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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
What Smaug might look like - a concept

News from Bree

Sep 5 2013, 11:01pm

Post #1 of 16 (2778 views)
What Smaug might look like - a concept Can't Post

Continuing the speculation of what Smaug will look like in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 13 year old Ringer Manuel sent us his vision of what Smaug will be, based on the glimpses we've had so far.

What Smaug might look like: A concept By: Manuel Ferreira

I wanted to make an animation starring Smaug which harmonises between Peter Jackson's films and my own imagination. But for that I needed references. Right now, we don't have many, but the ones we have are enough for a concept -- a concept that I wanted to share with you!

With The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer, we got a clear picture of Smaug's muzzle and eyes. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we saw Smaug diving into Erebor's treasure, and although we cannot see Smaug himself, we do see his horns covered in gold. Assuming that Smaug's look won't change between the films, we know that he has four horns in each side of his head and one spike in the middle. Joining the horns to the muzzle we saw in the trailer gives us an idea of what his entire head would be like. I drew them together but took some precautions: Smaug was diving so his horns got -- stretched -- and blurry during the picture (after all, he was at movement) so I gave them a shape. For his neck, I simply followed the spikes assuming they're in some sort of sequence.

For the side of his face, I did the same thing, only picturing the horns side on.

Another body part of Smaug that we clearly see is his tail. It's visible when he breaks the gates of Erebor, and one feature that caught my attention was that the tail is forked.

There are almost no images of Smaug's body, but we can (just) see the proportions of his wings, neck and tail with his head. Mixing that with elements of the common adaptations of Smaug with a realistic tone gives us a really cool dragon. As for the color, I personally think that he is a really dark red with purple/dark tone, and exposing the color of the trailer's Smaug to daylight, my thoughts were confirmed. This is a concept of what we can expect for the next films, but I honestly hope that PJ's Smaug, is way cooler than mine!

For my animation I added Benedict Cumberbatch's voice to this Smaug. You can see it here.

About the Author
Hi, my name is Manuel Ferreira, I'm 13 years old and live in Portugal. I'm a recent Tolkien fan, and discovered Middle-Earth through Peter Jackson last year. Since then, I've started to read J.R.R. Tolkien's books, watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy and basically became a die-hard fan. Middle-Earth is currently my inspiration for my draws and videos.

(This post was edited by Silverlode on Sep 6 2013, 7:10pm)

Tol Eressea

Sep 6 2013, 5:25am

Post #2 of 16 (1831 views)
Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

I honestly was a bit worried by the curvature around the lip- I have a feeling PJ&co did that as part of attempting to be able to portray Smaug speaking since Ben did a mo-cap for him, and for a bit I didn't like it much.

But, seeing this (very believable) Smaug, and being thunderstruck that a 13 year old kid came up with this and figured it out, is absolutely amazing!

Looks like WETA (or whoever designed Smaug) pulled it off again Laugh

I think that a Smaug who looks like this would indeed be an extremely well designed dragon, and his face looked less and less human while still retaining that ability to portray human speech.

I hope the Smaug/Bilbo scene will be as good if not better as the Bilbo/Gollum scene- I cannot wait to see that!

I think this Smaug has excellent potential to be a very intimidating, and very frightening, dragon- and though I was leery of his eye glowing at first, I think given him to be a fire drake that may actually work out quite well, if done right.

Simply amazing!

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.


Sep 6 2013, 6:19am

Post #3 of 16 (1794 views)
Wonderful! [In reply to] Can't Post

This rendition of Smaug is incredible and matches closely what we have seen so far. It is a very detailed and accurate analysis of the many "shadowy" glimpses we've seen so far.

Now if only this concept art was fully rendered into a realistic cgi-model, it would be a very awesome dragon indeed - worthy of The Hobbit's one and only Smaug Wink

'A Tolkienist's Perspective' Blog
'How Peter Jackson inches closer to making 'The Silmarillion'

Lieutenant of Dol Guldur

Sep 6 2013, 7:16am

Post #4 of 16 (1834 views)
Amazing. One single thing perhaps... [In reply to] Can't Post

I really like your design but if you ask me, his wings have to be larger. Imagine they have to take him into the sky. I think Peter Jackson and his friends at WETA will try to make him biological realistic.

