Thursday, February 09, 2012

Theories on Film Split Point for The Hobbit

As you are aware, The Hobbit is really two films - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (out 12/14/2012) and the other is The Hobbit: There and Back Again (out 12/13/2013). A question that remains unknown is exactly will the break occur as the books themselves are not written with a break. Any theories are also is complicated by the fact that book was not split into separate books like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Over at, a TOR editor provides his own theories on where the break will occur. To me any consideration will have to factor in two things. One is it has to happen after a climactic or emotional moment and two is it has to easily lead to a climatic opening. My thinking is along the lines of the end of the Fellowship with the battle with the Orcs and the Fellowship fracturing but Two Towers opening with that awesome fight between Gandalf and Balrog. Below is summary of their very plausible theories with my opinion in italics.

1) Bilbo finding the One Ring
In the novel, Bilbo finding the ring after Gollum lost it seems like a good ending point. With the additional material being added to show Gandalf's battle against the Necromancer, it seems a natural ending point while allow more time to get to know the 13 Dwarves.

Unlikely as suddenly the second movie would have to carry not just the remaining 2/3 of the book but any additional information being added from Tolkien’s other Middle-Earth work. Just a little too unbalanced. I see this more as an Act two ending in the first movie. Also the moment really doesn't any emotional weight. Bilbo, while hiding from Gollum, finds the ring and uses it to escape from him. After that the ring is a simple McGuffin, used to help Bilbo get out of circumstances he would not have been able to otherwise.

2) Bilbo saves the Dwarves from the Elves
This theory is on the idea that the movie is ultimately about Bilbo's journey from timid Bilbo to adventurous warrior. An example of this is Bilbo using the One Ring, cunning and luck to help the 13 Dwarves. Ending with their escape has emotional triumph for Bilbo while showing how he has developed as a character.

The ending at this point is just too weak. With solid directing it may have lots of tension but there is no battle, no real enemy to overcome, it is just 14 people being sneaky (and probably amusing). The emotional high point would be a minor beat to leave on.

3) Introducing Smaug
While the novel is really about the journey of Bilbo, it’s also the journey to raid the treasure of Smaug the Dragon. He is the main villain of the piece even though is part is really small. Ending the film with Smaug being revealed as a main villain allows for a tension moment and will lead to a great second film opening (his destroying Laketown).

(I think this is partially right, will explain below)

4) The White Council vs. The Necromancer
In the novel, Gandalf leaves the group to do something. The details are not revealed in the novel but Tolkien later revealed in the LOTR Appendixes that he and his fellow wizards battled The Necromancer (Sauron). Since the casting includes Elron, Galadriel and Radagast, we know this battle is at least partial shown or going to be strongly hinted at. It would allow for a nice battle and a parallel story telling style. The result is two films with two battles, one with White Council, the other being Battle of Five Armies.

(Again partially right, will explain below)

5) Mirkwood Spiders
This is the theory that decided is most likely, based mostly on an interview with Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel) when she said "She’s not in the first film very much. She comes into the first film near the end, and has a very small part to play. Her role in the second film is much more involved." The thinking is the film will end with Bilbo and the Dwarves successfully fighting off the Mirkwood spiders (like the one in Gollum's cave at beginning of Return of the King) before being captured by the elves, one of which is Tauriel. The theory goes further saying that Orlando Bloom's reveal will be the final moment. This plays into the character arc for Bilbo, provides an action sequence ending, and an emotional point of success being followed by potential capture.

Now my belief is the ending will be a combination of the last three theories. Based on the few set leaks, we know of certain major story beats from the novel are being kept. I think they may be in for An Unexpected Journey will be two stories, told in tandem but with most of the story focusing on Bilbo and the secondary story focusing on Gandalf. The Bilbo arc: introducing the characters > capture/escape from the trolls > Rivendell > Misty Mountains/finding the Ring > Mirkwood spiders > elves capture > reveal Smaug. The Gandalf arc will break off after Rivendell with the meeting of the White Council and preparations for battle. I think the very ending will be Bilbo's victory over the spiders being dashed by the elves capturing them juxtaposed with Gandalf and company about to engage in battle before the camera travels across Middle-Earth to reveal Smaug on top of his treasure looking evil and formable. The will directly lead to There and Back again which will open with the battle between the White Council and The Necromancer which will not be told in one long battle but as a series of quick moments.

What do you think?


  1. Combination of #4 and #5 all the way!

  2. I agree that a combination of #4 and #5 is the best way to go.

  3. The trailer shows gandalf fighting the necromancer so I do believe it will be in the first movie so as the spiders due to an other scene where some dwarves are covered in spider webs....Im positive it will end with them being captured by the elves