taking someone’s spot. And she’ll probably be in a love triangle with someone. Oh, and she’s going to have had a troubled past.

    What’s with the women having warrior jobs? I like that PJ is trying to go on the pro women bandwagon, but women weren’t really important in battle history. Eowyn should be the only exception. And Rosie, when she (in my dreams) helps Sam weld his frying pan.


  17. I don’t like the addiition of Tauriel. She shouldn’t be there and I think it injects feminism into a book that didn’t contain it and didn’t need it. I am a girl and I thoroughly enjoyed The Hobbit and I didn’t mind that there weren’t any girls in it.

  18. Behind the Scenes Edit
    Itaril was the original name for Tauriel.
    Evangeline Lilly will play Tauriel in the upcoming The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug film adaptations by Peter Jackson .
    Peter Jackson has confirmed that she will have no romantic connection to Legolas . However, it is hinted that there will be romance between Tauriel and Kili the dwarf .
    Lilly describes Tauriel as: “She has no problem killing. She’s a killing machine.”
    Evangeline Lilly has stated that she knows that people do despise Tauriel but other people would come to really like her.
    In the official trailer for the Desolation of Smaug , Thranduil states, “Legolas has grown very fond of you, do not give him hope where there is none.” This could mean that Tauriel and Legolas are close but Tauriel’s feelings for Legolas are purely platonic while Legolas’s feelings are romantic but one-sided.

  19. yeh but does leegolas fall in love with her

  20. i seriously cannot wait

  21. Yeah I’m gonna be that guy. I don’t like directors taking creative liberties with some of my favorite books. They were perfectly written as millions who have read and fallen in love with them can attest. I just don’t understand why they think they can change something and expect life long fans not to be very angry. Its an insult, not just to Tolkien but to the fans as well. Tolkien wrote them the way he did, and I don’t feel anyone has the right to change it. If tolkien wanted these characters and that love story he would have written it. If you are a fan of Tolkien’s writing these additions tend to be very bad, highly noticeable and very distracting. The writers simply cannot match his writing style and they don’t fit in with the story, or the tolkien universe as a consequence. They tend to be shallow and poorly written or even worse they are written with modern present day moral, family, or social issues that are ridiculous in Tolkien’s universe. That’s why I hate these additions.

  22. I have no problems with adding a female character. In this age and time it would be nothing but normal to have a girl on board.

    However, having said that I do have problems with adding a female only to turn her into a marry sue.

    She is young, has red hair, fancies Kili, is fancied by Legolas (and Kili and Legolas are like the 2 handsome guys fangirls go crazy about)and has a whole list of other things that just seem to much.

    Why add a girl just for romance? And if you really do need some romance then at least don’t use the 2 fangirl fave males. If it’s about going beyond races, then let her fancy dwalin or something instead of the least dwarf looking dwarf. And Legolas was fine withoud romantic feelings. In lord of the rings he shows no such interests. He is all about friendship with Gimli and the others.

    I would have been fine with legolas and Tauriel being friends. The Legolas has crush on Tauriel bugs me in the wrong ways.

    And Tauriel being in a triangle with the 2 fan favorites is also a problem.

    And the whole elf/dwarf thing is a problem. Gimli was special because of his feelings for Galadriël and friendship with Legolas and Tauriel down plays that and them.

    Legolas was special for his friendship with Gimli and being different then other elves, now it seems he will just be copying Tauriel….

    Those things all bother me, not the fact a new female character was added.

    Had she been just a friend of Legolas, withoud Legolas feeling things for her, and withoud her feeling things for any dwarf, her just being a kick ass elf lady who doesn’t seem like she knows better then all other elves including Legolas and Thranduil I would have loved her.

    But this romance thing kills her and damages the character Legolas and by exctend Gimli., and the red hair just seems like a rip of from Brave’s Merida.

    Also with Kili, why does he need to be the one with the romance just because he is the youngest and ”best looking” one? He doesn’t even look like a real dwarf. If any other specie is to fall in love with a dwarf then do it properly and use a real dwarf looking guy and show love is about more then youth and a pretty face.

    Also Kili is overshadowing Fili as well which also bothers me because they are supposed to be equaly importand for the story and it’s conclusion. It’s wrong to focus on 1 more just because he has a ”pretier” face.

    It’s also an insult to Kili that the only way he can get more screentime is by romance with an elf instead of just being a kick ass dwarf who makes unlce proud. (So I hope this wont be the case, if Tauriel has to like Kili, then please let Kili not know)

    The whole Thorin Fili Kili family thing should be more focused on, but I fear we will see little of that. Which is sad because it will downgrade a certain event that the book readers will know will happen.

    Long story short:

    Female warrior elf? hell yeah!!
    To young with rare hair collor female warrior elf? Preferd not but can live with it.
    Romantic interest? God no!
    Romantic interest with the pretty boy favorites? Oh hell god no! Mary sue alert!This is what fangirls usualy do… I’d expect a better female sub plot from Peter.
    Elf dwarf romantic stuff? …..You just killed the beauty of the Legolas Gimli friendship and the Gimli feels for Galadriël.
    Legolas liking Tauriel? This would be something I usualy say that would be out of character for Legolas, both book and movie version, he shows no interest to any girl anywhere, instead he is much more the focus of friendships, also his behavior in teh movie is much to relaxed and airy for an usual elf. It doesn’t make sense for Legolas to act like he does in the lotr triology if in the hobbit he is this angry guy who has feelings for Tauriel that go unanswerd..You’d expect him to look more tired in the fellwship instead of filled with youthfull curious playfull energie(and yes for an Elf Legolas is strange, even Tolkien wrote that , another reason I am not fond of Tauriel being the defient one who breaks away from elf traditions when in fact Legolas was the one to do that in Lotr. She is stealing all the things he was known for, and does them before he does in the hobbit..which feels wrong to me.)

