For those attending Comic-Con, Peter Jackson announced that he will not be sending actors or a sizzle reel to the giant popular culture show this year. However, TheOneRing.net does have a panel to talk about “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” on Thursday, July 18 at 5:30 to 6:30 in room 6A with a seating capacity of around 1,000. We will present our unofficial look at the film and we hope to spring a surprise guest or two at the affair as well. Be warned, there is always a line and never enough seats for TORn’s annual panel so plan ahead with many getting turned away every year. (We will also be selling shirts to keep our website alive financially at the Badali Jewelry booth and the Weta Workshop booth, come see us at both!)
For the rest of the world that doesn’t get to attend the San Diego even anyway, the team behind the scenes on the production presents a brand new production diary complete with what will surely be a new fitness fashion Dwarvercise! It also has some really good looks at the seldom seen storage facilities with the Art Department’s Ra Vincent, a glimpse of Evangeline Lily and Orlando Bloom riding a green creature and plenty of the crew getting the production back into the swing of pick up shooting, currently happening as you read.
Via Ringer The Hutt: a couple of reports have surfaced from the most recent Supanova event in Sydney (held just this weekend) that the world premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug may be bound for Moscow. Seems as though Jed Brophy and Aidan Turner have an idea they could be headed for Russia come December, and indicated as much to fans during one of the signing sessions.
[Aidan Turner] signed my Hobbit book whilst we talked about Wellington not having a premiere and he said that the cast might go to Moscow and another city in Europe.
The Weta World Tour continues in June with Supernova. Starting June 22nd-23rd in Sydney and June 29th-30 in Perth, fans will get a chance to come together to celebrate what they love about the pop culture. The team from Weta will also be making the trip to both places bringing their magical work creating Middle-earth with them. While at their booth make sure you grab one of their Weta Treasure cards, which is good for discounts or prizes via the Weta website. That’s not all! If you happen to be going to either of these locations you will get to meet cast members of both The Hobbitand The Lord of the Rings. So make sure to get your ticket to the show before it sells out!
It was an interesting journey the filmmaker and Hobbit actor Jed Brophy took us on in one hour, we where guided along the stages and rooms of Park Road Post in Miramar, Wellington, to where we finally ended up in Peter Jackson’s’ home away from home the editing room in his traditional bare feet.
Jed was a great host along side Peter Jackson who explained certain things on the way to the editing room, we saw snippets of work in progress, Azog and an Orc in motion capture, some Pre-Viz of Smaug the Dragon, of whom we only saw snippets of in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which is akin to the unfinished Gollum in his first but brief appearance in Fellowship of The Ring, before he was fully realized as a digital character in the Two Towers, he was a mere shadow of himself you could say..
Note:A photo gallery follows the text and videos, click for larger versions.
The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set
NEW ZEALAND — During the world premiere of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” New Zealand wisely took the opportunity to show journalists from around the world (and Australia) a lot of the amazing things its island nation has to offer. TheOneRing.net was part of one of the tours and rather than regurgitate all the footage, photos and writing we gathered at once, exactly when all the other journalism outlets of the world did, we thought it would be great to disperse it and share it over the course of 2013 in the lead up to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
After all, Tourism New Zealand’s motto is “New Zealand is Middle-earth” and this is true in so many ways and for much longer than just the weeks after the debut of the film. For example, above is the video made for TORn by fellow filmmaker Dan McBride who shot and edited the video tour you probably have already watched. We, and a gaggle of other media, toured the Hobbiton Movie Set and witnessed Prime Minister John Key open the new Green Dragon building accompanied by a bunch of actors who reminded us a whole lot of a company of Dwarves. (Incidentally, we had just talked to him the day before so when he showed up again, we wondered why we were being followed and what we had done wrong.)
The video speaks for itself but this remarkable property is, as far as I know, unique in all the world for its ability to transport visitors inside a book, or a movie for that matter. Being there doesn’t feel like walking on a set, rather it feels like immersion. It looks, smells, sounds and feels like one imagines Hobbiton would if you could take a magic wardrobe to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The Hobbit holes scattered about are, more or less, as they were for filming of “The Hobbit,” movies. It seems safe to assume we will see more of The Shire in subsequent movies and in the Extended Edition on home video before the end of the year.
At the Green Dragon
Meanwhile, not far from Auckland, sits this unique and amazing tourism experience. The still functioning sheep and cattle farm where the now-permanent movie set is placed, is owned by the Alexander family, as it was when discovered for “The Lord of the Rings,” films. Their television rugby match interrupted by strangers led to parts of the family farm being among the most beloved locations in fantasy film and literature. Now visitors take tours daily, either by booking directly through the farm or through travel agents, tours or cruise ships. There are several options available, including overnight farm stays, private tours and lunch options. Matamata, as authentic a small New Zealand town as you will find, serves as a gateway to the farm, offering transportation daily and had just opened a visitor’s center when we visited.
