Dec. 13--Forget Ironman and Thor.
Audiences' favorite heroic, humble and hairy-footed hobbit finally returns to theaters in the much anticipated "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," now playing at Tinseltown and Movies at Meadville.
The sequel to 2012's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is part two of director Peter Jackson's prequel trilogy to the award-winning "Lord of the Rings" films. All six films are based on the fantasy fiction written by J.R.R. Tolkien.
But before rejoining our precious Bilbo Baggins on his unexpected journeys, here are a few quick refreshers.
Where story left off
Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) was perfectly happy with his ordinary, uneventful life in the Shire until wizard Gandalf the Grey and a band of dwarves -- Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Nori, Dori and Ori -- show up unannounced. With Bilbo reluctantly in tow, they set out across Middle-earth to reclaim the dwarves' kingdom Erebor from the evil dragon Smaug. As the group struggles to overcome several dangers along the way, Bilbo has a fateful encounter with a strange creature and a magical ring.
What happens now
With a magical ring as his secret weapon, Bilbo rejoins the dwarves on their journey to the Lonely Mountain of Erebor, though more peril awaits them -- including giant spiders, dangerous wood elves and their first encounter with Smaug.
New 'Hobbit' highlights
- Smaug -- the dragon that guards Erebor and all of its riches -- is voiced by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays opposite Freeman in the BBC hit "Sherlock Holmes."
- The fair-haired Legolas (Orlando Bloom), a main character from "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, makes a dashing reappearance in "Desolation of Smaug."
- Woodland elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) doesn't appear anywhere in Tolkien's actual work and is one of the only females characters in the film.
- Where in Middle-earth is everyone? Follow the group's journey through the fictional land with the help of an interactive Google Map, http://middle-earth.thehobbit.com.
"The Hobbit: There and Back Again," the final film in the prequel trilogy, is expected to hit theaters in December 2014.
(c)2013 the Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.)
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Original headline: Refresh your 'Hobbit' knowledge with these fast facts
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