Though "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" won't be hitting theaters until December, director Peter Jackson gave fans a real treat today by screening actual footage from the film during a live-video Q&A broadcast online.
The scene in question (the first we've seen from the forthcoming "Hobbit" installment) saw Gandalf (Ian McKellen) venturing into the dreaded High Fells to solve the mystery of how the poisonous Morgul-blade - used to attack Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) in "An Unexpected Journey" - found its way out of the tomb of the dreaded Witch-King of Angmar (i.e. one of the nine men transformed into "Ringwraiths" after surrendering to Sauron's power). Here's how Jackson himself set up the scene:
"It's part of the appendices that Tolkien wrote, and it's part of the expansion of 'The Hobbit' that we're doing," he said. "It's not in the actual 'Hobbit' book itself, but it is building on the storyline of the Necromancer and Dol Guldur, which we just talked about. If you remember Galadriel in 'Unexpected Journey,' she was commenting on the Morgul-blade that Radagast had recovered from Dol Guldur, and she talks about it belonging to the King of Angmar, who was buried in the High Fells, which are a mountainous range...So in 'The Desolation of Smaug,' Gandalf goes to the High Fells to investigate how this blade may have got out into the world. The High Fells are the tombs where the nine [Nazgul, a.k.a. Ringwraiths] are buried."
Though the footage previously appeared online immediately following the Q&A, it's since been removed at Warner Bros.' request. However, here's a brief description, with quotes, of what was depicted:
Gandalf enters the ominous underground chamber that houses Angmar's tomb, his glowing staff held forth to illuminate the dank space. The tension builds as he navigates a small walkway bordering a dark abyss, then enters the actual tomb to see it lying open. As he creeps up to peer inside, several small birds fly out of it, frightening him. Gandalf then turns to see Radagast standing behind him, a confused look on his face.
Gandalf: "Oh, you!"
Radagast: "Oh yes, it's me. I'm here. Why am I here, Gandalf? This is not a nice place to meet."
[As Radagast speaks, the birds flutter around his head. At a certain point he removes his hat and allows them to nest in his hair, then replaces the hat.]
Gandalf: "No, it is not."
[Gandalf and Radagast exit the tomb]
Radagast: "These are dark spells, Gandalf. Old and full of hate. Who is buried here?"
Gandalf: "If he had a name, it's long since been lost. He would have been known only as a servant of evil. One of a number. One of nine."
Radagast: "Who would break into such a foul place?"
Gandalf: "No one. Those tombs were opened from the inside."
So there you have it. If the footage appears online again with Warner Bros.' blessing, we'll be sure to post it. Otherwise, you can look forward to more "Hobbit" video blogs from Jackson throughout the year, as promised by the director at the tail end of the chat.
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" hits theaters on December 13.