At last! We finally have some video and photos to drool over from the final Hobbit film, The Battle of the Five Armies. In this post I attempt to do a little more than just hyperventilate from excitement and instead provide my thoughts and speculation on the trailer frame-by frame. So if you're undaunted by long posts and over 60 pictures highlighting weird rocks and fabric then hit the jump.
Warning: Spoilers Lie Ahead
Before we begin the analysis here's the trailer (so you can watch it again for the gazillionth time :-) ).
The teaser trailer starts off with the obligatory studio logos and trademarks. I like what they've done with them. The texturing and 3D effect really grabs your attention. (See #2 & 3)
This appears to be Bilbo sitting in Erebor. Notice the green/marble walls, dwarven lamps, geometric/angular architecture, and lighting. In the video it almost looks as if he's breathing heavily. Could this be right after an intense encounter with Thorin? Could it be after their last meal before battle? That table under the light almost looks like a dining room table with leftover food/dishes, or could it be the coffins/bodies of Fili, Kili, and Thorin?
At first I thought it was a table used for a meal, but after looking at it some more I think it is actually the burial chamber of Thorin and his nephews. Notice the lighting that's very similar to that seen in Balin's tomb in FotR and the fresh flowers(?) on top of the table/coffin(s).
Bilbo: "One day I'll remember..."
At this point Bilbo begins a voice-over that continues over several clips. It looks like he will deliver the line in Erebor, but to who? My guess would be Balin, Bofur, or Bombur. Could he be justifying his actions (taking the Arkenstone) to one of the members of the company?
"...remember everything that happened...
Tauriel is obviously standing in Dale. It also looks like there's a fierce struggle going on behind her between Laketown men and (probably) orcs. This could be a skirmish that takes place before the battle, but I think it's more likely that the Battle of Five Armies will be fought all around the mountain including the ruins of Dale. Who could she be looking at though? Could it be other elves? Bard or perhaps even a dwarf? That remains unknown.
Gandalf rides in to ruined Dale. The men there are making preparations for battle, or at least a confrontation with Thorin and the dwarves. (The battle itself was a surprise attack by goblins in the book.)
The picture is beginning to fade dark here, but some of the people are a bit clearer. In the center, to the right of Gandalf's horse you can see a column of soldiers. I think they're elves considering their shiny helms and tight formation. I doubt the Lake-town men would have such discipline.
Lake-town looks peaceful tonight.
Oops, spoke too soon. ;-) This is only a taste of what we'll get to see in Act I of the final film. Look at Smaug light up a whole street with one fell swoop! Amazing. Bard better hurry up!
He really is the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities. It's the only glimpse of him we get in this teaser trailer but he makes it count!
"...those who survived, and those that did not."
The first thing to notice in this shot is Lake-town, or rather what used to be. What a testimony to the destructive powers of a single dragon. He really will be a "killing machine". Second thing to notice are the two elves, Legolas and Tauriel. They are reunited. Remember when Legolas rode off after Bolg at the end of DOS? That must not have taken long. Based on other screenshots (#50) I think the pale orc gets away on his warg and Legolas must turn back. Third, notice the refugees. It looks like those who survived are packing up. Will all of them leave for Dale or will most remain behind to set up housing as described in the book? Fourth, the New Zealand landscape is gorgeous. Even though there is a lot of CGI in these films most of the scenic locations are real places you can visit (if you have enough money to get there :-/ ).
Pippin begins song sung in RotK: "Home is behind..."
Another great shot of Lake-town and the refugees. By this point many (or all) of them have started the trek north to the Lonely Mountain.
During this shot in the trailer we begin to hear the song Pippin sings for Denethor in Return of the King on the track titled, The Sacrifice of Faramir (in the Complete Recordings). There's been a lot of mixed reactions to the choice, but once the extreme movie geeks (including myself) get images of Pippin and Faramir riding to his death out of our heads then I think its use in the trailer is extremely powerful. The mood and tone of the song fits the feelings the trailer is trying to convey and in the books the song was actually written by Bilbo himself. (Though he probably set it to a more merrier tune. It is called "A Walking Song" after all). I doubt we'll hear it in the film itself. Trailers often use music from other movies, especially since in most cases the soundtrack isn't recorded until after trailers are released! In the rare event we do hear it I think Bilbo would be the one to sing it, not Pippin. (Hmnm, does Martin Freeman sing?)
"...the world ahead..."
Oh why is December so far away! Remember when the third film was supposed to come out in July?
Dwarves walking down steep steps with no railings. They really should get some safety inspectors in there. This is just a guess, but I think the dwarves are (from right to left), Fili, Kili, Bofur, and Gloin. But please feel free to debate!
"...And there are many..."
