Now that it has been officially confirmed that Peter Jackson will be making a trilogy out of The Hobbit, everyone is asking one basic question. How is that possible? The Hobbit just isn't as big as Lord of the Rings. But Jackson has sworn up and down that there's plenty of material in the book's appendices that allowed him to expand Middle Earth. So what material is Jackson talking about specifically, and where does that fit in with The Hobbit? We picked through the appendices, Jackson's interviews, and the recent trailer to show you exactly what we think will end up on the big screen.
More Gandalf and friends (The White Council)
Gandalf the Grey is not in The Hobbit very much. In fact sometimes the wizard just vanishes only show up later yelling orders for no discernable reason. But in this trilogy, Jackson has promised that Gandalf isn't going anywhere. In an interview with IGN Jackson reveals the first big addition to the original material from Tolkien's appendices, "In The Hobbit novel Gandalf disappears for long periods of time, you never know where. But in the appendices Tolkien explains exactly what he was doing and where he was going. So we're able to incorporate all of that together." Boom! So where is he? Meeting up with the most powerful people in Middle Earth (the White Council) and helping to reveal the true face of the nefarious necromancer character, AKA Sauron. After beating up Thorin Oakenshield's dad and then telling the awesome elf Elrond (you remember him from LOTR — Agent Smith with a crown) about his experiences at Rivendell, Gandalf calls on the White Council to get to the bottom of these recent dark deeds.
This White Council is made up of Elrond, Galadriel, Saruman and a ton of other excellent Tolkien characters. We've already seen Galadriel in the trailer, so we know she's coming back. And Christopher Lee has already been confirmed to be returning to his role as Saruman. So buckle up for some excellent bickering between Lee and Sir Ian McKellen. Of course eventually Gandalf convinces the council to invade the Necromancer's fortress at Dol Guldur. Which leads to...
The Battle of Dol Guldur
In his statement on Facebook confirming the trilogy Jackson singles out The Battle of Dol Guldur as something he couldn't capture without breaking the book into three parts. This is the battle where Galadriel kicks a lot of ass. They fight orcs who ride werewolves and giant spiders, so yeah, awesome. But Galadriel just rips down the walls. It's impressive, and helps explain why everyone is so petrified of her awesome power in LOTR.
We've SEEN Legolas shooting arrows in the behind-the-scenes video diaries, and it's rumored that The Hobbit will be fleshing out a bit of this character's backstory. How so? By bringing in his dad! King Thranduil appears in The Hobbit and the Mirkwood elves are a big part of the journey to Lonely Mountain (they kidnap the dwarves and combine forces in the Battle of Five Armies). It's a fairly safe bet that whatever happens to Legolas during the final battle will only motivate his character's allegiance to the Fellowship of the Ring in the future. Don't forget Gimli's father, Glóin, is also on this expedition, and there better be a joke there at some point.
Gandalf Vs. Thrain
It's no secret Jackson loves a flashback-centric prologue (the birth of Gollum continues to haunt us). So why not use a flashback from an appendix to pad out the story and strengthen the relationship between the journey to Lonely Mountain and the epic battle of Dol Guldur? The keen eye of Dizastrus revealed this image from The Hobbit of what could be Thrain (father to Thorin Oakenshield) and Gandalf fighting. One is clearly Gandalf, and the other is too short to be a human, and has the mark of a prosthetic forehead. This could be the scene where Gandalf discovers King Tharin, driven mad by Sauron and forced to hand over the dwarf ring of power (something the audience learned in LOTR). This is also how Gandalf gets the map and key to the Lonely Mountain where Bilbo and the Dwarves of Erebor eventually end their journey. It ties the two stories of Dol Guldur and the Battle of Five Armies together. Also it demonstrates the dark matters at work and excuses Gandalf from the primary mission of Lonely Mountain, because Sauron's back... bitches. Even if Gandalf wasn't aware that the Necromancer and Sauron are connected, the outlandish actions of the Dwarf King and a dark stranger's interest in the rings should lead to the eventual alert of the White Council.
The Story of Smaug and his Gold Belly
We have no proof that this will happen (sorry), but wouldn't it be rad if it did? We can't imagine Jackson will show the dragon face of Smaug until (at the latest) a cliff hanger ending of the second film. And once he's been introduced, doesn't this greedy dragon deserve a bit of backstory? Hell yes he does.
On top of all the actual Tolkien appendices and notes, Jackson added new characters into the mix. Evangeline Lily (Lost) is playing Tauriel, a Mirkwood elf, who has some sort of romantic ties to Kili (played by Aidan Turner, the vampire from BBC's Being Human). As we stated before, Mirkwood elves appear twice in this story, even though Tauriel doesn't appear in the original Tolkien. It's already confirmed that Kili will be pursuing Tauriel... but on the battle field, in the woods, inside a barrel? That's another large Mirkwood plotline that doesn't appear in the books.
General Dwarf Fleshing Out
Did you spy the remnants of a spider attack in The Hobbit trailer? If that reveal means the giant spiders will be in the first movie, the majority of the first flick will be an on the road epic with a gaggle of dwarves and Bilbo. We need more personal dialogue and action to flesh out each character, so you care if Bofur is almost sliced open by a Goblin. Oakenshield's ego can't hog the spotlight the whole time, so you can bet that there will be plenty of silly little drunk dwarf moments that will flesh out the gang. Richard Armitage even promised a bunch more dwarf drinking songs!
Big Beautiful Battles
The Battle of Five Armies is not fleshed out in the books — in fact, Bilbo spends most of it unconscious. That won't stand for Jackson. He's got to top Helm's Deep. But then again, this is a battle with five armies. Plus this is the unification of the races: it's the first time that the humans, dwarves and elves stop squabbling over money and join together to fight evil. It's a massive moment both for the characters and just with the sheer size of it. There's no way this doesn't last for at least an hour. That's a lot of fleshing out and additional writing Jackson is going to have to dream up.