The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey can be found here.

Continuing the quest to reclaim the dwarven kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch), young hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the band of dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and aided by Lake-town resident Bard (Luke Evans), finally reach the Lonely Mountain and attempt to find the Arkenstone. Unfortunately, Bilbo awakens the sleeping dragon.

Yes. The movie is the second part of a three-part adaptation of the novel "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again" by author J.R.R. Tolkien [1892-1973]. The first film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) covered the first six chapters of the novel and a few moments from the seventh chapter. This film covers the seventh through the thirteenth chapters. Finally, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) will cover the remaining fourteenth through nineteenth chapters .

Whereas in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey there were many reprised appearances by actors in their same roles from Peter Jackson's first Lord of the Rings films, there are far fewer of these appearances in this film. Only Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) return with major roles. Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) also makes a brief, one line appearance through recycled footage from the previous film. Sauron makes a brief appearance in the movie but is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, as opposed to Sala Baker who played him in the original films. Also Gimli is mentioned and a picture of him is shown but he is not portrayed on screen by an actor.

The title refers to where the dragon Smaug lives and the waste around his home. When Smaug invaded the region around Erebor, he burned the city of Dale, which lay near the entrance to the dwarves' kingdom under Erebor and also burned much of the area surrounding it. There's a moment in the film when the party arrives near the ruins of Dale, and Balin says that the surrounding area used to be covered with lush forests.

Many different Dwarves, Elves, Wizards, Men, Orcs, and Spiders appear in the movie and have speaking roles. Bilbo is the only Hobbit to speak and only one other is seen briefly in the Prancing Pony at the beginning of the film. Smaug is the only dragon to appear and speak. Beorn, a skin-changer who takes the form of a bear, also appears. Some forest animals, domestic dogs, and Wargs are also seen.

Though both are antagonists in the story and were motion-captured and voiced by the same actor, they are separate entities in J.R.R. Tolkien's book and are working independently of each other in the films as well. The Necromancer is Sauron in his spiritual form with limited power that cannot yet assume physical form but is gathering strength preparing for his return at Dol Guldur. Smaug is a Dragon, a Firedrake from the north that has conquered Erebor, the Dwarven kingdom under the mountain. They are not the same being.

Who is Tauriel?

Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) fills the role of the previously unnamed chief of the Wood-elf guards (who was male in the book). She is a Silvan Elf of Mirkwood Forest whose name means 'daughter of the forest' (directly translated Forest-daughter) or 'maiden of the wood' in the Sindarin tongue. Leading up to the release of the film, Jackson assured Tolkien fans that Tauriel would not enter into a romantic relationship with Legolas. According to Phillipa Boyens, the screenwriter for Peter Jackson, Tauriel was her creation and has nothing to do with Tolkien's work. In the film it is revealed that both she and Legolas have feelings for each other, though it is never overtly stated by either character just how deep those feelings go. Legolas' father, Thranduil, also warns that he would never allow them to be together. However, Tauriel also develops feelings for the young dwarf Kili.

Fili and his younger brother Kili are Thorin's nephews (his sister's sons). Since Thorin has no children, this makes Fili his legitimate heir in the line of succession.

During the events of the Hobbit trilogy the White Council realizes Sauron's spirit has survived the defeat by the Last Alliance, when Isildur took the Ring. By the time the events of the Fellowship of the Ring unfold, they have already battled and temporarily vanquished - but not destroyed - Sauron, which will be portrayed in the last chapter of the Hobbit trilogy. What takes Gandalf and the others by surprise is the return of the One Ring, which was thought to be lost, and the extent of Sauron's recovered power.

Bolg the Orc was originally supposed to be played by an actor with costume and make-up, like Lurtz in The Fellowship of the Ring. The filmmakers later decided to have him portrayed as a CGI character, just like they did with Azog. That's why there are two widely different portrayals of Bolg circulating on the web, one of which is the one ultimately used in the movie.

The Desolation of Smaug ends with Smaug leaving the mountain and flying towards Lake-town, revenge on his mind. In the last scene, Bilbo looks on Smaug's flight and asks himself, 'What have we done?'

