Warner Bros. focused much of its summer publicity on their risky Superman reboot, Man of Steel. Now, however, it's time to turn to Warner's other big franchise release of 2013: the middle part of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
The film's initial trailer teased our first good look at the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), as he'll apparently come face to face with our little hero, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). Since the trailer's release, we've had a smattering of behind the scenes looks - along with the disappointing news that there would be no Comic-Con 2013 panel for the film.
Now, we finally have a new trailer for the second part of Bilbo's journey as he joins the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his band of Dwarves as they continue their quest to reclaim their home (and gold) from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
Check out new banners for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in the gallery below:
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Having escaped the Goblin King's kingdom beneath the Misty Mountains and survived their encounter with the Defiler (a.k.a. The White Orc), Bilbo and company encounter the Elves of Mirkwood. There they meet King Thandruil (Lee Pace), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and the warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly).
As they make their way toward the blasted lands surrounding the Lonely Mountain - which suffered Smaug's desolation - Gandalf leaves the company and attempts to learn more about the disturbing, mysterious Necromancer of Dol Guldur, whose presence is thought to be connected to the dark forces (like Sauron), which were supposedly banished from Middle Earth eons ago.
While Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was mostly faithful to J.R.R. Tolkien's books, The Hobbit trilogy features distinct expansions on the original novel, which is actually pretty short. It's clear that Jackson is attempting to use The Hobbit as not just a prequel, but a way to explore the unknown history of Middle Earth and just how the evil of Smaug signaled the coming of a much darker enemy.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released on December 13th, 2013.