With all the excitement over the teaser trailer for The Battle of Five Armies, we shouldn’t forget that the Warner Bros. presentation on The Hobbit at Comic-Con on Saturday started with a montage of shots from the five films so far released. It lasted a few minutes and mixed together shots from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Almost all of these were very familiar to all of us fans present in Hall H. Two, however, were new. There was a quick shot of a snow-white stag in a forest and another of Thorin with his bow, obviously trying to shoot it.
My first thought was that these shots must be from the forthcoming extended edition of The Desolation of Smaug. I can’t believe that they would have been included in the montage otherwise.
Richard Armitage has mentioned this scene as part of footage that was cut out of the theatrical version and that he wished could be restored in the extended version. In an interview posted in April he said:
There’s a much longer version of Mirkwood that we shot. There’s a really beautiful sequence where Bombur falls into the stream, the enchanted stream. We have to carry him, and then also Thorin and Bilbo see the white stag, which is a sort of manifestation of the Elf King, kind of projecting himself into the forest, and Thorin kind of symbolically tries to kill the stag with his crossbow. I was really disappointed that that couldn’t be in the film, ’cause I think it’s like a little beacon of the relationship between Thorin and the Elf King.
Those who have read The Hobbit may remember this as part of the journey by the thirteen Dwarves and Bilbo through Mirkwood. In the book a dark stag jumps across the enchanted stream and Thorin kills it with his bow–though the deer staggers away in the forest to die, and Bombur’s fall into the stream prevents the group from retrieving the carcass to eat. They also hear the distant sounds of horns and baying hounds–the first hint that the Wood Elves are hunting in the forest.
Immediately after this, they see a white doe and her fawns on the path ahead, and the Dwarves try to shoot them, but magically none of their arrows can find their mark.
Armitage’s description makes it sound as though the scriptwriters simplified this encounter with the stag and other deer. They included only one deer, making the stag white and linking it symbolically to Thranduil. (Just how the filmmakers will convey the idea that Thranduil is “projecting himself into the forest” as the stag remains to be seen!)
Many fans and reviewers have commented that the journey through Mirkwood in The Desolation of Smaug seems too short. Fans have also hoped that they would see the episode of Bombur’s enchanted sleep. It looks like that journey will be filled out and the fans will get their wish!
(Illustration: “Tales of the Hunt,” Pascal Yung, for the “Middle-earth Collectible Card Game.”)