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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Beorn in Hobbit trilogy: The Story Line


Feb 10 2018, 7:36pm

Post #1 of 6 (3899 views)
Beorn in Hobbit trilogy: The Story Line Can't Post

After extensive research it seems I’ve developed enough of an idea of what was actually planned for Beorn in the two film version of the Hobbit and in Dol Goldur. I will make brief references, but won’t be providing links or page numbers as I simply don’t have the time. If you’ve watched behind the scenes footage, read the chronicles books, etc. you’ve likely come across most of this. If you have questions about any specific feel free to reach out. Most importantly, if you have any information on how these scenes were supposed to originally play out please share. I should note that P. Boyens reported that there was some thought on starting the DOS with a cinematic fight scene between Beorn and Azog’s orcs, but that seems to be only an idea and was never filmed. Concrete details below- without further ado:

• Beorn’s introduction: As in the Desolation of Smaug theatrical edition, Beorn in bear form chases the traveling company into his home. They spend the night and hope for the best.
• Orc head on a stake: In the middle of the night, Beorn attacks the orcs and captures one that he interrogates like the book. Mikael Persbrandt referenced this scene during interviews before the films were released. Perspant said that this scene made him uncomfortable. In the DOS extended edition behind the scenes, Beorn is heard several times saying the line “he talked his head off” obviously a reference to the orc he decapitated the night before. Several pictures of the orc head on the stake have also appears in the behind the scenes footage as well as the Chronicles book.
• Beorn meets the Dwarves: This scene seems to be unaltered. Beorn was always going to meet the Dwarves for the first-time despite the fact that they spent the night in his house.
• Queer Lodging: Beorn was originally going to give the backstory of Azog. P. Boynes talks about this in the extended edition. It appears as though this was filmed, but given to Balin for the trilogy and obviously appeared in AUJ not the DOS. The rest of the Queer Lodging scene remained as is although Beorn is setup as more of a nemesis to Azog. The original Azog design (now Dungeon Master orc) even had bear claws on his shoulders/Bolg model does the same. The “talked his head of line” also appears in this scene.
• The Necromancer: As in the extended edition of DOS, Beorn and Gandalf discuss the tombs of the Nazgul and the Necromancer. This peaks Beorn’s interest and will pay off when he visits Dol Goldur to find the truth for himself (likely would have happened in the DOS).
• Beorn in Dol Goldur: Beorn goes to visit Dol Goldur and discover the truth for himself. It appears as though there was going to be a major orc attack. Beorn likely would have been in human form for this. We know this was going to happen as it was actually featured as a Lego set. It was also referenced several times behind the scenes in the DOS extended edition. Apparently Beorn was going to eventually be overcome, captured and put into a cage where he was to be tortured. Anyone who has followed the Beorn storyline has seen the pictures circulating of Beorn in his cage and design references are also included in the Chronicles book. There’s several references in the Hobbit behind the scenes footage and Chronicles books of what was follow. Apparently as Radaghast left Dol-Guldor with the wounded Gandalf he would notice Beorn caged and lead a daring escape/rescue mission. Radaghast and Gandalf would lead a chase and eventually rescue Beorn who would probably have burst forth in Bear form after being set free from his cage and decimated the orcs who once held him captive. All three heroes escape and as seen in the behind the behind the scenes footage from the BATFA, there was a deleted scene where Gandalf and Radaghast try to talk Beorn into fighting in the Battle of Five Armies. Beorn, although grateful for their help, still feels they meddle far too much and declines. Like Return of the King and the Army of Dead, I assume we were to be left hanging on whether Beorn would show up. Thus for when he shows up to sway the battle, we’d still be surprised for a climatic results.
• Battle of Five Armies: Beorn was also originally going to play a much larger role in the actual Battle. Behind the scenes pre-viz from the BOFTA showed a much longer scene which included Beorn in bear-form taking down a giant troll captain. Beorn was also going to rescue the wounded Thorin and carry him to safety as a bear before transforming back into a human and being present for the funeral scene as we see in BOFTA EE.