Smaug is very heavy so his wings have to be bigger. But all in all your designs are amazing! Thank you for your time! :)

"There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power."


Sep 6 2013, 7:39am

Post #5 of 16 (1795 views)
no words... [In reply to] Can't Post

Just stunning and my huge respect for an 13year old(!!!) young man for this affort and passion.


Sep 6 2013, 9:26am

Post #6 of 16 (1773 views)
Great Work but... [In reply to] Can't Post

the whole form is a bit too cute I think.

Id prefer more something like this:

Exept the Face of course. That looks awesome in your post.


Sep 6 2013, 12:09pm

Post #7 of 16 (1672 views)
Wow... great work! [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope the creator of this will be able to use his talent in the future :)

I will be a very happy dragon-lover if the crown turns out to look like this. Would be close to a perfect Smaug.

A dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of mens imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold. J.R.R. Tolkien

Words of wisdom that should be remembered - both by critics, purists and anyone in between.


Sep 6 2013, 12:13pm

Post #8 of 16 (1664 views)
WOW [In reply to] Can't Post

Great work by that kid. Can't wait to see Smaug and finally see this great beast of Middle-earth come to life.


Sep 6 2013, 4:53pm

Post #9 of 16 (1582 views)
Excellent! [In reply to] Can't Post

Very well done Manuel. You have a great eye and talent to go with it

KasDel the Last

"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." Gildor


Sep 6 2013, 4:53pm

Post #10 of 16 (1583 views)
Nice job! [In reply to] Can't Post

The biggest issue with any dragon design is the body in relation to the wings.

Here is an attempt to analyze the issues:

http://img.gawkerassets.com/...e91njpg/original.jpg The Pterodactyl form demonstrates one real functioning model.

However, note the real scale to humans:

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 6 2013, 4:58pm)


Sep 6 2013, 6:16pm

Post #11 of 16 (1564 views)
Love it [In reply to] Can't Post

Although as others have said, the wings could be a bit bigger and maybe the tail a bit longer, but that's just nitpicking on my part. Great job!

I'm still not convinced that Smaug will have a crown of horns though, after paying close attention to the trailer. Although i hope he has after seeing thisSmile

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 6 2013, 7:15pm

Post #12 of 16 (1580 views)
Video link restored. [In reply to] Can't Post

Embedded videos have this odd tendency to vanish when a post is edited. Apparently when I got rid of the WordPress gobbledegook last night the video embed disappeared and I didn't notice. Apologies to all! I've put in a clicky link to it instead.


"Dark is the water of Kheled-zram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone."


Sep 6 2013, 8:59pm

Post #13 of 16 (1534 views)
Fantastic work Manuel! [In reply to] Can't Post

Cant wait to compare it in December.

Well done!!!!! SmileCool

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!


Sep 8 2013, 5:52am

Post #14 of 16 (1412 views)
After watching AUJ in 3D at home [In reply to] Can't Post

sorry to tell you he's definitely got horns on his head and all around his eye too.

Never noticed it in the 2D version.

Bag ENZ Home of the Hobbit *with thanks to cameragod ;D*

One by one they faded, and fell into shadow...

One book to rule them all
One book to find them
One book to bring them all
And in TORn bind them
In the land of TORnadoes...where the brilliant play


Sep 8 2013, 11:13am

Post #15 of 16 (1390 views)
Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that he definitely has horns on his head, but i'm not convinced that he'll have a large crown of horns like depicted in Manuel's picture or in the AUJ opening scene. We know that Smaug's design wasn't finalised in AUJ, so even though that doesn't mean he'll look very different now, it does tell us that we can't really be too sure of his appearance based on what we've seen in AUJ.

And you don't have to be sorrySmile I kinda want him to have large horns aswell. I just don't think he will, based on what i've seen in the DoS trailer.

Grey Havens

Sep 9 2013, 6:39pm

Post #16 of 16 (1365 views)
Yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the body to wings scaling on the final Smaug may be more similar to what we see in an LotR Fell Beast.

But this is an excellent stab at figuring out how Smaug might look, Manuel! Kudos to you.


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