Orlando Bloom Talks the Return of Legolas in ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

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hobbit desolation smaug legolas orlando bloom Orlando Bloom Talks the Return of Legolas in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

This year’s second installment in the sprawling three-part movie adaptation of J. R.R. Tolkien’s beloved The Hobbit novel, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will introduce many a new face to Peter Jackson’s cinematic version of Middle-earth (as teased in the full-length theatrical trailer), in addition to one familiar (and well-chiseled) mug: the Elfish bowman Legolas, with Lords of the Rings trilogy alum Orlando Bloom reprising in the role.

A handful of reporters and news sites were invited to the Hobbit set back in 2012 (when filming was still ongoing), but have just now been allowed to publish the interviews from their visit that correspond with The Desolation of Smaug. As such, we can now offer some insight, with regard to how Bloom’s performance as the stoic elf warrior with flowing blonde locks will differ (or, rather, not differ) from his turn in the Rings movies – in addition to information about why the character has been included in The Hobbit films – straight from the lion’s (read: Bloom’s) mouth.

Legolas wasn’t included in Tolkien’s Hobbit source material; though, the author’s Rings trilogy appendices and complimentary literature about the history of Middle-earth – parts of which have been integrated into the Hobbit movie storyline by Jackson and co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens – reveal that Legolas was around well before Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf companions set out to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Moreover, the first Hobbit installment laid the groundwork for Legolas’ return in the followup, with a brief appearance by his father, King Thranduil (Lee Pace) in the prologue.

hobbit desolation smaug king thranduil Orlando Bloom Talks the Return of Legolas in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Lee Pace as King Thranduil in ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

When asked if Legolas is significantly different in The Desolation of Smaug versus during the Rings trilogy (in terms of his personality and character), Bloom answered “No,” before he went into more depth about how the film portrays his fellow Woodlad Realm Elves – in addition to, the relationship between Legolas and his father.

To quote the actor (via Collider):

“Essentially the Woodland Realm Elves, which is where Legolas is from, and my father being Thranduil, the king of those Elves, are a particular type of Elf as described by Tolkien to be… I’m not going to quote him correctly, but they are different from the Lothlorien and the Rivendell elves. They’re more militant if you like.

“… This is an introduction into the Woodland Realm Elves. Obviously we meet my father, Thranduil, who is a very powerful and strong character who is very particular in his vision of who the Elves are, who the Woodland Elves are, specifically. They are kind of, like I said, a militant group, the Woodland Realm Elves. So I think that the opportunity that Pete and Philippa and Fran and the writers and Pete saw was to create– I think there was a desire for Legolas to come back. They felt that the fans would appreciate seeing Legolas in the Woodland Realm, and there was an opportunity to create a father-son, a prince versus king dynamic that would be interesting and serve the story.”

Bloom also spoke about the concern that Legolas’ inclusion in The Hobbit trilogy would feel a bit too much like fan service and/or an unnecessary attempt to strengthen the ties between those films and the Rings movies. When asked if he was hesitant about reprising as Legolas in The Desolation of Smaug (in addition to the third installment, There and Back Again) for that reason, Bloom replied:

“Not after I had spoken to Peter. Their ideas, which I have explained, were made to clear to me about how it could be made seamless and effective. Not after I’d had that conversation. It was definitely something that anyone would think. There’s a big love for these books and these films and these stories. I think in the hands of Peter, the fans, I would hope, would feel rest assured that he will deliver a movie that will both entertain and enjoy and will be in keeping with Tolkien’s vision of the stories. They never stray at all from Tolkien’s vision of what the world is, and for me it was exciting to think of returning to Middle Earth and to be a part of something. This is Pete in his element, doing what he does best. So it was just very exciting.”

Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Orlando Bloom Talks the Return of Legolas in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Legolas-Thranduil relationship in The Desolation of Smaug could serve as an interesting foil to the overarching character arc for Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage); who, judging by the previews for the second Hobbit film, becomes increasingly obsessed with recovering Erebor from Smaug and making amends for his own kingly father’s mistakes so many years earlier. That is, to the point where Thorin is willing to sacrifice the lives of those around him, including his newfound brother-in-arms, Bilbo (after the events in An Unexpected Journey).