Could this be the dwarves working on sealing in the front gate? At least we know Kili gets back with the company before the standoff and battle. The other dwarf helping him steady the broken statue appears to be Ori based on the purple sleeve and knitted mittens (see also screenshot #60).
Bard looking heroic in Dale at sunrise/sunset. What's he looking at though?
Here's the Elven King, or Thranduil as he's named in LotR, walking through Dale around elf and human corpses. Is this during the titular battle scene or after? In the book the details of the battle are mostly 'skimmed' so knowing the exact sequence of events in the film is a very tricky thing, especially since we all know how much Peter Jackson likes to embellish.
It looks like PJ and Hobbits aren't the only ones who like to go barefoot. Here's Galadriel walking through Dol Guldur. Does this shot remind anyone else of the Mirror of Galadriel sequence in FotR? Here costume looks similar to the one wore then, but not quite exactly the same.
This clip has probably caused the most stir among fans, just like after the trailer for An Unexpected Journey. However, their relationship was platonic then and I expect it will remain that way in The Battle of the Five Armies. (Note: She kissed Frodo on the forehead too.) The next question people ask is what's up with Gandalf. Is this Galadriel (+ White Council) rescuing him before or after driving the Necromancer out?
"...To the edge of..."
Yes, I will witness this film!
This must be the dwarves searching through the halls of Erebor. Notice Thorin standing on the lower level towards the center-left of the screenshot. This could be one of his first views of the gold without a live dragon chasing him.
Thorin is looking very Dragon-sick! Is he suspecting Bilbo of foul-play in this scene? It sounds wrong saying it, but it will be a really neat seeing Thorin's dramatic fall unfold on screen.
The dwarves are marching to war! Well, maybe. They could also be assembling to confront Bard and the Elvenking. Their armour does look stunning, doesn't it? Weta scored again. In the front we have Fili followed by Kili and Bofur (which also confirms that they rejoin the company before the battle).
Moving forward a split second reveals Thorin. He does indeed look royal (as Tolkien described)! He and Bilbo seem to be at odds with each other here.
"...are all alight..."
That remains to be seen...
Legolas and Bard together. The elf doesn't look to happy with the current situation. Nor would I when looking at a ruined town. I think this is from the same scene as Screenshot #13 based on the trees, refugee camp, and lighting. Could there be another reason why he looks unhappy? I mean, could Bard be asking him to do something? Perhaps he could be requesting assistance from his father, Thranduil?
I would assume this picture (released a few years ago) is also from the same scene.
Here's Bard and some Lake-town refugees (see top right corner) approaching a large cohort of elves, probably Thranduil's guard. This could be Bard's first meeting with the Elvenking. In the background you can see a row of arches that seem to match those found in screenshots 7, 8, and 9. I don't know how it will all play out in the film, but I'm guessing that the elves will make it to Dale first, followed by the Men. After they agree to help each other then they will begin making preparations for a potential conflict with Thorin (see again all the weapons and soldiers in screenshots 7, 8, and 9).
Following the last clip, here's Thranduil making a strong first impression. The contrast of all these elven archers and the man who just shot down a dragon is just so rich. Plus, I absolutely love the costumes of the elves. Another score for Weta.
The definitive chapter of the Middle-earth saga? That's a tall order to live up to. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings films are extremely well done and each movie has its own respective strengths and weaknesses. This one certainly has the potential to be the most emotional of the six.
It's outside and snowing and Bilbo has his mithril coat so this is after the company leaves the mountain. Some people walk by Bilbo (dwarves perhaps). It looks like our Hobbit is sitting or kneeling, and he is sad or shocked. That much we know. What is he looking at? Dead or dying characters, more enemies? The carnage of battle? I'm afraid we'll have to wait until December to find out.
This is part of the trailer I have a really hard time figuring out. What on earth is a chariot doing on a frozen river? In an attempt to decipher a few clues I've taken a many more screenshots than normal to try to view this thing at every angle. First, we see that is is being driven on the Running River (Celduin). (See Dale in the distance in the direction the chariot is driving and the front gate behind in screenshot 37 & 38.) Second, it's going very fast (something that's easier to see in a video ;-) ). Third, it looks of dwarven make and it also looks like dwarves are riding it. More on that later.
Fourth, Balin (or Dori) appears to be driving (not very well either since they're about to slide into that rock on the right). Fifth, the character on the left side of the chariot is holding a bow that looks a lot like Kili's. Sixth, Dwalin is sitting towards the front. See the bald head between Kili and Balin?
Seventh, the chariot is armed. See that crossbow-type device in front of Balin with a stack of extra arrows? No? Maybe this will help:
That will certainly come in handy for what appears in screenshot 37.
