The rumor mills continue to whet appetites of fans who have been waiting the better part of a decade for The Hobbit to finally hit the big screen. On the heels of the latest news about scheduling being possibly shifted to accommodate long-time favorite Martin Freeman for the role of main character Bilbo Baggin, fan site TheOneRing provides some updates on the film's status and some possible changes (albeit minor) to the plot. It seems that our hero Bilbo may come across a lot more badass than we were lead to believe in the novel. -- Well, if you consider the concept of NOT lying on the ground unconscious while the epic climax known as "The Battle of Five Armies" takes place to be "badass," anyway. Also, with the veil of secrecy still firmly covering the mere idea of whether or not this film is moving forward, it seems there may also be more encouraging news in the frustrating process that has kept this film from production for several years.
As TheOneRing posts:
"According to our spy, if things go well with MGM and Spyglass in the next few weeks, ‘The Hobbit’ will head to production in January, pending negotiations with Freeman and filming could tie up actors for a year. (January happens to be an excellent weather month to shoot at the Hobbiton set.)"
This statement corroborates last month's report that Spyglass Entertainment had leaped a critical hurdle in the negotiations process to rescue the bankrupt MGM by creating a stake in the company. This report certainly gives the impression that with $1.9 billion on the table, those negotiations may soon conclude successfully, allowing the film to finally move forward.
Oh, but what about those "plot changes?" Well it seems that additional info was "inadvertently" drudged-up in a character summary, which seems to imply some changes from the book-to-film translation.
"Bilbo is described as “charming . . . is renowned for his dry and quirky sense of humor. There is an appealing vulnerability about him. Although . . . he doesn’t have huge courage he does become, particularly in the last battle, very brave."
The statement which specifies Bilbo finding "huge courage" at a point "particularly in the last battle" has led to speculation that he will have a much bigger involvement in the climactic Battle of Five Armies than the book, which had him laid out on the ground unconscious, safely concealed by the ring of power, which rendered him invisible. Of course, the uniqueness of that final battle, was that circumstances would find every group that Bilbo, Gandalf, and the group of Dwarves have encountered throughout their adventure congregated outside the Lonely Mountain looking for a piece of pilfered Dragon treasure. Things would then heat up when some angry goblins arrive and force some unconventional alliances. It's kind of like the end of The Blues Brothers, except without the cool car chases.
While Bilbo was mostly pacifistic in the book, a film obviously needs more visual dramatic elements for our protagonist and this change, if legit, does seem more than reasonable. His involvement in the final battle may just be more in passing (which would be an upgrade from sleeping through the whole shindig,) or we just may see him don some small armor and get into the swing of things, just as his Hobbit successors Merry and Pippin would years later in The Lord of the Rings.
Peter Jackson made plenty of changes to The Lord of the Rings which made it more conducive for a film, many of which were a lot more critical than this. And for the most part, those changes have proven themselves to be necessary. We need to see Bilbo's journey come completely full circle from the meek little man that we'll see of him in the beginning. Seeing him take the field with trusty sword Sting to shed some goblin and warg blood would undoubtedly drive that point home better than being some passive stumble-bum that saves the day in spite of himself.
Anyone out there familiar with the book? Do you think the change is justified?