The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Is the Single Movie Hobbit a contractual obligation?


May 26 2008, 2:28pm

Views: 11984
Is the Single Movie Hobbit a contractual obligation?

Wow, this place has changed a lot since I was last here. Had to re-register and everything! Nice new look...

Anyway, on to business. One thing that struck me in the chat is that it seems the Single Movie Hobbit is contractually obliged. Here's the exact quote:

The agreement is, however, that the second film must be relevant and emotionally strong enough to be brought to life but that we must try and contain the HOBBIT in a single film.

Personally I always hoped they would eventually decide to go with a two part Hobbit, filled out with White council and Dol Guldor material, but this would suggest that its not an option.


May 26 2008, 2:40pm

Views: 11827
Maybe not contractually...

..but more of an agreement between the script writers / filmmakers.

A two-part Hobbit would be nice, but I think for the filmmakers and studios it is far more tempting to make movie about the events between Hobbit and LOTR. And to be honest, it shouldn't be too hard to fit The Hobbit in a 3 hour movie in the first place...

The Shire

May 26 2008, 3:55pm

Views: 11741
I disagree

I'm finding it very difficult to envision what F2 will contain... I think it would be much easier and cleaner to do a two part Hobbit and have it break where to tonal change is... this will also help with the late introduction, like Bard... a main character that is introduced for the end of the third act?.... so much happens within the boundaries of the hobbit timeline but that isnt really discussed and thats what should be used to expand the story and then broken down into two parts... the only problem i have with this approach is i can't figure out a decent place that you would end Bilbo's story to be continued in F2.

There is some really great stuff in the FAN ART forum!!!!

Superuser / Moderator

May 26 2008, 5:25pm

Views: 11711
Late introductions

...are easily solved by showing 'parallel' timelines, i.e., introduce Bard early on and show what was going on in Dale during different parts of Bilbo's journey, then merge the two story lines toward the end.

As far as film two, some overlap with The Hobbit could also be done - for example, following the tangent of what happens in Gandalf's story line once he leaves the party on the eaves of Mirkwood. The entire story could 'flash back' and pick up as far back in the Appendices as they want to go; all the way back to Gandalf's arrival in Middle-earth, the forming of the White Council, Gandalf meeting Aragorn; there are thousands of years of options. Throw in what Gollum, Sauron and the Witch-king are doing on the side of the 'bad-guys' and I see more than enough material for a second movie.

I think interjecting too many of those different events and story lines into a Hobbit movie would destroy the continuity of the book/story as written which is why I suspect the agreement is to contain as much of the Hobbit in one movie as possible.

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

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May 26 2008, 5:54pm

Views: 11765
Parallel timelines

And I agree with Altaira. There is more than enough material for inspiration, and PJ and GDT said that they were going to focus in on one particular set of events in the 60 year period between The Hobbit and FOTR and find the story to tell from that. This would likely be supplemented by flashbacks and such to events during the 60 year period, and possibly even long before The Hobbit. Also I like the concept of parallel timelines, in the The Hobbit F1, although Bard's loss of his wife would need careful placement, possibly as a tale told to Bilbo by Gandalf during the journey, perhaps during a discussion about Smaug. That way we would see Bard earlier in the story and be aware first hand of his tragic story.

As for F2, I think again, Aragorn and Arwen, along with the Hunt for Gollum will be the major story line that the writers will have the most material to work from and the film will thus centre around those events. It seems that nothing REAL actually happened between the White Council vs Dol Guldur other than their ageement and acceptance that the Necromancer is Sauron and his realizing he has to move to the safety of Mordor. Likely no real physical confrontation took place which relegates this idea to being primarily a council scene.

One thing I think The Hobbit F1 can do is show Estel in Rivendell and have him meet Bilbo, or else revisit this event in F2 flashing back to show Thorin's company as they passed through Rivendell and Bilbo meeting Estel, in order to set up for F2 and Aragorns protection of the Shire and later hunt for Gollum.


May 26 2008, 6:19pm

Views: 11752
Dol Guldur

In the appendices it says that the White Council decided to take action and make a strike against Sauron in Dol Guldur. People may interpret it differently but to me that says fighting with lots of elves and orcs!


