The Dwarves, the Hobbit and the wizard have been out of the frying pan into the fire and now they're heading back into the woods and beyond in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second part of Peter Jackson's second Tolkien trilogy. As the title suggests, and the trailers have teased, this sequel will see our heroes facing off against the dreaded dragon Smaug, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch using similar motion capture techniques to those used to create and animate Gollum.
With fifteen members of the main adventuring party and many others crossing their paths throughout the tale, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is ripe with characters of all different races, and seven of those characters now have their own individual posters. Smaug is not one of them, which is a bit cheeky considering it's his name in the title of the movie.
Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is shown with his sword either half-drawn or half-sheathed, depending on how optimistic you might be feeling; Gandalf (Ian McKellen) is also favoring metal over magic; meanwhile, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and original elf character Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) are both shown wielding Elven weaponry and Legolas' father, Thranduil (Lee Pace) wears the twiggy crown of the Elvenking. The final two characters to be privileged with their own posters are Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans), who lock horns over the matter of what should be done with Smaug.
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There have also been a couple of posters for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes circulating today, one of which was found to be a well-made fake by a fan with Photoshop skills. The other, which cropped up on Latino Review and features an ape carrying an assault rifle on horseback (that's a lot of phobias in one place) against a fiery red backdrop is actually a promo for the online prequel comic Before the Dawn, which bridges the ten year gap between the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the beginning of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The comic is short and worth a read, and this image works nicely as a promo for the film itself.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes continues the tale of Caesar (Andy Serkis) as he leads a small but growing nation of intelligent apes, and must balance his responsibility and loyalty to his people and his family with his desire to establish a connection with a faction of surviving humans led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) and Malcolm (Jason Clarke). This is an interesting change in dynamic, as the apes are no longer slaves or underdogs trying to escape human civilization, but instead are an increasing dominant species that is more or less on equal footing with the humans.
Hobbits, Elves, Men, Dwarves and apes all readying themselves for battle as these two highly-anticipated sequels draw closer and close to release. If only more of Thorin's party had been featured on their very own posters; I never get tired of looking at those facial prosthetics and crazy beards.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters on December 13th, 2013.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens in U.S. theaters on July 18th, 2014.