Hamilton is also near with more accommodations and an airport. Not far from Auckland, 160 kilometers in fact, visitors can easily manage the two hour car ride. It goes without saying that driving through the countryside is spectacular as well. My dream would be to meet with TheOneRing.net staff and friends in The Green Dragon, which can be reserved for private functions. They serve food and drink and I just bet you can guess what size the ale comes in. Weddings have and will happen here. The atmosphere and the finish on the place are just as good as you hope they are. In truth, for movies fans and Tolkien fans, the entire movie set experience is simply magic.
Waitomo Caves Black Water Rafting
Some tourists will hop off the cruise ship or land in Auckland and make the farm their only stop in the region and in my opinion if you made it all the way to New Zealand and don’t see more of the region you are doing it all wrong. The tour also provided us the opportunity to visit the world famous Waitomo caves. They contain the exceptionally cool glow worms and there are different ways to experience it all, including the black water rafting experience that I couldn’t resist. Hamilton serves as a good gateway to both spots and neither is to be missed. In the gallery below I will drop in a few Waitomo photos but it is an entirely different story to be told and if there is any need to explain the importance of caves to Middle-earth, you might be at the wrong website.
The region is full of food and drink, excellent accommodations and plenty more worth-while excursions. We will tackle them all in a future story. But add the farm visit and Waitomo Caves to your bucket lists. They really are wold-class destinations not to be missed but especially not by Tolkienites.
While you are here, please enjoy other videos from the premiere. First, actors talking about rings:
And Red Carpet highlights.
A map of the New Zealand region with Auckland and Matamata.
A detailed map of where The Hobbit Move Set is located near Matamata.
The door of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
Seems like a good place for a party
An average human male (Dan McBride) stands in front of a small Hobbit door.
The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set
Water at Hobbiton Movie set
They may not like boats but Hobbits have docks.
The visitor’s center in Matamata, New Zealand.
Flower at Hobbiton Movie Set
Actors look on at the opening ceremony of the Green Dragon
Still water, a view of Hobbiton Movie Set
For scale, an average sized adult (MrCere) at a Hobbit door.
A Hobbit window at Hobbiton Movie Set
Flowers and door at Hobbiton Movie Set
The interior of the Green Dragon
At the Green Dragon
By the lake and the mill sits the Green Dragon
The exterior of the Green Dragon
The bar at The Green Dragon
Detail of the carved green dragon in the Green Dragon
Floor plan on the wall of the Green Dragon of the Green Dragon.
Inside the Green Dragon
Door and menu at the Green Dragon
At the Green Dragon
Interior of the Green Dragon
Waitomo Caves black water rafting with glow worms.
Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past week. If you’ve fallen behind on what’s happening on the Message Boards, here’s a great way to catch the highlights. Or if you’re new to TORn and want to enjoy some great conversations, just follow the links to some of our most popular discussions. Watch this space as every weekend we will spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Message Boards. Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join in the fun!
There once was a little hashtag looking for a cause. Over the past eleven days, #VoteBilbo became a lightning rod of attention and excitement among Ringer fans the world over. In the words of another reporter: “it went beyond viral.” A resounding victory was pulled off by the unlikeliest fandom — an unorthodox lovefest — for an unexpected little hero. Here’s the story of how TheOneRing.net galvanized a remarkable fan audience to achieve a sweet victory!
It started when this year’s MTV Movie Awards announced their vote-in contest for the category “Best Hero” — allowing Instagram and Twitter users to employ hashtags like #VoteIronMan or #VoteHulk — and especially of interest to this phenomenon #VoteBilbo. A few days actually went by without us even noticing there was a contest. Over Easter weekend the staff of TheOneRing.net was working to deliver a great presentation before packed crowds (many hundreds in the standing-room-only hall) at WonderCon, happening right on the tail of a very successful April Fool’s Day prank — so no wonder we were looking elsewhere.
TheOneRing.net first brought attention to the contest on April 3rd with this tweet:
We saw that Kristen Stewart’s character Snow White (from that hunky HUNTSMAN movie) had a stunning 13,556 votes, far more than the other nominees… while poor Mr. Baggins was in very last place with only 226 votes. A pathetic showing that would have me old Gaffer shaking his head in shame.