May 26 2008, 6:55pm

Views: 11777
The hunt for Gollum

...does not belong in either movie. It happens during the 17-yr gap in FotR. Gandalf doesn't have a clue about the possible nature of Bilbo's Ring until then.

Technically, I suppose they could show Gollum leaving the Misty Mtns to search for the Ring, or even his captivity in Mordor, but that story line doesn't resolve reasonably within the scope of an F2, and I think they're better off leaving it out.

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

Superuser / Moderator

May 26 2008, 7:17pm

Views: 11784
The Appendices also say:

"The White Coucil meets; Saruman agrees to an attack on Dol Guldur, since he now wishes to preven t Sauron from searching the River. Sauron having made his pland abandons Dol Guldur."

Emphasis is mine. It's mentioned, in "The final chapter of The Hobbit


"every now and again he [Bilbo] would open one eye, and listen, when a part of the story which he did not yet know came in. It was in this way that he learned where Gandalf had been to; for he overheard the words of the wizard to Elrond. It appeard that Gandalf had been to a great council of white wizards, masters of lore and good magic; and that they had at last driven the Necromancer from his dark hold in the south of Mirkwood"

and again in "The Shadow of the Past:"


"How long have you known all this?" asked Frodo again.

"Known?" said Gandalf. "I have known much that only the wise know, Frodo. But if you mean "known about this ring", well, I still do not know, one might say. there is a last test to make. But I no longer doubt my guess."

"When did I first begin to guess?' he mused, searching back in memory. "Let me see - it was the year that the White Council drove the dark power from Mirkwood, just before the Battle of Five armies, that Bilbo found his ring."

Emphasis Tolkien's.

and again in "The Council of Elrond"


"Some here will remember that many years ago I myself dared to pass the doors of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur and secretly explore his ways, and found thus that our fears were true: he was none other than Sauron, our enemy of old, at length taking shape and power again. Some, too, will remember also that Saruman disuaded us from open deeds against him, and for long we watched him only. Yet at last, as his shadow grew, Saruman yielded, and the Council put forth its strength and drove the evil out of Mirkwood and that was in the very year of the finding of this Ring; a strange chance, if chance it was."

"But we were too late, as Elrond foresaw. Sauron had also watched us, and had long prepared against our stroke, governing Mordor from afar from Minas Morgul, where his Nine servants dwelt, until all was ready. Then he gave way before us, but only feigned to flee, and soon after cam to the Dark Tower and openly declared himself."


Emphais mine.

I always thought it meant they physically went to drive him out but he 'ran away' just as, or just before, they got there.

Those quotes also remind me of Gandalf entering Dol Guldur and finding not only Sauron, but Thorin's father Thrain held prisoner and the last of the Dwarven rings in Sauron's clutches. Another great movie opportunity!

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

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(This post was edited by Altaira on May 26 2008, 11:10pm)


May 26 2008, 7:28pm

Views: 11763
Yeah but that last event took place before the events in...

... The Hobbit.

But it sure would make a nice prologue or something!


May 26 2008, 7:30pm

Views: 11645
It would make for an interesting movie though

I always thought that F2 should focus on Gandalf or maybe Aragorn, but I guess it could focus on Gollum too. Let's face it, his character is almost as popular, and his storyline and arch are perhaps even more interesting... But you are right, technically the most interesting events in Gollum's story belong in FOTR.

Superuser / Moderator

May 26 2008, 7:38pm

Views: 12134

While PJ and GDT have said Movie 2 will concentrate on events in the time period between The Hobbit and LOTR, there's a ton of info. in the Appendices that lead up to those events that would help clarify them. I think people may be taking the '60 year period' comment too literally; concentrating on that period doesn't exclude using background info both before, and after the event of those years.

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

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May 26 2008, 10:17pm

Views: 17167
2 centavos-

Its not a contractual matter. At this stage we are all finding out things- I believe, at the moment, that THE HOBBIT is better contained in a single film and kept brisk and fluid with no artificial "break point" but that too may change. One of the reasons why I am comfortable doing this is because nothing, at any point, has been presented as "contractual". Quite the contrary, everything is genuine and exciting in that Blessed Island at the edge of the world! I am pretty sure that if we dont find a great F2 we will do only a single film or if we find that if the HOBBIT cannot be contained in a single film and that there is, in fact, a natural break, we may end up with two.

