It appears we may finally have our explanation as to why Elijah Wood will be returning to Middle Earth as Frodo in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey next year.
The dilemma with Frodo being in the film obviously was that it takes place 60 years before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. Not being an Elf, Wizard, or slow-aging Dúnedain like Aragorn, a lowly mortal Hobbit like Frodo being in the film would seem somewhat anachronistic.
Well, Quint from Ain't It Cool News, recently had an opportunity to hang around the New Zealand set of the film for some time, and he has scooped the mystery as to why the future ring-bearer will grace the screen.
Find out below amongst some potential spoilers.
The general speculation that Frodo would be part of a prologue or recurring wrap-around story for the two-part film appears to hold true. According to the report, these scenes in the film will take place sometime just before Gandalf's arrival at Bag End at the beginning of Fellowship. This, in turn, will parallel what see when the film flashes back to his very first arrival and the beginning of Bilbo's grand adventure.
As Quint describes what he witnessed:
"In fact, the next shot was an over the shoulder on Elijah Wood hammering a sign up on Bag End’s front gate: “No Admittance Except On Party Business.” You guys should have an idea where that puts this moment in the timeline.
Martin Freeman stood in for Ian Holm, who shot all of his scenes and close-ups in London. They would sometimes play footage they’ve already shot to remind themselves of what they had done previously and to help them match up shots. Peter and crew did that for these reverse shots on Elijah and I got to see Ian as Bilbo once again. It was quite extraordinary, actually. Seeing Ian in close up, wearing the wig, the vest and the pointy ears just put a smile on my face."
As he describes the Fellowship-era scene:
"Their conversation is about Gandalf and if Bilbo thinks Gandalf will show up. Bilbo says “He wouldn’t miss a chance to let off his whiz-poppers. He’ll put on quite a show, you’ll see,” and Frodo grins, saying he’s going to go surprise him and bounds off down the path like a kid at Christmas. When I say he bounds down the path that’s not an exaggeration for illustrative purposes. He was damn near skipping, a glimpse of that pre-ring Frodo we meet in Fellowship.
After Frodo leaves the frame is very wide featuring The Shire in all its glory; The Green Dragon and mill smack dab in the middle."
This shot will apparently transition from Old Bilbo (Ian Holm) blowing smoke rings on the front porch of Bag End to the "flashback" of the primary story with text explaining that it's 60 years earlier, where Martin Freeman's younger Bilbo is doing the same thing, just before Gandalf introduces himself.
It sounds like a clever, heartfelt way to connect The Lord of the Rings trilogy to casual audiences who may be a little confused as to why we're back on Middle Earth and may not even remember Bilbo's role in those earlier films.
Additionally, it also benefits the previous films artistically by putting the Rings trilogy in the proper context as being the culmination of what we're going to see in these two films. Just as (for better or worse,) the Star Wars prequels changed the way a lot of us view the Original Trilogy, we should expect the two films of The Hobbit to enhance its previous entries, as well.