As the live feed of the ‘Desolation of Smaug’ Fan Event ended, those of us who were lucky enough to be in a theater were treated to five extended scenes from the upcoming movie that totalled approximately 20 minutes of never-before-seen footage. And what we saw was truly spellbinding!
The theater-exclusive material began with a full music video for the new closing credits song, ‘I See Fire’. It was quite a good song, but it doesn’t quite capture the magic of, say, ‘May It Be’ or ‘Into the West’, but few songs can. It’s a folk/pop ballad about Thorin’s determination to win back Erebor at any cost.
It even uses the “sexy line” Richard Armitage talked about: [highlight the empty space to read a potential spoiler] “If this ends in fire, then we shall burn together.” It’s a very good song, and a welcome addition to the pantheon of music from Middle-earth, but I can’t say it blew me away. But that’s just one fan’s opinion. Judge for yourself when the soundtrack is released.
After the song, Peter Jackson appeared again to introduce the reel of new footage. While we weren’t allowed to record what we saw, there is nothing stopping us from talking about what we saw. So, here is a detailed description of the five scenes.
Be warned, what follows over the next three pages is rife with spoilers. Most of what we saw were scenes that don’t exist in the book, and some fan speculation about how certain things will be adapted can definitively be put to rest. So if you are avoiding movie spoilers, stop right here!
This is your final warning. What you are about to read WILL SPOIL YOU!
Still there? Okay. Let’s begin.
Bilbo and the Spiders of Mirkwood
We begin with Bilbo climbing a tree, clearly exhausting himself and struggling to keep going. Finally, he emerges from the tree canopy of Mirkwood to behold a vast landscape. The relief on his face is palpable.
This is where we see that lovely shot from the trailers of Bilbo smiling as colorful butterflies swirl around him. He identifies a lake and a river, and then he sees it: The Lonely Mountain. They are much closer than they thought, and Bilbo excitedly tells the party that he can see the way to it.
But there is no response from below. He calls down a few more times, but the Company does not reply. It is then that the spider theme from the AUJ soundtrack starts up as Bilbo sees something moving through the forest toward him, rustling through the trees. He begins to climb back down the tree, but loses his footing, and quickly finds himself caught in a spider web. He comes face-to-face with a giant spider, and it begins to quickly and furiously wrap him up with webbing.
Smash cut to: Bilbo is now completely wrapped in spider web, and is being dragged along the forest floor. As the spider dragging him turns to inspect its catch, Sting suddenly slices through the web and stabs it in the eye.
[Demosthenes: I thought it was the thorax, as Bilbo stabbed it from below. Sting slices straight through the webbing like a hot knife through butter.]
Bilbo is quick to cut himself free and escape. He then sees that the rest of his Dwarven companions have been captured. One can only be identified by his nose sticking out of the web. If I had to venture a guess, this could be Bofur, but it’s quite hard to tell by just a nose.
Bilbo ducks behind a tree as more spiders begin to climb all around him. He slowly and carefully puts on the Ring, and finds himself in the shadowy netherworld of Sauron. But more than just the world changing around him, Bilbo can now hear the spiders talking! This was a big reveal, as most fans could only speculate as to whether or not the spiders would actually speak in this. We can now confirm that they most definitely will!
[Demosthenes: I was surprised by this too, and I immediately thought how this was a clever (if non-canonical) way to resolve the issue of talking spiders in The Hobbit, since Shelob never has dialogue in the Lord of the Rings. Some of the spider dialogue seems to be straight from Tolkien, talking about a “feast” and describing one of the dwarves (Bombur?) as “fat and juicy”.]
With his courage bolstered either by the fact that he’s invisible or by the tempting power of the Ring, Bilbo quickly sets to attacking a spider. He hacks at it, cutting off mandibles and antennae. The confused spider finally cries out “Where are you?!” Bilbo replies by removing the Ring, revealing himself to be right in front of the spider and declaring “Right here!” He then gives the death blow to it.
As Bilbo stands over the dead spider, he looks at his Elven blade and says “Sting. That’s a good name for you.”