So, now the big question, why the changes? Although I would have loved to see all of this some of the changes are pretty obvious. For better or worse (probably worse), when the decision was made to go from two films to three, Azog had to be set earlier thus for it would have been too late for Beorn to do this in DOS. It kind of makes sense that the chase and rescue of Beorn on Dol Guldor was cut. Let’s face it would have probably felt really forced. Also, how are we to believe that Beorn could sway the entire battle at the mountain if he’s captured by a few orcs and tortured in Dol Guldor. It would have been cool to see Beorn go to Dol Guldor, but without being captured what would be the point story wise as it would be a repeat of what Gandalf would see? What I don’t understand is why not show Beorn interrogating the orc and Warg the morning before meeting the dwarves? It would have set him up as even more terrifying and built up his defeat of the orcs in BOFTA…it’s also straight out of the books. The bigger question is WHY we didn’t see more of Beorn in the actual Battle of the Five Armies. He’s an extremely important part of the overall battle in the book and his very short cameo in the film felt far too small and even insignificant compared to the rest of the action which is a huge shame given Beorn’s importance in the book and also seems like such a wasted cinematic experience.

If you know anything about why these choices were made I’d love to hear more. Cheers!

(This post was edited by grimbeorn15 on Feb 10 2018, 7:37pm)

Chen G.

Feb 10 2018, 7:55pm

Post #2 of 6 (3881 views)
More like the book, but less cinematic [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
What I don’t understand is why not show Beorn interrogating the orc and Warg the morning before meeting the dwarves? It would have set him up as even more terrifying and built up his defeat of the orcs in BOFTA…it’s also straight out of the books.

Well, how would you have incorporated it into the footage? Would it be prior to his reveal in bear-form at the front of the film? or after Gandalf informs the Dwarves that the house they escaped to was in fact Beorn's? In each case, the appearance of Beorn, either as a bear or human, would have been spoiled, and the propulsion of the film would have been damaged.

In Reply To
The bigger question is WHY we didn’t see more of Beorn in the actual Battle of the Five Armies. He’s an extremely important part of the overall battle in the book.

Given the way his arrival is nestled into the duel between Thorin and Azog, adding more footage of him just wouldn't work from an editing perspective. Its the same reason they removed Dwalin's scene from that sequence: They needed to focus on Thorin and Azog.

All these "in the book" arguments are irrelevant, I'm afraid. What matters is telling an engaging story, cinematically.

(This post was edited by Chen G. on Feb 10 2018, 8:00pm)


Feb 12 2018, 2:23pm

Post #3 of 6 (3814 views)
"You will ruin for my next movie if you do this." [In reply to] Can't Post

The actor himself may have become problematic.


Jackson may have decided to cut down Beorn's scenes because of worries over Persbrandt's drug use.

I met a Balrog on the stair.
He had some wings that weren't there.
They weren't there again today.
I wish he would just fly away.


Feb 14 2018, 1:12pm

Post #4 of 6 (3710 views)
Yes, I think that was the case... [In reply to] Can't Post

Drug use
"Persbrandt was arrested twice in 2011 for cocaine use, and received a fine. In April 2014, he was sentenced to five months imprisonment for another cocaine offence, but on appeal this was reduced to 75 hours' community service."

(This post was edited by Silmaril on Feb 14 2018, 1:14pm)


Feb 16 2018, 4:42pm

Post #5 of 6 (3622 views)
I was Beorn under a wandrin' star [In reply to] Can't Post

♪I was Beorn under a wandrin' star
Paws are made for travlin’, claws are made to hack
I've never seen a sight that didn't look better looking back
I was Beorn under a wandrin' star♪


‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor


Mar 26 2018, 9:39pm

Post #6 of 6 (2840 views)
I find the what if of Beorn in the GDTduology more interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Ron Perleman was going have a more important role and would have been the hero or u-catastrophe at the BoFA as he did in the book saving a wounded Thorin. Bolg would have been the leader of the orc army at the BoFA. Beorn's size and desing was much more impressive and very different from Michael Persbrandt and thea marginally larger than normal grizzly bear he was in the PJ version.

Unfortunately once Thorin was elevated to co-equal status with Bilbo as the protagonist, the trilogy had to be about his story arc as well. With the much younger Richard Armitage playing a more Aragorn/heroic version of the character the singular moment in final arc of the battle had to be his. In the book, he led a a mighty charge but fell and had to be rescued by Beorn. In the book, even the Eagles were insufficient to turn the tide and Beorn arrived in biblical fashion to destroy and scatter the enemy. I would have loved this but it wouldn't have worked to the benbefit of the Thorin story arc PJ, Fran, and Philapa had told over the three movies. It would have diminished it.

Over all I love these movies, though there were definitely things I would have liked to have been handled differently. My preference would have been for the GDT version but I am happy to have the PJ versions when he had to leave the project.


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