The Hobbit

Watch: Martin Freeman in Middle Earth’s Answer to ‘The Office’

Hi gang! I’ve been on vacation for the past week – so if you noticed that the blog was dark over this time, that’s why – and now that I’m back catching up it seems like a lot happened during the past few days!

Clearly the best thing that I missed out on – and it’s so good I’m not even upset that I’m writing about it so late – is the fact that Sherlock star Martin Freeman hosted the iconic Saturday Night Live last weekend. While I haven’t managed to watch the entire episode yet – though I hear from various corners of the internet that the whole thing was actually good, something of a rarity during the past few years of SNL – I did catch the standout moment that resulted when the worlds of two of Freeman’s biggest hits collided.

The Office: Middle Earth imagines what life might be like for Bilbo Baggins following the conclusion of his quest in The Hobbit. It turns out that life looks a lot like the iconic British sitcom The Office, which also starred Freeman as loveable everyman Tim way back when. Only this time, there are definitely more orcs.

Watch: The Final Trailer for the Final 'Hobbit' Film is All Kinds of Awesome

After fourteen years, six films and something like twenty hours worth of movies, Peter Jackson’s epic journey through the works of J.R.R. Tolkien is finally wrapping up this December with the release of the third film in The Hobbit trilogy.

Subtitled The Battle of the Five Armies (a switch from the original There and Back Again that I’m still miffed about), the film is set to wrap up the story of Bilbo Baggins’ journey, as well as showcase several massive fight scenes, and create a bridge of sorts between the end of the story in The Hobbit and the beginning of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

You can say what you like about Jackson’s work, and there are valid arguments to be made on both sides of the debate about whether The Hobbit trilogy really needed to be three films or not, but this trailer is something spectacular – if only because it represents the true end of an era, as we say goodbye to Jackson’s singular vision of Middle Earth.

Watch: The First Trailer for ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy’s Epic Conclusion

Hi guys! I’m home from Comic Con – exhausted, sore, seriously jetlagged and super happy. I had a great con. More on that later, but first I have to catch up on the apparently millions of things I did not read or watch over the last week. Bear with me!

One of the (many, many) fantastic bonuses to come out of San Diego Comic Con International is a positive explosion of new trailers for things. Having a captive audience, so to speak, the biggest studios and networks in the world want to make as big of a splash with as many properties as possible.

Thus, it’s no surprise that Warner Brothers rolled out the red carpet for the final appearance of The Hobbit – and likely the final Comic Con for fanboy god Peter Jackson for a very long time (if ever). The director has filmed six Tolkien-based movies over the past fourteen years, and unless he somehow manages to wrest the rights to The Silmarillion away from the author’s estate (unlikely), we’re approaching a true end of an era.

The studio hosted a star-studded panel on Saturday morning in the convention center’s Hall H, featuring stars Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly and more, and dropped the first trailer for the trilogy’s highly anticipated final installment, subtitled The Battle of the Five Armies.

Spoiler alert: If you are at all in any way a fan of Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth, get your tissues ready now. Just trust me.

Go Behind the Scenes of ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ and Watch Benedict Cumberbatch Be a Dragon

How am I only just now sharing this? I feel like a bad fan.

The second installment in director Peter Jackson’s epic The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is due to hit DVD shelves everywhere in a few weeks and, subsequently, we can look forward to an influx of behind-the-scenes material and other fun goodies to help us while away the days until There and Back Again drops in December.

A new behind-the-scenes featurette has been released, focused on how Jackson, the film designers and the crew at Weta Workshop created the titular dragon Smaug, which is fascinating in and of itself, but also features what is potentially the greatest bonus footage ever.

Yes, I’m talking about Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch wearing a motion capture suit, rolling around on the floor and acting like a dragon, in addition to providing Smaug’s very distinctive voice in the recording booth.

That is a thing that has happened and even though this glimpse of it is not nearly long enough, it still exists.

Stop What You Are Doing and Watch: Epic Three-Minute Trailer for 'The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug'

The highly anticipated second installment in The Hobbit trilogy, subtitled The Desolation of Smaug, is due to hit theaters this December and excitement levels are rising among fans everywhere.

Director Peter Jackson hosted a worldwide Hobbit fan event that spanned several countries this week – it included in-person events in New York, London, Los Angeles and Wellington, New Zeland, all hooked together by a live-stream that was broadcast to cinemas and computers around the world. The event featured a Q&A with many of the film’s stars, including Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Andy Serkis, Lee Pace, Luke Evans and Jackson himself.

But, despite how lovely it is to hear the actors share behind-the-scenes stories, the most exciting thing revealed during the fan event was a brand new, extended sneak peek trailer.