By using Twitter to muster our troops, within a mere 24 hours we saw a mighty surge of thousands of votes — yes THOUSANDS — and it kept going strong from there. We hit the Twitterverse so hard that #VoteBilbo started trending, everyone outside of our community actually picked up on it, K.Stew quickly lost her lead (causing her fanbase to respond), and thus “The Great Battle of the Fandoms” was in full swing.
We realized that TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN fans were supporting their chosen actress, *not* the character she portrayed, a bit of irony not lost on us. The category “Best Hero” did not really mean “Best Actress You’re A Fan Of From Another Franchise Because You Didn’t Really Watch This Movie.” Their rigorous support for the actress rather than the character made the whole contest a bit of a sham, in that context. Rather unfair, in this Ent’s personal opinion, that a true statement of how we regard our heroes was being skewed so badly. Undoubtedly Twi-hards have been a huge segment of MTV’s target audience, and plenty of naysayers told us that we didn’t have a chance to tip the scales. We were glad to have a challenge: a task to show what genuine fan-love of a heroic character really looks like, with numbers not seen since the Muster of Rohan!
The meteoric trending of #VoteBilbo caught everyone’s attention. Warner Bros. Pictures officially supported the effort with this missive from their Twitter account ‘TheHobbitMovie’ on April 5th, which spurred tens of thousands of new votes:
Our burglar, Bilbo Baggins, is nominated for Best Hero atthe 2013 MTV Movie
The other nominees were floundering: Batman and Catwoman were left in the dust of a deserted Gotham City as Bilbo VS. Snow White became a runaway viral showdown. But the numbers were not quite right. Certain fake Twitter accounts (spam-style “bots”) were discovered processing blank-except-for-the-hashtag #VoteSnowWhite tweets, but they were reported and shut down. Our support for Mr. Baggins was quite organic, and the funny thing was that votes were not coming from some hardcore group of Martin Freeman supporters, though they exist, but rather from Tolkien-lovers who really wanted to make a true statement about Bilbo Baggins.
April 6th proved to be a huge day! The media-watch group WHO TRENDED IT? posted this tweet on April 6th, giving TORn proper credit:
Guess what ! #votebilbo trending in the US ? @theoneringnet did it ! Now, that’s badass. Even as a cold hearted robot, I’m impressed.
Within his wonderful vote-tracker page we could see exactly what was going on, relative to the timing of our announcements on TheOneRing.net (and our Facebook timeline and Twitter, of course). When there was doubt our votes were less than stellar, we rallied again!
Stars from the LOTR Film Trilogy and even newer actors from THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY jumped on board! Their timing was perfect — and because these actors are actually paying attention to what fans are saying on Twitter, it felt like a genuine grassroots effort was brewing. We had tweets from Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck) and Dean O’Gorman (the dwarf Fili) on the same day Evangeline Lilly (upcoming new character Tauriel) retweeted our comments — pleased as we were to ultimately learn that retweets counted as full votes!):
More ambitious creative folks within our Ringer ranks started posting videos designed to bring a smile to your face as well as playfully jab at Bella Swan — and MTV reported on it, realizing that the race was getting quite aggressive between the two camps. ‘If you liked it then you shoulda put a Ring on it’ had a whole new meaning with Speigel Ei’s Vimeo clip:
“HOBBIT fans went straight for the gut of Team #VoteSnowWhite,
who have to watch as several of the characters from Middle-earth court
Kristen Stewart to their side over Edward Cullen,” declared the MTV blog, and we realized this was indeed a chance to show our resplendent fandom in a unique way. The fact that we have been in love with Tolkien’s HOBBIT characters for 75 years since the book was first published supported the sky-high numbers of votes.
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VOTES POURED IN DAILY. When the final weekend of the Awards telecast began on April 13th, we broke 1 million votes. K.Stew voters were trying to keep up; sometimes we crossed above or below their high-end total. Fans started to create one-click Twitter vote buttons, and we supplied a host of #VOTEBILBO avatars and funny images to become viral memes. Fans started creating their own images (with familiar LOLcat fonts) and sharing them.
Our lovely lady friends Kili and Fili from our HAPPY HOBBIT video channel did a fun little P.S.A. style announcement asking Ringers to bring their votes to bear! We were really building momentum as a community. There was more spirited fun to be had with this contest than we first suspected!
Did we have crossover from other fantasy fans? You betcha! *wink* GAME OF THRONES featured our very own Sean Bean (Boromir) in the first season and of course it was appropriate for him to support his halfling friend.
We were not just sending empty or meaningless tweets with a hashtag in place — we wanted to make this relevant. In an effort to really bring our feelings and honest passion to the center stage, TORn decided to host a concentrated “Tweet Quest” on Sunday April 14th, the day of the MTV Movie Awards. During a tightly-concentrated 1-hour block, and then another encore 1-hour, we asked Ringers to declare why Bilbo should be named ‘Best Hero.’ So we put forward the call to arms.