Indeed, judging by Bloom’s comments about Legolas’ attitude towards dwarfs in The Hobbit films (i.e. decades before he struck up a bromance with Gimli), the behavior of Thorin and his company only feeds into the Woodland Elf’s prejudices against them – but does that give rise to some mean-spirited dwarf tossing?

Jokes aside, here are Bloom’s more serious thoughts on that subject:

“There’s some fun other dwarf moments coming up. I don’t want to give too much away, but there will be some fun interaction. It is different though, because as it was pointed out earlier, the relationship– The friendship that grew out of the relationship between Legolas and Gimli grew over a three movie period. I’m more seeing the dwarves as I would have seen them prior to going in to the Council of Elrond, which is full of disdain for what I, fundamentally as an Elf, believe their purpose is in life. There’s not the same sort of thing, but there’s definitely some jibes and moments that are good.”

For much more from Bloom about returning as Legolas – including, how the process of shooting The Hobbit differed from and/or resembled the filming process on Lord of the Rings – check out the full interview with the actor over at Collider.

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will open in theaters on December 14th, 2013, before the trilogy concludes with The Hobbit: There and Back Again arriving in theaters on December 17th, 2014.

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  1. Sweet. Legolas was always a standout character for me and hopefully this will flesh him out a bit in terms of personality and character since in LOTR he was mainly just an unstoppable killing machine filling sh*t with arrows.

  2. Kinda feel sorry for poor ole Orlando Bloom.

    His career really didn’t go very far after the first LOTR trilogy.

    Now he’s back to playing the witless Legolas.

    At least he has Peter Jackson to rely on for work.

    But that’s because Peter Jackson’s career, for the large part, has been provided for by JRR Tolkien.

    I’m curious why “The Hobbit” purists aren’t questioning why Jackson is inserting a character that was NEVER in Tolkien’s book.

    • A lot of THE HOBBIT was very broad and vague, in terms of who was around and participating in various events. Legolas, in LOTR, is old enough that he very likely WAS involved in these earlier happenings.

      Any “purists” should know and remember that…unless their purity is of the fecal variety.

    • Not a fan of his by any measure, but dude, he was the straight hero of a Disney blockbuster trilogy (everyone knows Depp was the star obviously but that’s different). He’s not had a bad career at all, all things considered.

    • He is currently on broadway…

      If that’s acting career over to you I dread to think what makes success.

    • I absolutely question a lot of the things that Jackson is doing with these Hobbit films. However, Legolas’ presence is he least of the problems, from my perspective. What I am annoyed by is that Jackson and company are turning the Hobbit into another Lord of the Rings-styled epic, when it is really not that type of story. Appendices-schmendices, I’m talking about the spirit of the book. But oh well…

      I have hope that this second film will be far, far better than the first one was, again from my perspective. Thranduil and Tauriel look cool, and Legolas is fine by me.

      • The “spirit of the book” differed substantially from LOTR? Really? Have you actually read them? Both involve long treks in which lives are constantly placed in jeopardy, and wars ensue between multiple factions. By my thinking, then, they are quite similar in spirit and tone.

    • I don’t agree with you there. Orlando Bloom’s career did go well! LOTR was his first Movie!(except from small roles in series during school-time) how awesome start of his acting Life isn’t that working with Peter Jackson?? He then continued with a lead star role in the trioligy Pirates of the Caribbean, working close with one of the most famous actors Mr Depp himself.
      After that time, Orlando said himself that he wanted to go back to smaller Movies to get more experience since he had only been working on big production Movies.

      These Movies can be listed as; “Ned Kelly”- (working with deceased Heath Ledger)
      “The calcium kid”- (a brittish comidy), “Haven”- (a tropical “crash”-Movie)

      I just want to make it said that I dont agree with you that Orlando’s career whent downhill. His acting career has been WIDE during these ten years. Just take a look at his acting list. An good actor in my opinion should be able to play many diffrent kinds of roles. They should be a chamelion, and not only play the same roles all over again with diffrent titles, (Im sorry Steven Seagal! I said it!)
      That I Think Orlando do!