Everything we shared yesterday is "What we know..." while PJ and the gang finish LOVELY BONES and Your Truly finishes this insane enterprise that is HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY. Im in London until late June and won't go to NZ until Late July.

So much can change. But so much is being done to assure the best we can do...

Yr Obt Svt


(This post was edited by Guillermo on May 26 2008, 10:18pm)


May 26 2008, 10:32pm

Views: 11650
That's very reassuring

There are lots of possibilities for Film2 plots, though it will be challenging to weave these threads together into a great narrative that can sit favourably alongside Tolkien's novels. It sounds very much like good storytelling is at the heart of your approach to the films and that must be the best way forward.

Thanks for dropping by TORN, and I'm really looking forward to seeing your latest film! Smile

     View my Hobbit Film Adaptation Discussion


May 26 2008, 10:46pm

Views: 11636
Thank you!

Thanks for replying Guillermo, and I'm delighted to hear nothing is set in stone. I think its wonderful that you guys are keeping an open mind on everything. I really appreciate your taking the time to keep us informed on this stuff!

Superuser / Moderator

May 26 2008, 11:21pm

Views: 11649
Thanks for the clarification

How exciting it must be to have all of those options still open before you.


So much can change. But so much is being done to assure the best we can do...

..which only become more and more apparent.

Best of luck with the 'insanity.' Smile

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

TORn Calendar


May 26 2008, 11:33pm

Views: 11679
and that makes me think ..

I wonder how long each film will be - I suppose the general expectation is that each film will be a 3 hours long and counting ... although that is just an assumption I guess .. it will be interesting (and exciting) to see how these plots develop - and what amount of time is given over to each depending on the evolution of the story/s, and the way you go about development. Looking forward to hearing of this emerging process. Thanks for the calrification at this time.

Best of luck with HBII Guillermo Smile


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May 27 2008, 1:17am

Views: 11641
Thank you ,Guillermo.

This fan is perfectly content to let the filmmakers chart their course - although your concern for the fans is certainly generous. If there's anyone I trust in movie making, it's you and Mr. Jackson, along with your compartriot Alfonso Cuaron.

I'm reminded of Mozart's response when Emperor Franz Josef worried about his new opera having too many notes. Mozart replied that the new piece would have just as many as it needed. That's the way I feel about these two films; they will be as long as they need to be, and cover the story material that makes sense to their creators. An organic whole, and that means no details set in stone for quite some time. Which just makes this endeavor all the more exciting - so many possibilities!

The pre-production and making of these movies is like a two year long birthday party, with treats and surprises along the way. And I love surprises. Wink Of course I want to know everything. But I'm content to wait.


N.E. Brigand

May 27 2008, 3:52am

Views: 11756
Is there a 17-year gap in the film of FotR? //


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May 27 2008, 4:06am

Views: 11579
Not in the film, but I think it is in the book //


There he stood
Proud and solemn
Yet happy and gay

Arwen's daughter

May 27 2008, 4:33am

Views: 11683
It's not necessarily not in the film

And I agree that wherever possible they should stay with the timeline of the book.

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Peredhil lover

May 27 2008, 5:30am

Views: 11669
Thank you!

I've already decided long ago that I will take it as it comes and to trust you and the whole team to do the right thing. And I greatly appreciate this flexible approach to the question! It is so reassuring.

Good luck and thank you so much for explaining more once again!

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


May 27 2008, 7:33am

Views: 11701
It was very cleverly done.

The film managed to elide the time after Bilbo's departure to Gandalf's return in such a way that we do not perceive elapsed time, whether 17 years or a few months. We know it has to be some fair amount of time, because Gandalf had time to ride to Minas Tirith and do some research, but that's all we know.

We know it was 17 years.

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


May 27 2008, 7:36am

Views: 11622
I always got the impression from the film

that it suggested months rather than years.

But you're right, we knew it was 17 years Smile, but then we'd read the book.

There he stood
Proud and solemn
Yet happy and gay

Forum Admin / Moderator

May 27 2008, 8:48am

Views: 11615
It depends on how you look at it

Did the Fellowship remain in Lothlorien for a month? Wink

I am sooooo glad we didn't have temporal subtitles during the course of these movies. It would have been just plain silly. Except for "The Shire... 60 years later" I thought the filmmakers were spot on with the way they portrayed the events without concerning themselves with the temporal issue by way of subtitles - book-firsters knew the timelines and it worked for movie firsters who didn't (I am a movie firster by the way).