Boy oh boy, did they respond with a flood of hobbity lovin’!
Fans declared things that mattered to us, that mattered to readers, and as lovers of Tolkien we could certainly relate: “#VoteBilbo because he was the one person who willingly let the Ring go, when no one else could,” was my personal favorite sentiment. We have an audience that included older-generation folks who had never used Twitter, so we gave quick and easy instructions to help guide our friends toward their goal. We provided everything we could — and most importantly we gave this effort true SPIRIT.
It was a phenomenal success. In the end the final tally was:
Giving our furry-footed reluctant adventurer a lead of well over 100,000 to claim the win! Although MTV broadcast the announcement of the winner as a throw-away commercial bumper for Axe body spray (indeed it was shown offstage, not really part of the “actual ceremony”), and although no cast member from THE HOBBIT film was present to receive the award, we here at TheOneRing.net were entirely thrilled to have succeeded with a kind of social networking wizardry that was fueled by you, dear readers.
Such a long way to go from only 226 votes! Such an outpouring of love!
One of our volunteer staffers, Magpie, had this to say: “It was like a flash mob. We did it for us (Wedefined as the greater Tolkien fan community with TORn functioning a major player in focusing that fan community). It was a community campaign that was an event in itself.”
Staffer Justin who produces our Live webcasts and our weekly show TORn TUESDAY had this to say: “Over 27,000 Bilbo pictures on
Instagram in one week! Take a look at all the comments and tweets we got, there is something for everyone to run with. Thank you all for making #votebilbo happen. I received several messages at the beginning saying I was ‘crazy’ and it was ‘Folly against Twi-hards,’ ‘Who cares about MTV,’ and ‘What’s the point of a stupid teenage online popularity contest?’ But this is why fans love being fans. Achieving something together. To Prove Their Quality.”
And that, my friends, is indeed the feeling I have at the end of the day. That we have stood up with a flag of unity once again. That we have proven our quality of thinking creatively and acting with great energy! It feels like it was months in the making but it happened over such a very short length of time (making it the more surprising).
The love that brings us together is our love of J.R.R. Tolkien and his works are evergreen. No separation of older to younger generations or access to technology can slant that. The truth will out!
Hulk sad. Too bad.
Batman gave up the ghost. Because we are the most.
Iron Man clad in shame. Shoulda played his own game.
Catwoman felt an itchy pox. Put kitty back in her smelly box.
Snow White drifted. Twi-hards were sifted (out).
But #BilbotheHero wins the day! We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Much too hasty,
Follow Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway on Twitter: @quickbeam2000
On today’s very exciting *live* webcast TORn TUESDAY at 5:00pm PDT — all Ringer fandom had their eyes on THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG live preview from this weekend — but if you missed it or saw only part of it, we are going to carefully review and analyze every little nook and cranny of it today! Peter Jackson and Jed Brophy have certainly given us much to talk about! What was that stuff on the walls of Thranduil’s underground kingdom while Bilbo was pushing some sort of barrel-releasing lever? What was that place Radagast and Gandalf were investigating? Why does Bard the Bowman look like a new-fangled Errol Flynn ready to swash a buckle at a moment’s notice? Join your host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway and co-host Justin “I Love Jar-Jar” Sewell on the Live Event page here, which will provide the video playback of our show, broadcast from the heart of Hollywood at Meltdown Comics, and will also let you access our wonderful Barliman’s Chatroom! There you can join hundreds of fans from around the world and bring your questions and comments to the live show! It all starts in about 10 minutes! Huzzah!
Want to relive what you saw this afternoon? Reflecting on some of the moments, and trying to remember what was what? Well, don’t forget that, if you missed the Peter Jackson hosted first look at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, or just want to watch it over again, a modified version will be archived on the Trilogy’s official website www.thehobbit.com/sneak To access the footage, use your UltraViolet code on your copy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.
Meanwhile, staffer Rasputin the Evil Balrog shares with us some commentary on the footage:
Rather comic version of Smaug on a computer screen (psych)
the T-Rex with wings look a bit like Pete’s Dragon
Rivendell library is rather cool looking, even if never used
Jed loves Goldfinger
And then we enter the Editing room with Jabez Olssen
One Million years B.C was the poster over PJ’s bed as a kid
Now to see editing happening
Bard is taking the Dwarves and their barrels across the river, in a boat.
Bilbo – I should never come along, we have a saying in the Shire “never venture east”.