Peter Jackson previously signed on as an executive producer (the same role that, comparatively, George Lucas served on Episodes 5 and 6 of Star Wars); The main reasoning appeared to be timetable conflicts with other directing commitments Jackson already had or has made (The Lovely Bones, Tintin). The fact that Jackson was in a financial conflict with New Line Cinema at the time may have also played a role. There may also be the matter that the previous Lord of the Rings movies are hugely popular movies. This will raise the expectations for The Hobbit considerably, while the novel is in many regards (e.g. story structure) quite similar to the Ring-trilogy, which has also become much more popular than the Hobbit over the years. With Peter Jackson at the helm, expectations will likely rise to unrealistic proportions. This could lead to potential mass disappointment with the fan base, arguably comparable to when George Lucas decided to create his prequel trilogy to the original Star Wars trilogy himself, and when Steven Spielberg created a fourth Indiana Jones movie after nearly twenty years. Jackson himself also experienced first-hand how high expectations can get when he is listed as director, having met with some harsh criticism for his post-LotR movies (King Kong, The Lovely Bones). However, since del Toro left the project and the financial conflict with New Line Cinema was settled, Peter Jackson expressed willingness to step in as director. Moreover, he was "available" due to the delays in production. He has directed all three films (it is now a confirmed Trilogy) with shooting started in February 2011. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who all wrote the previous Rings Trilogy, have written the screenplay for The Hobbit Parts 1, 2 and 3. The movie has been split into three parts with added expanded content from the book (i.e. drawing story elements from the Appendices, see below), it is clear that the maker's intentions for this film go beyond a mere introductory prequel. We can expect The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on December 14, 2012 followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug December 13, 2013 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again on December 17th, 2014. The choice to extend the single relatively small, 297 (paperback) book was allegedly Peter Jackson's and he claims it is due to the sheer amount of content in the expanded universe, so that the story can be told in its entirety, as well as fan service, though there have been valid claims that the huge financial investment and potential profits were a factor in the final choice. This, of course, is only speculation.

The complete explanation for why Jackson did not direct these films in provided at the beginning of Disk 7 Special Features of the directors cut. They discuss it with the original director and with Jackson. They began working on the Hobbit before Warner Brothers and MGM had worked out their shared ownership rights to this film. This dragged on for months. Finally, when a solution seemed distant del Toro had a chance to direct another film and he took it. This left The Hobbit with no director. Shortly, the issue between studios was worked out and the casting director went to Jackson and told him she could begin casting the film without a director. That's is what Jackson stepped into the roll...5 months before the cameras started rolling. He realized that probably no one else could seamlessly step into the roll and make it work. The entire creative team agreed.

Yes, it was shot in 3D at 48 fps. Like the previous film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) it should also be available in 3D at 24 fps and 2D at 24 fps.

Yes. Jackson can be seen in the opening shot of the film, walking from the left of the screen to the right. He briefly glances towards the camera while taking a bite out of a carrot. The shot of him is meant to be a recreation of his cameo in The Fellowship of the Ring. Jackson had filmed a second cameo as a spy in Lake-town but including it was strongly vetoed by his co-producer, Philippa Boyens, who thought it diminished Jackson's standing as director and producer. The full story of Jackson's second appearance can be see in the bonus features of the extended edition of the movie on blu-ray and DVD.

While discussing with Thorin about dragons, Thranduil's face briefly changes to reveal ghastly scars. The scene is not from the book: the movie seems to imply Thranduil is using some sort of enchantment to conceal the wounds he has received in the past while fighting dragons (not Smaug).

The keyhole is supposed to be magic - something you can find only at one precise moment, and if you miss that, no amount of waiting and searching would help. It's also notable that Durin's Day was a rare event, when the sun and moon shared the sky on the last day of Autumn. Therefore, Durin's Day would not happen every year; there could be many years between occurrences.

It is in the book, but the movie scriptwriter decided to add the "plot twist" of making it the light of the moon. The main reason Tolkien did not write this in the book is because it is an error. The Moon has no light of its own but shines only by reflected sunlight, which is why it shows phases (the lit half always faces the Sun). Hence a full moon at sunset can only be a rising moon, and the Moon would be in the eastern sky (on the other side of the mountain) and could not illuminate the keyhole. In addition, a full Moon would be up all night, so its light at sunset would not be the "last." Tolkien, who took great care with moon phases, would never have made this mistake.The scene is written this way for dramatic effect: by having the dwarves leave in disappointment and frustration. By having Bilbo discover the secret, it heightens the drama for the audience.

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