After a very long dinner party and numerous tangles with trolls, goblins, orcs and Gollum, the adventure of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) was finally fully underway by the end of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but it's a long way from being over. Upcoming sequel The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will cover the rest of the adventuring party's journey to the Lonely Mountain, with Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and company running into more threats along the way before finally facing off against the beast with the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch.
To help stretch the 300-page book out into approximately 8 or 9 hours of screen time, the Hobbit trilogy will include details from the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, and Orlando Bloom will also be swinging back to the rescue as Legolas, who apparently gets his own subplot and a possible romance with fellow elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly). The elves are featured prominently in this new TV spot for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, with Elvenking Thranduil (Lee Pace) providing a handy recap of Thorin's quest to reclaim his heritage - and his gold, of course.
In J.R.R. Tolkien's original work, the initial clash of dwarves and elves doesn't go down very well, so it will be interesting to see whether the reworking of the elves' story in The Desolation of Smaug affects this at all. The TV spot also offers some insight into Bilbo's evolving role within the group; the most recent trailer saw the burglar butting heads with Thorin, but being treated rather more warmly by Balin (Ken Stott), and now we hear him spurring the group forward when they're on the edge of giving up. That's why you should always trust Gandalf's recruitment skills.
It's unclear whether the dragon, the spiders, the CGI orcs or the river rapids barrel sequence kicked the price up the most, but the Hobbit movies have already cost twice as much as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This might also have something to do with Jackson choosing to shoot them in 3D at 48 fps - a luxury that really shone during the dwarves' escape from the goblin caves in An Unexpected Journey and is probably going to make Smaug's lair look pretty intimidating on the big screen.
For those who felt that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey dragged a bit, tell us in the comments if you think The Desolation of Smaug is going to be an improvement.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be out in theaters on December 14th, 2013.