The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer breakdown

Footage shows new characters, familiar faces and a ruddy great dragon.

Break out the Ent-draughts - the new trailer for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has been released online! Watch it above if you haven’t seen it yet.

It’s the second instalment of Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’ trilogy and the footage is intriguing because it gives us the clearest look yet at how Jackson has divided up the slender book into three parts. Oh, and it gives us the first glimpse of the series’ villain.

We had a closer look at the footage and picked out some furry-footed thoughts…

[Hobbit stars react to super-fans' crazy reaction to trailer]

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New locales

The middle chapters of Tolkien’s’ classic have given Peter Jackson’s production designers some fresh locations to create. We have sinister forest Mirkwood – home to both the kingdom of the Wood-elves and some massive spiders. Much of the film will be set here.

There’s Lake-town – a human settlement on the edge of the Long Lake that suffers some of the ‘Desolation’ promised in the title (we assume this’ll happen in ‘Part 2’). It looks stunning; very different from the rest of the Middle Earth.

Various internal and external shots of the Misty Mountains, home of both the Dwarf kingdom and now Smaug the dragon are also glimpsed here.

And finally, is this warg attack taking place at Beorn’s house? The chronology would suggest so.  Mikael Persbrandt plays the shape-shifting giant bear-man thing.

Set pieces

When ‘The Hobbit’ was originally a two-parter, it was hinted that the dwarves’ escape from Mirkwood in barrels would’ve been the finale to the first movie. Now it’ll presumably sit in the middle of ‘Desolation’, but it should still be spectacular.

Barad-dur - the Necromancer’s hideout in Mirkwood – also gets a nod in the trailer with an establishing shot, but Gandalf also hints that he’ll attack the sinister fortress. As it's not directly referenced in the book, it’s still unclear where and in what form this happens.

There’s also more Mirkwood action in the shape of a Spider attack. Look behind you Bilbo! A memorably sinister part of the book, Jackson has his work cut out to outdo the Shelob sequence in ‘Return of the King’.

New characters

Lee Pace’s creepy king of the Wood-elves Thranduil gets some major screen time here; he even helpfully gets us up to date with the plot with some exposition dialogue. Pace was picked because Jackson was a huge fan of the Tarsim Singh movie ‘The Fall’.

There’s also a totally new character in elf warrior Tauriel. It’s rumoured she was added because of the bloke-heavy cast, and she shows up a lot here, both fighting orcs and chatting to Legolas.

Speaking of which… he’s back! Legolas - one of the most popular characters from ‘Rings’ - shows up even though he’s not in the ‘Hobbit’ books. Once again he’s shooting people at close range with arrows but does he also have a romantic link with Tauriel?

Luke Evans’ Bard the Bowman is also introduced. Fans will know that the Lake-town hotshot has a major role to play in the plot. Here he’s warning Thorin about unleashing the dragon – “If you awaken that beast, it will destroy us all!”

Which leads us nicely into this fella. Smaug the dragon – the main villain for the whole series – wasn’t seen at all in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, but Jackson shows his hand here right at the end of the trailer.  There’s still some mystery about him though as we haven’t heard the excellent Benedict Cumberbatch doing his voice yet.

What did you think of the trailer? Let us know below…