Well, the long wait is over. Peter brought 12 and a half minutes of Hobbit goodness to Comic-Con’s Hall H today, and blew everyone’s minds. Reports are that much of what we saw was similar to what was shown at Cinema-Con earlier this year, with a number of interesting changes and two additional minutes of footage.
For this crowd it was all very, very new.
Read on for our detailed report on what was shown! Unless you’re not into SPOILERS in which case, look away now!
Note: Updated again with a few additional details and some corrections!
Wild applause broke out the moment the hall dimmed, as images only seen before online or in magazine articles filled the screens flanking the audience.
Nothing compares to seeing them up on screen. The front door of Bag End, the dwarves gathered around Bilbo’s table, the barrel scene… all this and more.
Followed by a production diary chock full of heart-felt messages from the cast, the crew and scenes from throughout the shoot. Dwarf after dwarf, Martin, Andy, Orlando, and more in quick succession.
When Peter Jackson stepped on stage, the house leapt to its feet with enough energy to propel themselves into the air.
“Who has been camping out on the street all night” he asked. “ You poor sods. You poor bastards. But thank you very much!”
Bringing Phillipa Boyens out on stage, he introduced her as someone who is “possibly a bigger Tolkien geek than any of you.” I don’t know about the Hall H crowd, but the TORn audience is pretty geeky, so I’m guessing it’s a bit of a toss-up.
What we were about to see had a few not-quite-finished touches Peter said, such as partially-finished effects and temporary music tracks. An update for film score fans: Howard Shore begins recording with the London Philharmonic in the next few weeks.
Also, a Comic-Con extra: never-seen second film footage that made its way into the clips. “But we won’t identify them,” Peter said cheekily.
Then, without any fanfare, the lights dimmed and ‘The Hobbit’ lit up the screen.
The Hobbit showreel:
It opens with a sweeping shot of the green hills of the Shire, with a voiceover from Gandalf intoning “Far to the east lies…” Setting the scene of where they are going -– which is Bag End and the dwarves gathered around Bilbo’s table talking about the quest.
An imposing and grim Thorin Oakenshield heads the table: “Rumors have begun to spread,” he says, “The dragon Smaug has not been seen in many years… Perhaps the vast wealth of our people lies unprotected … perhaps it is time to take back Erebor!”
Gandalf produces the key “It was given to me by your father for safekeeping, it is yours now.”
Fili: “if there’s a key there must be a door!”
This leads in to a discussion of the map and what must be done to go after the long-lost treasure. Gandalf looks to Bilbo… “That is why we need a burglar.”
Martin Freeman is wonderful in this scene, playing a hobbit who is as yet oblivious of what is being designed for him. Even as Gandalf professes the need for a burglar, he agrees but doesn’t quite realize that what Gandalf means is HIM.
“He’s hardly burglar material” the dwarves observe as they regard him skeptically. Which Bilbo happily agrees with. Gandalf then rises to full height and in a deep voice, (much like in Fellowship of the Ring when he says commandingly: “I’m not trying to hurt you, I’m trying to help you”) he warns the dwarves that a burglar he isn’t, but a burglar he will be.
Because, he says, Smaug is well aware of the scent of dwarf. A Hobbit will be wholly unknown to him. Bilbo looks appropriately horrified.
Thorin and the others are extremely skeptical: “Very well, we’ll do it your way.”
As we saw in the trailer last fall, Thorin says: “I cannot guarantee his safety, nor will I be responsible for his fate.”
“Agreed,” replies Gandalf.
The reading of the contract is hilarious, as Bilbo goes over the terms and the various dwarves jump to reassure him that it will be painless once he’s turned ash. James Nesbitt, as Bofur, is superbly funny.
Then Bilbo faints. Thunk.
A series of quick shots of Radagast follow
Radagast is full-bearded, rough-looking, with a big hat… which we later see conceals a number of birds. He’s cuddling
his bunnies a hedgehog, and later on we see him racing through the forest on the infamous “bunnysled”.
There’s a quick look at Laketown, which looks amazing. Large boats, almost like pontoons, navigating their way through a warren of canals. We also see the Master of Laketown, played by Stephen Fry.
A brief moment of Gandalf speaking to Radagast: “Turn around and do not come back.”
Radagast responds, “what if it’s a trap?”
Gandalf replies, “It is undoubtedly a trap.”
Radagast does come across as very gentle, as we heard out of Cinema-Con reports.
We follow Gandalf into what could only be Dol Guldur. Looking terrified, he races through narrow passages, as we see glimpses of something ominous racing around either away or following him. Very tight quarters, then suddenly a person we assume to be Thrain leaps out and attacks him.
The riddle game…
Cut away to Bilbo and Gollum meeting in the goblin caves. Bilbo is clumsily waving Sting at Gollum, trying to get him to go away.
“I need to get un-lost a soon as possible.” Bilbo tells Gollum. “I don’t know what your game is.”
“GAMES, WE LOVES GAMES, DON’T WE PRECIOUS!?” Says Gollum, who is quickly slipping between Smeagol and his alter ego.
Bilbo, frightened but up for a small shot at escape, “ Let’s play a game. If I win you show me the way out of here.”
It then segues into the riddle game and after into an expanded look at the scene which caused much speculation when the first trailer was released.
Gandalf and Galadriel come together, with Galadriel saying: “Mithrandir, why the halfling?”
Gandalf responds: “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That’s because I am afraid and it gives me courage.”
Gandalf and Galadriel are holding hands but not in a way that is romantic, but more in the sense of a lifetime of friendship and shared experiences. There is longing, but there is sadness. I cannot say that it is “love” in the way most people think of it.
“Do not be afraid, Mithrandir, you are not alone,” then in Elvish, with English subtitles. “If you ever need aid, I will come.” And after a long look, she draws away from him, leaving him standing alone, and… slightly lost.
Cut to Bilbo picking up the ring
Then we hear Gandalf say, “You’ve changed, Bilbo Baggins…”
Bilbo replies “I found something in the cave”
Gandalf raises his eyebrow and asks, “What did you find?”
Bilbo hesitates and fingers his vest pocket and then drops his hand and says: “My courage”.
Gandalf replies, “Your courage? Good, you’ll need it”.
It’s the first instance of Bilbo’s reluctance to tell the truth about the Ring.
The action shot sequence
And heeeeerrrre we go — a wild ride of action shots.
TROLLS GIANTS. Ugly, mean, wild and vicious trolls stone giants. Have you seen the pics from Comic-Con? Absolutely nothing like seeing them in action. Not the bumbling stupid trolls one kind of expects after reading the Hobbit.
Radagast, racing through the forest on his bunnysled. Yes, a bunnysled. A sled, pulled by surprisingly strong bunnies.
Tauriel, barely shown in these clips, although Philippa speaks highly of her in the Q&A which follows. What we do see is a female, dressed in-brown version of Legolas (description courtesy of Quickbeam), in combat with goblins. Legolas springs out of… leaves? …and joins in the fighting.
Legolas races from the action and comes face-to-face with the party of dwarves, who come to a shocked standstill. “I won’t hesitate to kill you, dwarf,” says everyone’s favorite elf. Warning: We are slightly guessing on the exact quote, due to excessive audience screaming.
More trolls… and then Gandalf is seen standing on a hillside, stabbing his staff into the ground with a blast of morning sunlight.
More to come from the Q&A soon!