    At first I was happy to see Legolas again, but now I feel his character is being done wrong and all the things he was famous for are downplayed by Tauriel who did them first. He also feels wrong in the trailers. I can get over him looking older. I can’t get over him looking so angry all the time and having Tauriel come acros a better elf then he is.

    She is stealing the spotlight. (from Bilbo and the company as well when one believes the trailers) A true and real mary sue who is better then the actual characters and gets the love of all the pretty guys who can kick ass is young and has rare looks… They ruind her when she could have been awesome…So I won’t love her and ignore anything romantic. I’ll pretend Legolas doesn’t fancy her, and she deosn’t fancy Kili and instead all there is is respect or something. As long as there are now love confessions or kisses this shall be an easy thing to do :P I will love her killing some orcs though. Female kick ass action is cool to watch and I will like her for at least that much.

    (god what a long post…sorry about that I tend to rant to much)

    • Did anyone notice the weaponry? Legolas doesn’t have his two knives as in the LotR trilogy. It is Tauriel who fights with the two knives. I predict she dies in There and Back Again. Legolas inherits her knives.

    • Wow. That was perhaps one of the most well-written post against Tauriel’s character that I’ve ever seen. Man, PJ should have had someone like you point out all these things to him when the team was still writing the screen play.

      • I’m glad that you, Amber, and I are not the only ones inclined to agree with the sad truth about the new hobbit movie. Peter Jackson took a big risk adding in a female character. He took an even bigger risk going ahead and giving her a love-story, which I’m certain that many Tolkien fans, or fangirls of Legolas (me included…) are not proud of. I do appreciate the girl power, but I definitely don’t agree with the way Peter Jackson constructed it. She is, by all means, the perfect mary-sue. I have nothing against the actor, just the character.

    • I didn’t mind the addition of Tauriel and liked the additional insight into the Wood Elves of Mirkwood. It’s a movie so it is an adaptation … overall I enjoyed the movie last night (saw the midnight showing).

      And if you read the book, you already know where this particular, romantic road will end up.

      • “And if you read the book, you already know where this particular, romantic road will end up.”

        No where, because it isn’t even in the book. Tauriel isn’t in the book, Legolas isn’t even in that particular book.

    • You just wrote everything that I was thinking of! When I first heard about Tauriel, I was debating whether I would ‘hate’ or ‘like’ her. Girl power is always welcome, just not when it includes a love triangle to a character that has made an entrance in this movie as an event that happens in the past and not the future. I’m thankful that Legolas was included because I do agree that even though Tolkien might have not invented his character at the time, there is a possibility of him being there. The love story that involves him annoys me to no end. In many ways (as you have stated perfectly) she is the perfect mary-sue that i could have ever had the displeasure of welcoming into my favorite series. I agree with every single thing you have to say about her inclusion in the movie, as well as romantic relation with Legolas, and Kili (Though I have to admit that when I saw the first hobbit movie, Fili was instantly my favorite XD) I find the almost brotherly relation between Gimli and Leggolas to be very meaningful, and this pathetic romantic vibe that Peter Jackson thought of in the cells of his (crazy) head is truly irrelevant. I’m trying to find ways to ignore her, and the incredibly annoying fangirls that ship them both together, but it’s just really hard. I’m hoping that he’ll pull away from Leggolas/Tauriel romantic relation that is going on for the sake of keeping the story ‘real’. I would have never expected him to do something so crazy…and I’m so happy I was able to find someone who actually understood and pointed out everything that I’ve been annoyed about in the new hobbit movie. In many ways, I believe that although Peter Jackson says that Legolas is brought back because he lived in the realm at the time, I must sadly admit to myself that he wouldn’t have done such a thing, without including a love-story for him to be a part of.

  23. As a book purist I acknowledge that sometimes a few things need to be changed to make an adaption to film work. But even in light of being a forgiving book purist as a feminist even I thought Tauriel was a step too far and it had nothing to do with gender, they should have taken Legolas out or both of them.
    Legolas barely gets away with being in the Hobbit mostly because he is an already existing character of that world created by Tolkien himself even though from another book. That said, Tauriel would have been far more forgivable if they kept legolas out of the movie altogether, left the potential love triangle out of it, hadn’t named her and just made and kept her a butt whoopin’ female member of the guard, the feminism check box would have been ticked and appreciated by that alone.
    What was both unnesessary, out of place and actually went backwards in terms of promoting a strong female character was the fact that half way through an action adventure movie stank of chic flick and eye lash fluttering. The “thing” for Kili was fine, but that was as much for romance the film needed, the awkward forbidden love moment that made it more complicated than it neeeded to be and temporarily derailed the main point of the story was pure filler. Any other character (preferably one that ties in neater with the book if not actually from the book) could have chased Bolg, seeing as that whole side of the story was purely manufactured anyway.
    So Evangeline lily as Tauriel/ unnamed female butt whoopin’ guard? Yes excelent idea.
    The script they wrote for her making her just another doe-eyed quasi-day-time drama soft spot? Rubbish, absolute rubbish.

    • You took the words right out of my mouth!

  24. I think Tauriel is awesome (and so is Evangeline)! But that didn’t stop me producing this silly little video, which you might also enjoy: http://youtu.be/0Z7oZB7onK4