How Could the Remaining Hobbit Films Run Three Hours Apiece? Nine Theories From An Expert

Image by New Line Cinema, via the Hobbit Blog

Image by New Line Cinema, via the Hobbit Blog – Bombur is fat! It’s hilarious!

So, I finally saw The Hobbit last night. And while I have a lot of thoughts on the subject that I haven’t quite compiled yet, I do have some theories about how they might go about making the next two films last a comparable three hours apiece. You see, at first it was hard for me to imagine just what was going to be in film two–let alone three. Where are the stopping points? How will the narrative work? Which plotlines are we following? Why are the mountains fighting!? (Okay, that last one is another issue…) But I think I’ve figured some things out. I am, after all, an Expert in Hobbit Matters. I have a certificate. I swear.

I will say, I am a fan of the three-movie arc. I mean, more hobbits? I’m all for that. Doubtful? Fear not. After seeing the first film, and noting some of the pacing issues and drawn out scenes, I’ve have ventured deep into the darkest places of my imagination to provide you with some spectacular theories for the potential future films. You know, with the exception of The Empire Strikes Back I’d say second movies and second books are often the hardest to pull off… especially if you’ve only got one book (and ancillary bits here and there) to pull from. So these have to be really, really solid.

Without further ado, here’s nine theories that might fill in the six hours from there and back again:

Elaborate beard braiding scenes. There is a huge proliferation of dwarf hair in The Hobbit. And really, I understand. It’s the only way we can visually tell apart the dwarves, considering there’s thirteen of them and they’re all introduced at the same time. But I’ve spent a lot of time wondering just how Bombur got that single loop braid going, to say nothing of the elaborate coif of Dori. So the producers suggest some tutorials on the subject might be a good way to fill in some of the space, and collaborate with Pinterest to cross-promote. “Och, pin now, plait later!”

More songs! We already know that there’s some good voices among the dwarves. I will admit that the rendition of “Far Over Misty Mountains Cold” (embedded below) was one of the high points of the first film. But why stop at ancestral dirges? The screenwriters seem pretty keen on adding extra material, so how about some other musical numbers? Gandalf could sing “My Pointy Hat Trick” in a nod to an old Internet meme, or Bilbo could sing an ode to all his favorite foods, or an “Ode to a Lost Handkerchief.” With enough choreography and lyrics, that’d net at least ten or fifteen minutes.

A sexy stare-off between Kili and Thorin. There were lots of smoldering glances in the film, and the producers know their audience. Without Orlando Bloom to hold up the sexy factor throughout the entire Hobbit series, someone’s got to hold up the flag as reigning hottie. So the producers film a scene with Kili and Thorin in an enclosed cavern or something and just have the camera pan back and forth between sultry stares; they reason it’d be a great way to spin some tape and supply plenty of fodder for future memes. Of course, all that time gazing at each other’s amazing handsomeness, it means they eventually go seeking their human mother, because clearly they can’t be cut from the same fabric as the rest of the bulbous-nosed dwarves.

An epic poetry slam. Poetry was huge in the time of The Hobbit and Bilbo was one of its staunchest supporters. Jackson and company know this. Heck, you can even hear Tolkien reading his own work! But they have a feeling that old Mithrandir and Elrond know a thing or two about poetry slam contests. So they pit them against each other in the second film, and maybe even invite Thranduil along. The winner gets bragging rights and dibs on the first ship to the Undying Lands. Elves are magical, so they don’t have to even be in the same room. So a psychic/holographic poetry slam is born. There’s tons of material in Tolkien’s extended canon, so it really wouldn’t even require much in the way of work on the screenwriter’s parts. And that’s always a plus.

A half-hour flashback to Aragorn as a kid in Rivendell. As seasoned Tolkienists know well, our favorite Dunedain is around 87 years old when he first appears in The Lord of the Rings. Kids are a great demographic to reach, and since there’s only one hobbit, the producers decide that a side story of little Aragorn gamboling around Rivendell would be a great way to achieve that coveted niche. Bonus, Arwen shows up as his nanny in disguise. Foreshadowing ftw! Plus, it makes for a great line of action figures for the under-5 crowd.

Old-School Arda.We’re talking The Silmarillion. Bilbo takes Gandalf aside and asks how this all happened, and we get an hour of the majesty of the long, detailed joy that is Tolkien’s most epic work. Forget all the elves with confusing “F” names, and forget the huge costs: it’s animated, a la the cutscenes from Dragon Age II. Cel shading. Minimal movement. It’s shiny! And informative. Two tastes that taste great together. And of course, they squeeze in a musical number or two. The whole universe was sung into existence, after all.

Upon arriving in Laketown, the producers could opt for an “in your seat” tour, where, like in the Star Tours ride in Disneyworld, you get a first-person view of the entire place. For approximately thirty-six minutes, you walk the streets, paddle boats, and look forlornly up at the Lonely Mountain. The 48 fps makes you feel like you’re actually there, and you don’t miss a single sparkle or shimmer on the water. They can also consider smell-o-vision, so you can smell the fetid fish rotting on the docks and smokey stench from Smaug.

Lots and lots of fat Bombur jokes. Really, it never stops being funny. So, rather than imbue the rotund dwarf with any recognizable personality, they opt for visual pranks instead. One includes Bombur getting all the way to the top of the Lonely Mountain, only to roll all the way down into a pile of, you guessed it, manure! Another features a feast scene where he eats for about twenty minutes straight, and the other dwarves take bets on when he finally barfs.

Twelve love interests for the dwarves. You know, there are dwarf women. There are even some glimpses of them in the first film. Oddly, the producers decided to forgo the bearded version. But hey, how about some wacky romantic comedy antics along the way? Hoping to cater to women (because, as we all know, while there are few women in LoTR there’s almost none in The Hobbit) and pass the Bechdel test, we are introduced to Thora, Dora, Ora, Nora, Bifa, Boffa, Bomba, Gloina, Oina, Filia, Kilia, Balina, and Dwalina. Their separate adventures trailing the men they are so devoted to, and their somewhat less exciting journey, takes up at least half of the other two films.

Okay, that’s the best I can come up with. What theories might you have?