July 26, 2014
There’s no mistaking the fact that director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy adaptation is a true classic and will be a touchtone for many generations to come. He’s recently returned to complete the J.R.R. Tolkein saga with a three-film adaptation of The Hobbit, and while the response from some fans hasn’t been as enthusiastic, the passion for the series remains. At the Comic-Con panel for the final Hobbit installment, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Jackson took the stage earlier today along with screenwriter Philipa Boyens and cast members Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, and Graham McTavish.
Since this is (probably) the last time that Jackson will be presenting a Tolkein adaptation at Comic-Con, this panel was a mix between a look back at the entire LOTR saga and a tease of the new film, complete with the premiere of the first trailer and an excellent appearance by Stephen Colbert as the moderator. Read my full The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Comic-Con panel recap after the jump.
The panel began with a trailer-style celebration of Peter Jackson’s entire Middle-earth saga, with footage from both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films mixed in. Stephen Colbert took the stage in his costume from his Desolation of Smaug to wild applause from the audience and the obligatory “Stephen! Stephen!” chant. He began the panel by reading a speech he prepared that recounted his immense Tolkien fandom and initial skepticism at hearing that his favorite novels were being adapted into a feature film. When he heard that Jackson would be directing, he thought “there’s no room for hysterical, murderous teenage girls in Middle-earth.” However, he eventually found hope “that finally folks wouldn’t roll their eyes when I spoke of Middle-earth.”
Colbert was the perfect person to moderate this panel, as he brought a personal (and highly knowledgeable) touch to the proceedings. At one point, when speaking about his Tolkein trivia contest with screenwriter Boyens, Colbert began reciting an obscure poem that made the crowd erupt in applause.
The first bit of footage that we saw was a collection of outtakes from the entire Tolkein saga that had never been seen before, and it was incredible. Ian McKellen was far and away the standout, churning out gold with wonderful frequency. From trading quips with Jackson when he was having trouble with lines to doing a genuine strip tease in full Gandalf costume, I really hope this shows up on a Blu-ray somewhere down the line. Another highlight was another scene from the original trilogy in which Viggo Mortensen enters a tent to find Hugo Weaving wearing his Agent Smith glasses from The Matrix and addressing him in character.
We were also privy to the first teaser trailer for the film. As a massive fan of the original trilogy who’s found the first two Hobbit entries to be disappointing, I’ll say the teaser for Battle of the Five Armies was actually pretty fantastic. The trailer definitely draws heavily on the fact that Armies will bridge directly to Fellowship of the Ring, and it’s even set to a rendition of “The Steward of Gondor (Mist and Shadow)” performed by Billy Boyd, which sounded like it might be a new recording. When the lights came up, even Jackson was a bit teary.
Visually the tone of the trailer is definitely darker than the previous films, and while I’m still not happy with the entirely CG-characters (aside from the gorgeously designed Smaug), I’ll say that the stakes certainly have been raised and I’m hoping the Hobbit series can end on a high note.
Click here for all of our Comic-Con coverage.
Read more at http://collider.com/the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies-comic-con-panel-recap/#TwYg7wAv6p5iAFYU.99