As the chariot turns it looks like the 'crossbow' is able to pivot as Dwalin seems to be able to turn it. Ninth, there's another character on the right side of Dwalin. Is it Fili? If the one of the left is Kili then that would make a lot of sense.
Tenth, wargs attack the chariot. Is this before or during the battle? Could the wargs be scouts? Where are the dwarves trying to go? All the questions! Since nothing like this is described in the book I really have no idea. It's another one of PJ's embellishments.
Eleventh, the chariot is drawn by ram-like creatures. Where did the dwarves get those? Dain's army rides similar beasts (see screenshots 53 & 54) so does that mean this sequence takes place after the dwarves from the Iron Hills come or were there some left in/around the Lonely Mountain for some reason?
Bard: "Will you have peace or war?"
This is undoubtedly from that famous confrontation between Thorin and Bard outside the front gate.
Pippin singing (continued): "...All shall fade..."
After stating that on every teaser and poster the last two years I think anyone who has interest in these films already knows that. :-)
Thorin: "I will have war!"
A powerful response that will yield tragic consequences. As readers of the book will know, Thorin is fully consumed by dragon-sickness now. His dwarven comrades however, are not yet fully taken. Just look at Kili's face. That crown Thorin is wearing appears to be the same one Thror wore in An Unexpected Journey (see picture below). If you want to get picky about it though it cannot be the same one unless Thorin carried it around with him all these years since the Battle of Azanulbizar (when Thror was beheaded by Azog). (In the books Thror was actually killed by Azog before the War of Dwarves and Orcs and his head, or other personal belongings for that matter, were never recovered.)
We got a taste of Thranduil's fighting skills in DOS and it looks like we're going to get a full meal in the last film. Who thought Legolas was the only elf who could wield a weapon? Speaking of elven lords and fighting, I wish we got to see Elrond in action at Dol Guldur in this teaser.
Here's another view a split-second later. Notice how all the orcs are armoured? That leads me to believe that this is from the actual Battle of Five Armies rather than just another ambush by Azog's gang.
Another brief shot of a very focused Legolas. It makes sense including him The Hobbit films, but I think his role has been too big so far. His escapade with Bolg was just too much. Could this be from the continuation of that chase? If so, Bolg probably makes it out alive (screenshot 50) and Legolas makes it back to Laketown to witness the aftermath of its destruction (screenshot 13).
Pippin singing (continued) "...All..."
This is another one of those moments that I have a hard time placing since it's not in the books. So I've again taken a few extra screenshots to try to discern a few facts. First,the location is ruined Dale. Second, it's hard to tell because of the motion blur, but the two characters standing here appear to be Bain and Sigrid, two of Bard's children. It's possible that Tilda could be standing in front of them.
Third, as Bain and Sigrid 'duck', Bard comes rattling down the hill on a cart at a ferocious speed. Why? Perhaps the next screenshot reveals an answer:
A moment later a sword in Bard's hand becomes visible. Is Bard protecting his children by ramming into a pack of orcs at the bottom? That's the only explanation I can think of right now.
A quick glimpse of Kili in battle. That stone structure to the left looks like could match part of this structure (called Ravenhill) seen in the prolog of An Unexpected Journey:
That could make a lot of sense knowing that Ravenhill was a key stronghold for the 'Allies' during the battle.
What a terrific shot of Azog leading armies to war. It reminds me a little bit of some shots in LotR (e.g. hordes of orcs on the slopes of Mt. Doom, Saruman's Uruk-hai marching to Helm's Deep, etc.).
While Azog was dead by the time of The Hobbit in the book, his son Bolg did lead the orcs and wargs in the Battle of Five Armies. So his appearance in this film (and somewhat in the last) is entirely justifiable. Like his father, the CGI seems vastly improved in his second film. In this particular shot though we want to know where he is. Well, if we let the trailer play a bit more the camera pans up a bit to reveal a statue on that stone building on the right:
It looks an awful lot like the one seen in screenshot #48 to me. The lighting in both images looks very similar too which could imply that they come from the same sequence (or at least the same general part of the film). If Bolg does fight here in the Battle of Five Armies then it must mean he gets away from Legolas during the early part of the film.
Bilbo looks very, very scared here. What could he be scared of? If I had to guess right now I'd say Bolg. Why? Well if Bolg is standing below Ravenhill in the previous shot then where is he facing? Dale. What is behind Bilbo is this shot? Dale. Also, the lighting is very similar and Bilbo didn't make that face at 'normal' orcs in the previous films. I could be totally wrong though, it's just a guess.
Dwarves riding rams into battle! Wow, didn't expect that. It seems kind of silly at first, but makes a bit more sense after you think about it. What else could dwarven cavalry ride? We all saw how well Gimli did with horses in The Two Towers. Earlier we heard reports that Dain would be riding a boar, but not a ram. Could Peter Jackson and the design team have changed their minds? Or will Dain ride a pig while the other dwarves ride ram-like creatures?