He seems rather miserable
“I should never have left Bagend. We have a saying in the Shire, we learn it from birth, Never Venture East.”
Peter and Jed agree that Aidan is one of the Hot Dwarves (Lisa)
Jed looks very waterlogged
We get the final cut – and it’s Bard saying “So Master Hobbit, why did you venture East?”
Yeah Luke, sends a little message to say hello to the fans. The One Ringer, that’s us!
Jed teases that Bard is out of the film but Peter says that Bard is one of the cool things about the next film
Here come the video questions.
Chris asks about problems with a middle film?
PJ answers – middle films are complicated, but with multiple story lines different character arcs and plot lines take over.
Thranduil on his throne, awesome.
elf troop, with Legolas and Tauriel, fighting orcs
Laketown and the Master looking smarmy, and his manservant looks a bit like Grima.
Stephen Fry says he’s taking over from Orlando as the most desirable man in the films
Stephen sends a video, and mentions that England is decimating NZ in Cricket
Chinese girls ask questions about Legolas and Orlando and why he was cast and whether or not he’s similar to his Elf
Orlando sends a video to ask PJ a question – he wants to know what image he is most excited to see onscreen.
PJ says fans are most excited to see Smaug and Bilbo together and so is he.
Stephen’s video has been running in the background because he’s so wordy, but he says he has no idea if he’s in the last film
Marina in Canada – asks about new characters
PJ answers – Thranduil, Bard (part of the family now), They’ve made Bard like Robin Hood, is he good or bad. And of course, Tauriel is new, a new creation. Yay for her costume, finally getting to really see it.
Tauriel wears a leather
Brazilian kids asking questions, call it LOTR and pronounce it as a word
The kids ask about PJ’s favorite weapons, theirs is Gimli’s and Gloin’s axe.
PJ loves Theoden’s sword, with the horse motifs.
And back to London and Stephen Fry’s video still running
PJ was punishing Stephen about his comments about the NZ Cricket team
Twitter question about how difficult it is to stay on track or schedule
They mention the Flood in Nelson as one thing that messed up shooting
Surprise question with from Stephen Colbert – asks about the Sindar Elves and the Avari elves? PJ says yes about the Elves
So PJ rags on Stephen Colbert about two different sizes of mugs on his show, and how the quality of the printing on the mugs is poor quality
Twitter question – does he edit barefoot? Yes, he can be barefoot.
Lee Pace, woohoo, looking rather fab, as usual. Lee is looking forward to seeing the animosity of Dwarves and Elves in his own halls.
Twitter question – would Jed like to inflict any dwarf torture on PJ?
Jed says maybe, but has to say no because he wants to continue to work with him.
Great story about the Dwarves on the spit, and how Mark Hadlow got sick and asked to take a break and no one heard him. Poor thing
Billy Boyd sends a video question – In FOTR, they went as far as the Misty Mountains, but he knows in The Hobbit they go further East. Billy wants to know about any new Wildlands.
PJ answers about Mirkwood, and shows artwork the darkness and foreboding nature of Mirkwood. Misty and mirky and hard to walk through, to be sure.
Evangeline sends a question – What will Thranduil’s realm be like?
PJ mentions that Green Screens is why she does not know what the realm looks like. The artwork shows a bridge over a raging river to a structure like Rivendell, but inside the forest. The realm looks like Rivendell and Lorien mixed together, but underground.
Dom Monaghan asks a question, he is holding the camera himself.
What is the best PJ rumor you’ve heard that is not true?
What are you happiest about in transferring book to film?
PJ answers about the craziest rumor – people asked him if he was going to move his family to a ship off the coast to avoid paying Taxes. He gets too seasick to do that.
Twitter question – will the Necromancer play a bigger part, and PJ says yes and nothing else.
Here comes a look at the movie, but the Trailer is not ready yet.
PJ says that Gandalf goes to see the tombs of the Witch-king
Gandalf in a cavern, showing a dark doorway that appears to be blown open from within. He then goes inside, and sees a bird flies out of broken stonework, and then sees Radagast. The Nine tombs were broken open from the inside.
The vlogs will be starting up again, even though this is very much like one.
Sequence of action from throughout the film concluding with ‘We are the Dwarves of Erebor, we have come to reclaim our homeland’
Ran for about 55 minutes
Remember, if you missed the Peter Jackson hosted first look at “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” or just want to watch it over again, a modified version will be archived on the Trilogy’s official website www.thehobbit.com/sneak. To access the footage, use your UltraViolet code on your copy “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack or 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.
Also, be sure to stay tuned to TheOneRing.net for a detailed analysis. Coming soon!
This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.