If, like us, you have been repeatedly watching the new The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer over the last couple of days, you may have noticed something surprising at the end.  In the second screen of credits, right after Tolkien’s name, the screenwriters are credited: ‘Screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson’.  That’s it; unlike in the credits for An Unexpected Journey, Guillermo del Toro is not credited as a screenwriter for this second movie.  (Not in this trailer, at any rate…)

thdos-trailer01-092What this means is anyone’s guess.  We know of course that del Toro worked long and hard on the screenplays for the movies when he was in position as the films’ director.  At that time the plan was for only two movies; it seems hard to imagine, however, that it would be possible to extricate del Toro’s contributions to the scripts to such an extent that it could safely be said that he had NO hand in the screenplay for Desolation of Smaug.  Further, del Toro suggested that he would continue to be a part of the screenwriting even after he had left the movies as director; he wrote on TORn’s messageboards, ‘The writing team of PJ,FW,PB and myself will keep moving the screenplays forward.’ (See his post here.)

Perhaps it is simply that the film makers were only contractually obliged to acknowledge del Toro’s contributions in the credits for one movie; movie studios are sticklers for what’s in the contract!  Perhaps del Toro himself asked only to be credited in the first movie – wishing the role he played to be acknowledged but also perhaps wanting to move forward from the project, having made that very difficult decision to leave Middle-earth behind.   Perhaps, as for An Unexpected Journey, he will be credited at the end of the movie as ‘Project Consultant’.  Perhaps he will again be credited as a writer on the third movie, There and Back Again.  We’ll have to wait and see; meanwhile, it’s just one of those things which make you go, ‘Hmmm….’