Peter Jackson Previews ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ with New Video

Published 2 years ago by

Both director James Mangold (The Wolverine) and Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) have become proficient in the use of social media, in order to keep fans invested and talking about their superhero movies. However, their efforts pale in comparison to what Peter Jackson did throughout production on The Hobbit trilogy, where he released 10-15 minute video updates every two to three months.

Those who purchased The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray or DVD Combo Pack (ahead of the extended edition arriving later this year) received a special access code to watch Jackson’s Live Event, where he took questions from viewers, previewed conceptual art and showed behind the scenes footage from the second installment, subtitled The Desolation of Smaug.

Six minutes of that event have been made available to everyone else online, with the “goodies” including questions from celebrities who have a strong connection to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien (personally and professionally) – in addition to artwork depicting the Middle-Earth location known as Mirkwood – and behind the scenes material from The Desolation of Smaug, providing a sneak peek at new characters like Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) and the Elf warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), as well as Orlando Bloom once again wielding arrows as Legolas.

hobbit desolation smaug Peter Jackson Previews The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug with New Video

It’s no secret that I’m among those who felt The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey lived up to the haughty expectations, but there are many others who feel that beginning chapter to Jackson’s new Middle-earth trilogy (and eventual sextet) is the weakest of his Tolkien adaptations so far. One thing the Screen Rant staff and most people in general seem to agree on, is that The Desolation of Smaug will be able to win over many of An Unexpected Journey‘s detractors.

That’s because this second installment diverges into two overlapping story threads, with Gandalf setting off to battle The Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch) while Bilbo and the dwarfs prepare to face the eponymous dragon (also played by Cumberbatch). Between all that, the previously-unglimpsed regions of Middle-earth and badass elf warriors joining the fun, this should be a rousing middle-trilogy chapter (similar to The Two Towers, which some regard as the strongest entry in the Lord of the Rings trilogy).


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters on December 13th, 2013. The Hobbit: There and Back Again completes the trilogy on December 17th, 2014.

Source: Peter Jackson

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. You gotta love Peter Jackson.

  2. They released a DVD comb pack? Cool, are they dwarf type combs or hobbit type? ;)

    But seriously, I would have loved to seen the full version, but at least we get this to wet our appetites a bit. I hope the full version is released somewhat soon, since I don’t plan on getting the Blu Ray until the extended trilogy is released.

    • That’s nonsense, what sort of dwarf combs their hair? ;-)

      P.S. Thanks for the catch, it’s been fixed.

  3. Stephen Colbert’s knowledge of all things Middle Earth is ridiculous. This isn’t a guy who’s read the books a few times and knows what he’s talking about, he’s on another level.
    Can you receive a doctorate on Middle Earth? If so Colbert has earned it. :)

    • It might seem so, but couldn’t he have also gotten someone else to tell him that info?
      In any case, it was a funny question.

      • @ Pyronaunt
        Even Peter Jackson has said Colbert probably knows more about TLotR and Middle Earth than anyone he’s met.

        • Oh, interesting. Then yeah, he really must know a lot.

    • I intensely dislike Colbert’s leftist politics, and as a result, I don’t watch the guy on TV. I heard he was given a small cameo appearance in one of the films, which I hope is cut, else it will kill the escapism and illusion for me, if only momentarily.

      • Wow… way to wear your politics on your sleeve. Bet you didn’t see Argo cus it had that Obama supporting Ben Affleck in it? And you’re probably not going to see World War Z cus it has that Katrina rebuilding puke Brad Pitt in the lead? Get a life dude, go to the movies to have FUN. You’re going to blow out an o ring if you’re not careful.

  4. So pumped for this December!!!

  5. Who thinks the Two Towers is the best of the LOTR series? I think it’s the weakest of the trilogy personally.

    • For me its Return of the King, Fellowship of the Ring and then Two Towers. From favorite to least. Love them all, just saying.

  6. stephan colbert is awesome.

    • Maybe if you’re an uninformed teenager who leans left…

      I’ll say this, if he likes Tolkien, then at least, we have something in common.

      • Seriously, again, calm down! Colbert is an E N T E R T A I N E R… I spelled it out nice and big so you can read it. You don’t have to watch his show so complaining about it is like peeing into the wind, it’s just going to come right back and get ya.

    • Considering it was on April 1, I wouldn’t give it much weight.
      Nice try advertising your web site though :)

  7. Whilst I’m still a little skeptical about the decision to extend ‘The Hobbit’ to three films, if anyone can pull it off it’s Peter Jackson, and since that decision last July and the release of ‘An Unexpected Journey’ in December, I’m starting to see more clearly the potential narrative structure he’s going for, and there is absolutely enough story material between the novel and the appendices for a very fine trilogy indeed, but I hope Peter and his editor are more judicious in their cuts this time; as entertaining and enjoyable as ‘An Unexpected Journey’ undoubtedly was, it’s 169-minute running time was simply indefensible, and both could and indeed SHOULD have been brought in a good 25 minutes shorter that not only didn’t lose any vital plot points or character beats, but would have improved the momentum and overall pace considerably… keep the theatrical cuts tight and nimble, leaving the broader material for the inevitable extended editions.