Here's a closer look. In this shot you can make out armour on the beasts and dwarves much better. It will be really cool to see them charge into a column of orcs!
Another shot of fighting in ruined Dale. This time Bard leads a group of men from Lake-town wielding Girion's sword.
Here's an image from that same clip a split-second later. It's very hard to tell, but that figure right in front of Bard looks like an armoured orc.
The EYE! We already know that Sauron/the Necromancer will have a big part in the last film. He sent the orc/goblin armies to the Lonely Mountain in DOS and in the final film the White Council will confront him and drive him out of Dol Guldur. We don't know though how involved he will actually be in any of that or how the sequence of events will work. The White Council must rescue Gandalf in time for him to make it all the way to Erebor before the battle so Sauron must be driven out before the armies clash. Does that mean Sauron will not direct the movements of the orc/warg armies at all? Will he just send Azog off on his own? There's also the slight possibility that we could see Sauron in Mordor at Barad-dur either during the battle or afterwards at the end of the film as a connecting point between the two trilogies.
This is an overhead shot of what looks like the front gate of Erebor, but the figures running along the bridge are very hard to make out. The one on the far right appears to have a quiver, but that's about all I can discern. Do you have any thoughts or ideas? Feel free to comment!
Again, I have to comment on the elven archers' costumes. Fantastic job Weta! Based on screenshot 61, I think this could be from that long and intense standoff between the dwarves (mainly including Dain Ironfoot and his army) and elves described in the book.
Thorin: "Will you follow me..."
Whether or not this line Thorin delivers now during the trailer belongs to this image/scene above is yet to be seen, but I suspect it is. It's a great shot of the company is it not? If only Bofur's head wasn't hidden behind Ori. Their new costumes look absolutely stunning. Kudos to the costume department.
Here are those elven archers again. From this angle we can see Gandalf in front, looking up. To me, Gandalf looks troubled, but not necessarily frightened as if all of Sauron's armies were marching down on them. I suspect he's trying to resolve the standoff between the dwarves and elves right before the orcs and wargs arrive, similar to the events described in Chapter XVII, The Clouds Burst.
Gandalf's staff should also be mentioned here as well. Actually, I'm wrong, it's Radagast's staff (see picture below). How Gandalf got it though is beyond me. Could the Brown Wizard have died by this point or did he give it to Gandalf after his was broken in Dol Guldur? If he did die could Saruman be responsible?
|Staff of Radagast the Brown|
Again, since neither of these characters actually appear in The Hobbit it's difficult to place it in the puzzle if you know what I mean. The lighting is very similar to the shot above that could be from the standoff, so could Legolas and Tauriel be watching the events from a distance? Are they refusing to fight against the dwarves for some reason? Are they leading the elven 'reserves'? All this is pure speculation of course. It may not even be from that scene at all!
Before moving on there is one other important point to speculate about. Did you notice that odd, bear-shaped object on the ridge behind them?
Could that be Beorn or just a funny-looking rock?
"...one last time."
Thorin finishes his line over video of Bilbo, hinting at their relationship which will take some dramatic twists and arrive at an emotional finish. Thorin's line at the end of the trailer could also be seen as Peter Jackson inviting fans into Middle-earth one last time. This will be the last Middle-earth film for possibly decades as rights to Tolkien's other stories are firmly clenched by the Tolkien Estate.
The scene this image comes from could take place in a number of locations around the Lonely Mountain and in a number of times during the film. Whatever is going on, Bilbo is looking at something that makes him quite stunned, depressed, and worried. (Don't most of the characters in this trailer look that way? It's going to be a very emotional film, that's for sure!) It's also something that the other dwarves don't see right away either (Bifur is right in the middle of turning his head in the direction Bilbo).
I still prefer the title There and Back Again over The Battle of the Five Armies. Oh well. Supposedly it will be used as a subtitle for the whole Hobbit 'series' (The Hobbit: There and Back Again).
I can't wait to hear Howard Shore's score for the last Hobbit film. Being an avid musician myself, the soundtracks have always been one of my favorite aspects of these movies.
Guillermo del Toro still gets credit for screenplay. I wonder how much of his original vision for the films was/is left after he had to leave the project and Peter Jackson took over. Hopefully in some of the later EE bonus features we'll get to see some of his original designs and ideas for the films.
Can someone get me a time machine please! The wait is excruciating! I have to go find something else to do for 4 1/2 months.
Well that's the end of my analysis and speculation. What are your thoughts? Did you notice anything I missed? Do you disagree with some of my conclusions? Please share your thoughts below in the comment section and share this post on social media!