People keep saying the timelines were compressed... but I really don't get what that means. Just because there weren't subtitles that went "17 years later", "1 month later", "10 years ago" etc. doesn't mean that the whole story unfolded over subsequent days.

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.

Forum Admin / Moderator

May 27 2008, 8:59am

Views: 11568
You said it

I think Film 2 can make use of those 17 years in more ways than we can imagine. I mean, the whole of Film 2 can essentially be ONLY those 17 years, depicting the events narrated at the Council of Elrond (with of course relevant flashbacks to the 60 years between The Hobbit and LOTR).

I can actually now imagine Film 2 beginning with the scene with Gandalf telling Frodo "Keep it secret, keep it safe" and then:
  • Riding out from the Shire to find out about the Ring
  • Meet with Denethor, maybe see him use the Palantir, and maybe get a glimpse of young Boromir and Faramir (oooh, and have Gandalf tell them some tales of Middle-earth's history too Smile)
  • Have Aragorn track Gollum
  • Visit with Thranduil for something just so we get to see the Mirkwood elves post-Hobbit Crazy
  • Have the Rangers watch over the Shire
  • Meet Elrond and Galadriel somewhere inbetween
  • Show the Black Riders at the Lonely Mountain asking for news of a certain "Baggins". Oh, the film can actually show the Battle of Osgiliath that we see in TTT's flashback - the battle where the Black Riders force the Bridge of Osgiliath and begin the hunt for the Ring, following which Boromir rides out for Rivendell.
How cool would it be to actually see Boromir and Faramir's dream? "In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West, a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice..." It could be a very dramatic scene, with an ominous voice crying out...

Seek for the Sword that was broken
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be councels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isuldur's Bane shall waken,
And the halfling forth shall stand.

In fact, now that I think about it, I think those 17 years right there comprise a pretty solid storyline for Film 2 Blush

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.

(This post was edited by Earl on May 27 2008, 9:07am)


May 27 2008, 11:20am

Views: 3990
17 years

seems like a lot of time for Merry and Pippin to keep up their adolescent lifestyles! And for Sam to nurse his feelings for Rosie.

In Reply To
The film managed to elide the time after Bilbo's departure to Gandalf's return in such a way that we do not perceive elapsed time, whether 17 years or a few months.

In the book, Sam, Merry and Pippin are much younger than Frodo, and we only really get to know them 17 years later, when they're young adults (although we do meet the young Merry after the party).

Frodo, as we know, still looks like a young adult 17 years after the Party, because his appearance has been affected by the Ring, so the passage of 17 years in the film could be explained away for him. But it's much harder to explain those years away for the other hobbits.

(On the other hand, it wouldn't be hard to imagine a gap of a year or two - that's certainly within the bounds of credibility. And that might allow time to tell the story of what Gandalf and Aragorn were up to between the Party and the Gandalf's return.)

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.

(This post was edited by FarFromHome on May 27 2008, 11:26am)


May 27 2008, 1:08pm

Views: 4065
I'm hoping for new storylines in Film2

Those events are all exciting scenes that fans of the LotR films would like to see, but they donít really stand on their own as an independent story. Do you think any of the storylines come to a resolution within Film2? Storylines like Gandalf riding out from the Shire to find out about the Ring and Boromir travelling to Rivendell feel to me like introductions and backstory to Fellowship of the Ring- the resolution is that Bilboís ring is the One Ring and that Frodo must leave the Shire. We donít want to repeat that story in Film2.

Iím hoping that in Film2 weíll follow the main character(s) on an engaging emotional journey with a conclusion of sorts. Iím also hoping to see something new in Film2. Ideally weíll have new characters or substantially new aspects on familiar characters; even new themes and perspectives on Tolkienís mythology that werenít covered in the previous films. If Film2 ends up looking like a super-extended edition of LotR then Iíll be disappointed.

