Warner Bros. behind-the-scenes efforts mark this as more than merely another panel — despite the fact it’s sharing a slot with Mad Max Fury: Road, Jupiter Ascending and Batman vs Superman.
The enormous, multi-scened wraparound panaorama that muralises the walls of Hall H declares the pre-eminence of The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies in the pecking order.
It’s the panel of the day.
Your host, Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert is the Master of Ceremonies — the hostest with the mostest. And, dressed as a lowly Lake-town peasant — the same outfit as his brief cameo during The Desolation of Smaug — he clearly revels in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be chief organiser for the triumph of the Tolkien geeks.
“Go tell the Master of Lake-town that THE HOBBIT panel is about to begin,” Colbert then whispers to a boy, who runs off to fetch Peter Jackson and his co-panellists.
He jokingly refers to the new film as THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE FOR SIX MOVIES.
He trades jests with Philippa Boyens about who is the better at Tolkien trivia (it seems to be a matter of debate). He asks Elijah why he doesn’t age (Wood rises to the occasion by deftly alluding to the Picture of Dorian Grey).
He rolls a brief showreel of out-takes from all five Peter Jackson Middle-earth films to date that feature some hilarious moments: Agent Smith meets Aragorn; Crebain as spies from Star Wars; CG Azog roasting over the (troll) BBQ; Bilbo falling over during the Riddles sequence only for Gollum to ever-so-politely help him up.
No wonder he’ll be taking the hot seat on The Late Show next year.
Teaser trailer spoilers lurk below!
But more about the panel Q&A and highjinks later. The real star that 7,000 eager fans have come to see is whatever footage that Peter Jackson has in store.
In the end there is only the teaser trailer. No production blog; no extended clips. If there’s something to be drawn from this, it’s perhaps that there is an unrelenting focus this time on dotting the Is and crossing the Ts — there will be no scaffolding; no unfinished effects.
It’s only one minute and 48 seconds long. But what a teaser!
The teaser trailer details
Billy Boyd’s song from The Return of the King, The Edge of Night, sets the emotional timbre and runs underneath the action.
Deep bass notes and sliding logos reveal Smaug sweeping through Lake-town at great speed. The dragon strafes whole rows of houses. breathing hot, bright flame on the street as he goes. A real inferno.
Bilbo narrates sadly from a cell or prison of some sort: “One day I’ll remember everything that happened. The good, the bad. Those who survived, and those who did not.”
Gandalf rides to Dale. We see a number of dwarves in a large chariot, sled or wagon that is being hauled by giant rams across ice. The vehicle is hotly pursued (or surrounded by) wargs.
At Dol Guldur, Gandalf has fallen; a barefooted Galadriel kisses his forehead. Elrond is in the background, while behind him Saruman is also visible.
All the dwarves of the Company are dressed for battle in gear from the armouries of Erebor.
We see an armoured Thranduil in snow-strewn Dale fighting and swinging his sword.
Thorin wears a crown bearing the raven design that Thror wore. Bard steps out of the midst of an Elven army. They immediately part for him. He is clearly in charge of an Elf army, perhaps backed by Thranduil. Bard is a major player in the film. Bearing the sword of his forebear, Girion, Bard asks Thorin: “Will you have peace, or will you have war?”
Thorin, all kitted up, replies resoundingly: “I will have WAR!”
Bilbo is alone in a waiting room of some sort.
Tauriel and Legolas are alone on a mountain, overlooking a ravine. They arrive at the Laketown refugee camp while Lake-town burns.
The final line is from Thorin. He asks all his fellow-dwarves, but perhaps also Bilbo: “Will you follow me, one last time?”
Stay tuned: we’ll have more soon about the rest of the Q&A panel soon!
Edit: we don’t know right now when the teaser will debut on the internet. Warner Bros. has not told us. When we know, you’ll know. (Because it’d be silly of us to hoard that information, right?)
This report is compiled from the reports of TORn staffers: Garfeimao, Mr Cere, Ainu-laire, Quickbeam, Elessar and Mithril, Kristin and RasputintheEvilBalrog who were in Hall H yesterday.