The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies SDCC Panel

Elijah Wood, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis, Graham McTavish, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Presented by Steven Colbert.

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  • Jackson said he’s not done with the movie yet, adding he’s editing but “there’s a lot more than juing”st edit, as they’re still doing motion-capture and animation for the big action sequences.

  • This was the first time that some of the actors had met. Cumberbatch said he and Blanchett had a scene together but never met during productio

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  • Colbert as

  • ked Jackson if he’d thought about the fact that he’s been thinking about this series for 20 years, “a full generation”, and the look on Jackson’s face was a mixture of exhaustion and slight embarrassment.

  • When Colbert pointed out that Jackson now owes three more films, since he turned one book (The Hobbit) into a trilogy, Jackson replied, “I’m sure if Warners could find a way to do that, they would certainly do it.”

  • Colbert straight up asked Wood, “Why don’t you age?”

  • Regarding the tone of the films, Jackson reiterated that it’s a progression towards the more dramatic tone of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, adding that there’s a lot of death and tragedy Battlein of the Five Armies.

  • Boyens revealed that Jackson had some funny ideas of how to include Tom Bombadil in the trilogy.

  • The first wish list of casting that Boyens and Jackson prepared had Cate Blanchett as the top choice to play Galadriel.

  • Cumberbatch plays both Sauron and Smaug in the film, saying the difference between the two characters is that one is actually killable.

  • Cumberbatch said that it’s much harder for the other actors to act opposite tennis balls than it is for him to play the motion-capture characters, saying he was just “throwing myself around a carpeted floor like a lunatic.”

  • Blanchett said she played Bard in a high school production of The Hobbit, but revealed that we’ll get to see Galadriel “losing it” in Five Armies.  Blanchett added, “I lose my shit.”

  • Colbert asked Boyens if she has recovered from him crushing her in their Tolkein trivia contest.  Once the contest was over, Colbert’s wife came up to Boyens and said, “I think this is the greatest night of his life.”

  • Evans revealed that he and Aidan Turner jumped out of a helicopter at one point on a break from production and spent some time on a glacier.  He said he could reveal this now because he’s out of contract.

  • Bloom said that he, Wood, Dominicand Monaghan were talking the other day about applying for residency in New Zealand.

  • Wood said that he read The Hobbit as a child and called it a “big, big book” for him, but he’s yet to revisit the Lord of the Rings novels.

  • Lilly said she loved reading Lord of the Rings so much that when she got to the point where 20 pages were left in Return of the King, she shut her book because she didn’t want it to end. She said she still hasn’t read them.

  • Serkis said that when he met Peter and Fran in London in the 90s, they didn’t really know exactly how Gollum would be portrayed visually but they wanted an actor on set to interact with everyone else.  “It changed my life,” he added.

  • On Serkis’ birthday he was on the set of pick-up shooting for Return of the King, and when Jackson asked him to lead King Kong he realized he’d never be going back to the life he had before.  “It’s anti-typecasting in a way—I can play anything!”

  • Colbert pointed out that every battle scene nowadays has an echo of Jackson’s work in the initial trilogy, and Jackson replied that he was grateful for the fact that he likely influenced numerous future filmmakers.

  • Blachett said it was a great joy to work extensively with McKellen in The Hobbit, since she barely got to share scenes with the actor in Lord of the Rings.

  • Jackson said they didn’t really use any of the original costumes in The Hobbit because they treasure them now and hope to display them in a museum.  However, Blanchett and Bloom’s wigs were the same.

  • Jackson has a warehouse full of old miniatures in a “secret location”, which Colbert described enthusiastically.  Jackson added they’ll probably use some of them for the museum as well.


  • Might we see an even longer cut of the Lord of the Rings trilogy down the road?  Jackson said there are still a few scenes that were shot that haven’t been seen, but not many.  He cited a scene between younger versions of Arwen and Aragon, when they met.  Jackson said they “might” try and put them back in, but the problem is all of the scenes are somewhere on seven million feet of film in a WB storage unit.  He added, “If there’s enough interest from people, maybe they will [let us dig into them].”

  • On the frustration of working with CG characters, Serkis said, “Although there’s technology involved in making characters like Gollum, really it’s exactly the same.  All you need is the eyes of another actor to connect to.”  Pace added that if everyone’s imagination on set is alive, “it really gets cool.”

  • Blanchett said out of any director she’s ever worked with, Peter and Fran were the most descriptive when it came to explaining what would fill the green screen that surrounded the sets.

  • On the prequel-esque nature of The Battle of Five Armies, Boyens reiterated that they pulled from Toklein’s appendices to make the transition more effective.

  • Jackson also announced aHobbitfe fan-lowship contest in which 75 people plus a partner will be flown to New Zealand to screen a cut of Five Armies and tour some of Jackson’s production facilities.  Information is available on the official Facebook page.