     View my Hobbit Film Adaptation Discussion

Forum Admin / Moderator

May 27 2008, 1:51pm

Views: 3954
Hmm... you have a point

That is in fact a resolution of events in FOTR, so to speak. However, I think that cleverly crafted, the "main character(s) on an engaging emotional journey with a conclusion of sorts" could be a Gandalf's vigilance finally paying off. He was the one who was ever on the alert and really set things into motion, whether it was Frodo setting out of the Shire, engaging Aragorn to track Gollum and getting the Rangers to watch the Shire, moving the Council to strike Dol Guldur, and well, finding out Bilbo's ring was the One.

Oh well, let's see what they come up with. Yet no matter what they do, I'm harbouring a secret desire to see the Gollum and Shelob scene that GDT mentioned in passing. It'll almost entirely have to be concocted on the part of the filmmakers, but, I mean, how creepy would that scene be? If GDT likes the Riddle scene and the Mirkwood spiders, how much fun would he have with Gollum and Shelob together??? Mad

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


May 27 2008, 2:22pm

Views: 3976
Gandalf's vigilance good theme

'Gandalf's vigilance' is a good theme to bring those storylines together. Adding a bit of Saruman rivalry would also spice things up a bit. I reckon Saruman is a good candidate for a character that's very different in Film2- he has to be a wise silver-tongued politician to mislead the White Council, with his treachery hidden to them.

I'm not so keen on Gandalf as a protagonist (there was a good discussion on this in an earlier thread) but he would be the likely choice for a 'strategic, prepare for the coming war' type Film2.

As for GDT loving the Mirkwood spiders- I'm sure that's exactly why he'd like to do a Shelob scene! Wink

     View my Hobbit Film Adaptation Discussion


May 27 2008, 2:35pm

Views: 3981
The question is...

Where do we get a climax for Film 2? If it's not the attack on Dol Guldor, its pretty hard to manufacture another major climax. I'm sure PJ and GDT could craft a beautiful character driven piece, but Warner et al are gonna want their Epic Movie with Big Battles (TM). Personally I've always favoured padding out the Hobbit into 2 movies with White Council material, which allows us to finish Film One with the attack on Dol Guldor and Film Two with the Battle of Five Armies.

The problem with moving to the 60 year gap is that although there's plenty of character development material, there's not much in the way of a plot, and nothing in the way of a climax. That, to me, is the real problem.


May 27 2008, 3:14pm

Views: 3959
Agree- Dol Guldur would work as a climax

I agree that an epic climax would help the Film2 story. My solution is to push the timeline forward so that the attack on Dol Guldur occurs after The Hobbit and Battle of the Five Armies. In this way the Dol Guldur attack would be the climax of Film2, with the mood of a hollow victory as Sauron escapes only to redouble his strength in Mordor.

I know this idea breaks Tolkien's timeline, but I'm not convinced it's necessary that the two battles happen simultaneously. It could be that after the dragon is slain and the orcs defeated that Gandalf's case at the White Council for attacking the Necromancer becomes stronger and leads to the attack. I think having some time between The Hobbit and Film2 would be helpful to smooth over the differences in tone between the stories and avoid needing lots of complicated flashbacks.

     View my Hobbit Film Adaptation Discussion

(This post was edited by burrahobbit on May 27 2008, 3:14pm)


May 27 2008, 3:14pm

Views: 3908
I love the Gandalf Vigilante idea

It's a really smart way to join everything together. My wish is that the second movie will be based on Gandalf, Aragorn and Gollum as central characters. If I had to choose an ending, I'll go with the attack of the orcs on Mirkwood to capture Gollum and cut to Aragorn fighting the corsairs in the south, although I know that the timeline is all wrong.

Please, give us back Glorfindel!!!


May 27 2008, 8:40pm

Views: 3878
Thank you Guillermo

It amazes me that you are able to spend time paying interest to what we are thinking with what your schedule must look like. It is much appreciated.

(This post was edited by fingolfin_nc on May 27 2008, 8:41pm)


May 27 2008, 8:58pm

Views: 3898

As I understand it, Saul Zaentz granted Harvey Weinstein the film rights to The Hobbit and LOTR. He also granted the rights to make an original "prequel" film using characters, places, and events out of the two books.

So whether The Hobbit is made into one, two, or even more films, the rights to make an original "prequel" would still be available.

The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.Ē

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May 28 2008, 12:11am

Views: 3917
And in the end...

