For Tolkien fans in Fresno and all over the world, this day marks the end of a long wait. At Saturday's Warner Bros. panel at Comic-Con 2014, the first teaser trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the third and final installment in Peter Jackson's epic adaption of J. R. R. Tolkien's classic children's book The Hobbit, made it debut to a crowded hall of hungry fans and today, that teaser has officially been released to the rest of the world.
The teaser, which can be viewed here, shows Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman) reflecting on how one day he will remember everything that happened on his long journey since he ran out of his door in Bag End. He will remember the good, the bad, those ho survived, and those that did not. As Bilbo says this, we are treated to images of some of the other characters, including the elf maiden Tauriel (played by Evangeline Lily) and the wizard Gandalf the Gray (played by Sir Ian McKellen), as they appear to be readying themselves for a major battle. We also get a glimpse of the dragon Smaug (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) sacking the village of Lake Town, and the aftermath of this tragedy the following morning.
The the trailer begins a montage of shots cut to an audio sample from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King of the hobbit Peregrin "Pippin" Took (played by Billy Boyd) singing a song "The Edge of Night", which was partially adapted from Tolkien's poem "A Walking Song" from the novel, albeit used in a significantly different context. The song was sung by Pippin to Denethor, the Stewart of Gondor, for the Stewart's amusement; however the melody itself, while brief, is powerful and haunting as Pippin sings about dark times and how "All shall fade" in the battle against Mordor. Inter cut to Pippin singing this song was Faramir, the Stewart's son, throwing his life away at his father;s request in a hopeless attempt to retake the fallen city of Osgiliath, a battle in which Faramir nearly looses his life.
Incidentally, the first line of Pippin's song, "Home is behind, the world ahead," is said by Gandalf early on in the first film of the Hobbit series, An Unexpected Journey, making he song's use for this teaser for the final film oddly fitting.
As for the footage we see over the song, we see villagers taking to the mountains they flee the smoldering Lake Town, the Company of Dwarves working to repair damage done to Erebor in their battle with Smaug, a contemplating Bard the Bowman (played by Luke Evans), Legolas's father Thranduil (played by Lee Pace) walking through a ruined site, a image of Galadriel (played by Cate Blanchett) kissing the seemingly fallen Gandalf in grief (supposedly within Dol Guldur, where Gandalf was last seen imprisoned in The Desolation of Smaug), the dwarves walking through their halls of gold as Thorin (played by Richard Armitage) grows more and more consumed with greed, and all thirteen of our dwarves marching in full armor, prepared for the battle that awaits them. We then see Legolas (played by Orlando Bloom) apparently conversing with Bard, then the army of Lake Town parting way for Bard once he is in their presence (which, if you are a fan of the book, you will have an idea why). After a curious shot of what appears to be the dwarves driving a animal-drawn carriage across the ice (which is then attacked by wargs), we see Bard ask, "Will you have peace, or war?", to which Thorin, in full armor of a Dwarvish king proclaims, "I will have war!" The rest of the montage is dynamic shots of the battle itself as three sides--dwarves, elves, men--all come to blows, meanwhile another, greater force, an massive army of orcs, march to the battle themselves; there is even a brief flash of the Eye of Sauron before the song ends. The teaser concluded with Thorin before his company of dwarves, asking them "Will you follow me, one last time?" as we see a few final shots of Legolas and Tauriel, Gandalf, and of course Bilbo.
This trailer does it's job very well in little time. It it fully aware that the end in upon us and that, since this final chapter in essentially all about one massive battle, it makes it clear that a lot of loss and death are about to come. The use of Pippin's song from The Return of the King was brilliant for how it's sets the proper tone, its brief length, and even the self-referential reason mentioned above. Say what you will about this trilogy and how it is bloated, overly long and perhaps fails to live up to the standards of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it cannot be denied that this final installment is promising a lot for fans. Let's all cross our fingers and hope it delivers.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is slated for release in the United States on December 17, 2014.