    Still, there’s a LOT of great material to play with in ‘Desolation of Smaug’ and it’s gonna be one heck of a spectacle, roll on December…

    • Hmmm, I still think they made a mistake extending the Hobbit story from a duology to a trilogy, An Unexpected Journey was originally going to end with the barrels sequence (you can see evidence of this via the fact that Lego has that sequence available right now as a playset in stores), with There And Back Again taking place almost entirely in and around the Lonely Mountain (Lake Town, the encounter with Smaug, and the climactic Battle of Five Armies), and that was that for the story…

      The whole Necromancer subplot (Radagast, the White Coucil, Dul Goldor, et al) has no bearing on Bilbo’s and the dwarves’ quest, as anyone who read the book will know, and if Peter Jackson was insistent on filming it, it should have been left for the extended editions, the prospect of seeing the massive siege of Dul Goldor only on DVD and Blu Ray would no doubt shift millions of copies, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time big sequences were left out of the theatrical cuts (Christopher Lee’s final scenes for shame!), and by including so prominently the Necromancer subplot, Jackson is irrevocably altering the overall tone of the tale from something brisk, bright, and breezy to something altogether more ominous and foreboding… something J.R.R. Tolkien himself refrained from doing when he abandoned a wholesale revision of the novel after he was (rightly) advised that “it just wasn’t The Hobbit anymore”, a mistake that Jackson seems to be making in this adaptation!

      • that’s not necessarily true.

        While it might have no immediate and readily apparent ties to the quest, the quest does owe it’s very creation to the Necromancer plot and helps to tie into and bring the story of, The Hobbit”, onto the larger world of Middle-earth.

        • That was an afterthought by Tolkien in his (ultimately) posthumous 1980 work ‘Unfinished Tales’… the idea that Gandalf initiated the Erebor quest to keep Smaug out of the hands of Sauron was conceived LONG after ‘The Hobbit’ was publshed, and was Tolkien unnecessarily (in my opinion) trying to tie the two works together; unnecessary because they stand by themselves just fine as they are!

          Besides, Jackson and co can’t use that plot device because they don’t have the rights to ‘Unfinished Tales’ so thus why they’re likely having Gandalf discover the Necromancer’s true identity over the course of the trilogy rather than knowing it in advance of the Erebor quest beginning. I’ve no problem with that approach, it certainly makes sense from a dramatic narrative point-of-view, but that approach changes the overall tone of the story and shifts the focus away from Bilbo and the dwarves… and THAT was my point.

          And one last thing to note, Peter Jackson and team didn’t start incorporating the appendices’ material until late into principal photography, meaning for most of the 2011-12 shoot, it was essentially a straight adaptation of the novel they were filming, an approach I wish they had stuck to; ‘The Hobbit’ is NOT a prequel to ‘The Lord of the Rings’… ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a SEQUEL to ‘The Hobbit’, and that’s a big difference!

          • I have to disagree that I was a mere afterthought. The truth is Tolkien wrote the Quest of Erebor (and other background information) in the early 1950′s at the SAME time as LotR and was always intended to be a part of the appendices.

            I know The Hobbit was written first but who’s to say when the idea itself was actually thought of? Tolkien could very well have had plans for ALL of it and their connection to each other rattling around in his brain just waiting to coalesce on paper. I for one am not willing to question such things and accept them for what they are.

            The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey had many failings imho and sorely disappointed me on a number of levels but one thing I thought they got right was the inclusion of the Necromancer’s plot. I still hope we get to see Thrain’s imprisonment and the recovery of the map that started it all as some sort of flashback.

            • On that last paragraph, you and I are in complete agreement; I thought An Unexpected Journey was a (mostly) riotously entertaining movie, but was at least twenty minutes too long, and I sorely wish they had stuck with the original two-film plan… all the Necromancer stuff could have and should have been reserved for the extended edition, the theatrical cuts should be about Bilbo and the dwarves’ quest almost exclusively, just my humble opinion though!

              And I am pretty darn sure you’ll see ALL of that material you mentioned, the first teaser trailer released in December 2011 had snippets of Gandalf fighting with a human-like character in what looks like the ruins of an old fortress of some kind… his encounter with an insane Thrain at Dul Goldor perhaps?

              Either way, I’m still looking forward to the nest two Hobbit films, I may disagree with the trilogy format, but I very well could be proven wrong and Jackson knocks it out of the park (overlong run-times notwithstanding), but in any case, any excursion into Middle Earth directed by Peter Jackson is at the very least great and at most utterly unsurpassed, so it’s a win-win for us audience members either which way… and that’s just fine and dandy in my book!

  8. Successful troll by PJ.^^

    Gotta love those friendly jabs every once in a while.