Which you should stop what you are doing and watch right now. Seriously. It's that good.

Who Needs CGI?: First Look at Benedict Cumberbatch Filming Smaug in 'The Hobbit'

The second installment of director Peter Jackson’s epic The Hobbit trilogy, subtitled The Desolation of Smaug, will open in theaters on December 13. Fans everywhere have been beside themselves with anticipation basically since the credits rolled on An Unexpected Journey last December, eager to see J.R.R. Tolkien’s story continue.

Of course, the main thing we’re all excited about is basically what it says on the tin – this is the one that’s got the dragon in it. Yeah, we will finally meet the titular and legendary Smaug the Golden in this installment, and, if the initial trailer where we finally get to hear him speak is any indication, he’s going to be pretty impressive.

And, of course, many of us would argue he was always going to be pretty impressive given the fact that such an impressive actor is behind-the-scenes. Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, who seems to have a different movie out every other week for the duration of 2013, is playing Smaug – or, at the very least providing his voice (which you can here in the trailer above) and doing the motion capture work that is turned into Smaug through the magic of the folks at the Weta Workshop. (Who, obviously, is not our WETA, but who we like quite a bit all the same. Gollum is awesome.)

Meet Benedict Cumberbatch’s Smaug in New Trailer for ‘The Hobbit’ Sequel

The second installment in director Peter Jackson’s massive The Hobbit trilogy, subtitled The Desolation of Smaug, is due to hit theaters this December and fans everywhere have been beside themselves with excitement – well, since basically last December when An Unexpected Journey premiered – to see Tolkien’s story famous continue.

And also most of them (you? us? everyone?) are sort of (really) looking forward to seeing finally that titular dragon that our hero Bilbo Baggins has to face off with. Luckily, you get a little bit of your wish today.

Watch the newest trailer for the film below.

Watch - First Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug!

The trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second installment of Peter Jackon’s rather immense trilogy of films based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien novel, has been officially been released – and yes, you finally get to see the dragon, along with what appears to be half the working actor population of England.

When last we left our heroes in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, our intrepid crew comprised of dwarves, a wizard and a hobbit hadn’t even made it to the Lonely Mountain yet. So there’s still a lot to cover – and this trailer is packed full of all sorts of goodies sure to make Tolkien lovers swoon worldwide.

Back for another go-round are stars Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Lee Pace, Sylvester McCoy, James Nesbitt, Peter Hambleton and many more.

The new trailer also gives us our first looks at Luke Evans’ Bard the Bowman, Evangeline Lily’s elf warrior princess Tauriel, and the return of a familiar face as Orlando Bloom puts the blonde Legolas wig on once again. (And seriously looks as though he has not aged at all. How?) And of course, Freeman’s Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch also shows up for the final shot – as a giant, scaly reptile that sleeps on top of a Scrooge McDuck-style pile of gold. (Cumberbatch is the voice of Smaug, but also provided the motion capture used for the dragon’s animation, much as Andy Serkis did with Gollum.)

Basically, it looks awesome.

Amazing Internet Things: The Office Meets The Hobbit

Apologies for my slight absence around here – yours truly’s been laid up with the flu. Downside: It’s gross. Upside: I’ve had a lot of time to look at random things on the internet, one of the more interesting of which is below.

This is one of those Amazing Internet Things that’s simultaneously awesome and sort of really creepy – so, sort of, the internet, in a nutshell, at times.

Long before Martin Freeman played the world’s most famous crime-solving sidekick on Sherlock, he was known for starring as the put-upon but loveable Tim Canterbury on the original UK version of The Office. (If you’ve never seen the UK version of this series – for shame! –Tim is the equivalent of Jim in the American adaptation.) Given his recent turn as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, this mash-up should probably not be entirely unexpected. The real surprise it’s probably that it’s taken this long.

Countdown to Middle Earth: Watch The Colbert Report’s Week-Long Hobbit Tribute

We’re less than a week away from the premiere of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which features a large percentage of the British acting population in some role or other, including Sherlock’s Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, MI-5’s Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, Being Human’s Aidan Turner and more.

Those of us who are big fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth are over the moon at being so close finally getting to return to the world of hobbits, dwarves and wizards after a near ten-year absence. Stephen Colbert, the host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, is also a huge Tolkien enthusiast and featured a week-long tribute to The Hobbit on his show this past week. This included turning his set into a replica of Bag End and reimagining the map of New York, Lord of the Rings style.

Colbert featured four nights of interviews with The Hobbit cast – Freeman, McKellen and Serkis – as well as director Jackson. Watch all four below.

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