Charlie Jane Anders
July 26, 2014
The illustrious Stephen Colbert moderated the Hobbit panel at Comic-Con, and not surprisingly the emphasis was on crazy zany fun. We saw the first teaser trailer from the third Hobbit movie, in which everybody is in mourning and huge melees are in the offing. Plus we saw a hilarious gag reel.
We watched the teaser trailer for Battle of Five Armies. And the overall impression is of everything crashing down, with huge forces colliding and hundreds of archers preparing to shoot arrows, and a rickety cart nearly falling apart as it’s chased and the collides with scary wolves.
The teaser starts with Bilbo in a cell, and his sad voiceover says “One day I’ll remember, remember everything that happened. The good, the bad. Those who survived… and those who did not.” We see Gandalf riding his horse like hell through a town square and Tauriel looking weepy. There are people running down a stone staircase in the middle of grandeur, and tons of figures in golden armor.
The dwarves are hoisting a broken statue of a helmeted figure, and a barefoot Galadriel is kissing a prone Gandalf on the forehead. “Will you have peace or war?” Thorin is asked, “I will have war,” he responds. And we see the Eye of Sauron. And everybody looks super sad, in a series of closeups of weepy characters, as Thorin asks if they will follow him one last time.
Colbert came out in in his costume as the Master of Laketown, from his movie cameo… and he introduced a medley of footage which started with an extended Laketown sequence, where Colbert signals — and then Peter Jackson himself comes out of a barrel with a pipe, making silly owl noises. Somehow this leads to Aragorn, from the Rings movies, getting a visit from… Agent Smith from The Matrix. (Digitally spliced in.)
This led to a medley of crazy jokey footage, including Gandalf making Star Wars jokes and a scene where Samwise Gamgee is trying to get himself a close-up because he’s only been in group shots thus far — but Gandalf shoves him out of frame and hogs the close-up. And then a sequence Gandalf lifts his robe to reveal sexy white underwear and does a sexy dance. (This is as amazing as it sounds.)
Also in the gag reel we saw: Hobbits dancing in sacks, Sylvester McCoy and Ian McKellen goofing around, and Ian McKellen screwing up his lines and bantering with Peter Jackson in various movies. And Gandalf finding some crappy swords lying around and saying, “What fucking good is this? Typical elf work.” And Gandalf intoning: “Orcs… and so far from Auckland.” (He makes it sound like Orc-land.)
Christopher Lee falls off a tower to his death, impaled on a spike, and looks up at the camera and observes that he’s been here before. This happened to him 27 years ago — but that time, he looked up from being impaled and saw Peter Cushing. And now he’s looking up and seeing Peter Jackson. About which he has “no comment.”
During the panel Q&A, co-writer Philippa Boyens says she’s still sad they didn’t include “the old forest and Tom Bombadil” in the Rings trilogy. “Pete [Jackson] had some very funny ideas [for Tom] including seeing his head, when we were on the road. But that will have to be for another generation of film-makers, I suspect.”
She also says they had a casting wishlist for Rings, and “on that list was a young Australian actress for Galadriel called Cate Blanchett.” Cate pretends to misunderstand and asked if she was in line for Tom Bombadil?
Benedict Cumberbatch is asked the difference between his two characters in the film, Sauron and Dragon. “One’s a dragon, and one’s an all-seeing non-corporeal entity of evil.” Then he sort of pretends that’s his whole answer, before expanding: “One’s real, one’s made of something that’s vulnerable and one seems to be made out of everything tha’ts evil, and difficult to pin down and kill.”
Graham McTavis says the entire journey of The Hobbit is “seeking a female dwarf. And boy, it takes a lot of time.”
Blanchett said she was in a high school production of The Hobbit, in which she played the bard. And she said she’s got “disco heels” on under her gown, so she doesn’t get to fight as much in the movie as she did in the stage play, but she loses her shit this movie, said Jackson and Blanchett. And she gets to kick Sauron’s ass.
Evangeline Lilly says her character is a “low-class, trashy elf,” but “my shit still sparkles.” And that’s why she got the role — they noted on the casting sheet that Lilly’s shit was properly sparkly.
Asked about her kiss with Gandalf in this new trailer, Cate Blanchett responds:
It’s an ancient love story, that was actually born the first time around. I adore Ian, and I hardly got to do anything with him at all… Galdriel’s just a footnote in the Hobbit, really, to have such a full story [in the film] is wonderful.
And she explains that elves don’t wear underwear — so in the film, she didn’t either.
There were also a lot of jokes about wolves and their sharp penises, and innuendo about Legolas and the Bard doing archery together, with their long stiff arrows. And a lady with a smock covered with buttons gets Cumberbatch to say “button lady” in a dragon voice, which he did with a deep rumble.
And Jackson and Boyens address the fact that they added a lot more Gandalf and elves to these movies than what’s in the book:
“When Tolkien wrote the hobbit in 1937, it was just written as a book that he wrote, in the absence of any other Middle Earth mateiral at that stage, but of course the Hobbit movie is different,” says Jackson. “We come at it from a different direction than Tolkien did,’ because this comes after the Rings trilogy for us, and we see the wider context. “I’ve always wanted to make [these movies] work as a six-film set. The goal at the beginning was to have the Hobbit go tonally [into] Fellowship, and then [progresses] into Return of the King.”
“When you get to Fellowship, and Legolas says he fell, your reaction to that is going to have a whole new meaning when you see what they went through” in Dol Guldur, in the Hobbit films, says Boyens.
Jackson hints that there’s still some footage from the Lord of the Rings that you haven’t seen yet, including “an Arwen and Aragron scene when they were younger, when they first met. Viggo looked like he was 12 years old… there were a few scenes. We might try to put them back in. It’s not without its issues.” The actual filmstock of those films is sitting in a vault in Arizona somewhere, and they’d have to go retrieve it — which nobody has gotten their heads around yet.