What we know: Peter Jackson began rolling film on The Hobbit back in April, 2011 and will be adapting this story as a Duology, two films instead of just the one like the book. They’ve had periods of shooting in the studio, a hiatus on filming while post production was being done, and now they are in the midst of Location shooting, with another hiatus and more studio shooting scheduled through June of 2012. The existence of the first Teaser was mentioned by both Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood several weeks ago, and it had its world debut at BNAT13 this past weekend. The mass release of the Teaser has not yet happened, and that is where we pick up our story.
What we think: It is strongly believed that The Hobbit Teaser will appear in the US in front of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (awesome title, btw), opening on December 21. Since this film is out in many European and Asian countries already, it has been hypothesized that the Teaser will appear in front of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows when it opens in those countries. This has not been confirmed, but logically it makes sense because Sherlock is a Warner Bros film, as is The Hobbit. Chances are, after the first few days, The Hobbit Teaser will begin to be dropped in front of a lot of different films, and it will spread like wildfire on the internet. No one need worry that they won’t be able to see it within the first 48-72 hours. I wonder if demand will crash any entertainment websites.
That being said, I plan to see it first in a theater. Why? Indication from reports at BNAT say that this Teaser may well be in 48 fps and 3D, which is probably one reason it will be playing in front of Tintin. Of course, this is dependent on whether or not theaters screening it are even capable of screening at 48 fps yet. If not, then it will still be in 3D in many cases, at the slower rate. Either way, this would be my preferred way of seeing it the first time before I move to my computer to seek it out (and analyze the heck out of it). How do you plan to see it the first time?
Conjecture of what we might see in The Hobbit Teaser: Now this is where things get tricky. The audience at BNAT13 was asked, and for the most part has complied, with keeping the content of The Hobbit Teaser a secret. The vaguest hints imply a beloved sequence from the book being included and it was something you could ‘hear’. Could this be a dialogue line, such as “In a Hole in the Ground there lived a Hobbit”? Or could this be a song, such as “Far over the Misty Mountains Cold”? Another hint mentioned a band of Dwarves singing and it was a thing of beauty. So, my money is on the song, which would be an epic way of opening the Teaser and introducing many of the key players. Other hints indicated this Teaser focused more on ‘character’ and less on the ‘epic’ nature of the story, and that it was like seeing long lost friends.
Since we know they’ve filmed at the Hobbiton location, it is almost guaranteed that we are going to see the Shire and Bag End and meet Gandalf and Bilbo there, and it will feel very much like going home again for all of us. If the Dwarves’ song is in, I’m almost positive that is the way in which they will be introduced on screen, but I can’t help wondering if we get the briefest of flashes of action from this sequence as well. Action flashbacks, to the history of the Lonely Mountain and Smaug’s attack, or action flash forwards with quick scenes of Gollum and Riddles in the Dark, or Beorn or Trolls or any of a dozen other adventures. Of course, I don’t believe we are going to get a look at Smaug this far out, except maybe for an extreme distance shot of him attacking the Lonely Mountain from the perspective of a few Dwarves who’ve escaped the mountain. But I think Smaug will be held in reserve until the first Teaser for the second film comes out next winter.
The other big debate right now is whether or not the Teaser will show sequences from both films or just The Unexpected Journey portion. I agree they will show some epic sequences and give both titles and dates of release, but I think they are still toying with the idea of keeping the breakpoint a secret. No one has yet come out and said “part one will end here”, but if they only show sequences from the first film, it will be much easier to intuit where that break will be. With that in mind, I believe we will see snippets from both films, so that the mystery of where that split occurs may be kept. It’s all just smoke and mirrors in the end, and I predict that there will be cheers and gasps in the audience the first few days that the Hobbit Teaser is available.
Resource: Teasers and Trailers must be rated just as the films they play in front of must be rated. When that happens, they appear on the following website, which implies their impending release into theaters.
One note on this, the Version of the Teaser that played at BNAT was not yet rated, and therefore may be slightly different than what is released if they need to tweak it in order to receive a certain rating. We won’t know until it comes out, and then those who were at BNAT begin to twitter about possible differences. If there is silence from them, then we got the same version, and if there have been changes, I’m sure we’ll hear about that as well.
Once the Teaser is out there, in theaters and online, please come back to TheOneRing.net for analysis and discussion with your fellow fans. I’m sure within the first 24 hours we will have collectively analyzed every last frame of the Teaser and squeed volumes, so come join the fun.