      For example: He has done Movies as: Young and naive Prince (Troja) A Knight (Kingdom of heaven- lead role btw!) A police officer (Main Street) A drug addict rocker (Sympathy for Delicious) a doctor (The good doctor wich he PRODUCED) A military (Black Hawk down)

      THAT IS a big actor that is not afraid to take on many diffrent roles! A very wide list, and there is much more http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0089217/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

      I have all of Orlando Blooms films and always waiting for the next one because he is a great actor. My latest tip on his preformens can be seen in the “Three musketeers” where he does his first “bad guy” role. Even if the Movie is so so, he is awesome in it!
      And now he is back where it all started…Legolas. I know we can expect much from Orlando in these films. Legolas will be great again, once more on the BIG screen!

    • @Kryptonic, elves live for long periods of time, and so in The LOTR trilogy, Legolas would be over 60 years old. (The Hobbit is set approximately 60 ears before LOTR). This means that Legolas would have been alive during the Quest for Erebor. Just because he was not named doesn’t mean he wasn’t there. And he could have been one of the guards or another part in The Hobbit book, but Tolkien couldn’t fit his name into the story. SO, really, Jackson isn’t INSERTING a character, moreover showing audiences how long elves live.

  3. Looking back at the trailer, I think Thorin is starting to show signs of Dragon Sickness. Hence why he has become colder to Bilbo, despite what happened during the first movie

  4. Orlando Bloom talks about Legolas’ return:

    “Well, we want girls to go to this movie, soooooo….”

    • @Tronia, I would have gone anyway. The Hobbit is one of my favourite books.

  5. The Hobbits are going to Isengard! to Isengard! to Isengard! The Hobbits, the Hobbits, the Hobbits, the Hobbits…

    • Yeah, this is why I clicked on the article. Love that video (the Bloom response I mean).

  6. Well, all I hope for at this point is a scene with Legolas and Gloin: he was one of the less highlighted dwarves in An Unexpected Journey in terms of screentime and dialogue, so I doubt there’s going to be a more suitable chance for him to be in the spotlight than a Legolas-meets-Gimli’s-dad moment.

  7. I liked Kingdom of Heaven, it started slow but that ending… epic! I see no problem adding Legolas, it seems to make sense. He might be an enemy at first then see the light and help Thorin.

  8. LOTR was just brilliant film making. I think being forced into squeezing more story the alloted timeframe is where Jackson’s true genius shone.

    When he made King Kong and tried to force a 50 minute original into three hours much of the great style was there but the film itself was tedious and boring.

    The Hobbit is more like Jackson’s King Kong attempt. I was bored senseless for a large part of the first installment and though I will see the next two movies I have little to no sense of anticipation as I did over the Lord of the Rings.

    I have no idea why Jackson did not make three two hour movies instead rather than forcing it.

    As Bilbo might say, it feels like butter scrapped over too much toast.

    • All of that is my way of saying they did not need to squeeze Legolas into the story.

      • I don’t understand. You’re complaining about the Hobbit movies having too little content spread over too long a running time, but you’re also complaining about them shoving more content into the narrative to fill that running time.

        I get what you mean when you say they “shouldn’t have done that”, but they have. So in the context of an irreversible narrative and marketing choice, upon which your personal opinion can have no effect at this point in time, I still think the inclusion of Legolas is a welcome addition.

  9. They can claim anything they want but we know Legolas is a part of it only because they wanted it to happen. Gotta stop trying to make it sound all logical and proper. He should not play a part in “saving” the Hobbits as the clips would have us believe.

    About the only place we would logically see him is as a major player in the battle of 5 armies.

    I am truly disappointed at how much Jackson felt justified in deviating/change from the main story (and I’m not talking about the inclusion of the council and discovering of the Necromancer/Sauron…..that WAS a part of what was going on)

  10. My replay was to mr: “Kryptonic”

  11. In all honesty, I love that they added Legolas to this. Legolas is the prime reason to why I wish to watch this upcoming movie, as I have always adored his character, and am curious about the father/son relation that PJ wanted to bring. At first I had no desire at all to see this movie once I found out about the supposed ‘love interest’ that Tauriel was for Legolas, and I grew annoyed that he would even consider adding such a thing. Now that I know he wasn’t brought back for the sole purpose of Tauriel, or vice versa, I am happy to continue on loving the film series. At least, I HOPE that what I’m saying is what it really is.