...what you will have accomplished, will be what was meant to be. Like Tolkien writing these books: he had ideas in mind, but at times what came out on the paper was not what he originally envisioned! Yet it all worked out quite well. Smile

But that's all part of the creative process, of the discovery, of letting the material take you where it wants to go. May you have a most enjoyable journey with it!

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


May 28 2008, 1:18am

Views: 3885
*broad smile* You can't ask better than that!

I think you're right about being in that very special place of the world. Everything seems to have an organic progression where everything falls into place.

It's going to be AWESOME!

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Trust him... The Hobbit is coming!

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The Shire

Jun 2 2008, 8:18pm

Views: 3862
For Guillermo & Co: A Holm-Related HOBBIT Idea!

Firstly, I was VERY impressed with Del Toro's answers and am convinced that he'll do an even better job than Jackson did (if truly given the kind of power that Jackson indicated he'll get).

For a long time I've been struggling with the reality that Ian Holm might not be capable at his age to handle such a physically strenuous role (though I have no doubt they could appropriately de-age him by ten years to make him appear as he did in the flashback in FOTR). He is, however, the perfect Bilbo and deserves to be prominently involved in the films. Here are my thoughts:

So how could they use Holm without him actually being cast throughout the film? Simple. Holm-Bilbo is writing the first part of the Red Book of Westmarch in Rivendell as the events of LOTR are unfolding (which would be accurate according to Tolkien). After all, Bilbo WAS the ostensible author of at least part of that (fictional) manuscript. Holm's involvement could be sprinkled throughout the first movie and he might be used minimally (if at all) in the second movie. This actually would work as the older Bilbo (by Holm) could describe Bilbo in any way--close but not necessarily exactly like a younger Holm''s Bilbo would look. This would solve the "frail, increasingly ancient Holm" problem, as Holm's Bilbo without the Ring is aging rapidly in Rivendell as he writes. I think this cinematic device (The Hobbit as flashback as Bilbo writes it) would be a stunning, poignant cinematic conceit if filmed sparingly and wisely. It could all take place, in fact, between the Long Expected Party and Frodo & Co.'s Flight to the Ford.

This seems like an elegant compromise to the Holm dilemma. I can even envision a humorous bit near the beginning where Holm's Bilbo imagines himself in a wig (as in the FOTR flashback under the Misty Mountains) and scraps that image, opting for a slightly different, younger (and perhaps a bit trimmer) version of himself (conveniently played by a younger actor that somewhat resembles Holm but who doesn't need to be a dead ringer).

At any rate, the whole literary conceit (which JRRT himself used) fits in nicely with the idea of all five films coming from Bilbo's original manuscript. I love metafiction, and this narrative device would certainly be in the spirit of the professor's own creation. It's a nice tip of the hat to both Holm's brilliant performance and JRRT's brilliant "translation" of the Bilbo's/Frodo's/Sam's first hand report of the events surrounding Sauron's rise to power and the hobbits' sudden relevance late in the 3rd Age, and--of course--the War of the Ring. And there are fine opportunities to jump from past events (from and after The Hobbit) to "present" interruptions and even poignant scenes between Bilbo and old friends in Rivendell. This would have to be handled carefully, of course, but I think it could potentially be beautifully filmed by the likes of GDT, who is such a master of pacing and character interaction in his past movies.

There also would be a perfect opportunity to bookend the "you haven't aged a day" comment at the beginning of the second film: Balin comes (with Gandalf) to visit Bilbo a good many years after the events in The Hobbit. It was "long ago" when remembered by Frodo in "The Council of Elrond" in FOTR, but it would've fit nicely into the events of the coming second film and would be a good opportunity for Gandalf to note Bilbo's appearance (and for it later to make sense when Gandalf observes that Bilbo hasn't "aged a day"). This might also work nicely if after the first film the filmmakers have dispensed with Holm-Bilbo's literary conceit--what we have in that case is the "real" Bilbo unaltered or adapted by the "author" (i.e., Bilbo himself). Does that make sense?

Also, it would be a great opportunity to deal with Balin's decision to repopulate Moria, Gandalf's strong disapproval of the idea, and the awakening of the Balrog. Yeah, and you know that there is plenty of great material to flesh out that JRRT himself wrote at least in outline and usually in a good bit of detail (sometimes with dialogue) that would easily fill up film 2!

What do you think?