With a title like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, there are pretty high expectations for a rather epic-looking battle sequence. Indeed, Peter Jackson has revealed that the film concludes with a 45-minute fight during the climax, as the various armies of Middle-earth all descend upon the Lonely Mountain now that the dwarven treasure of Erebor is no longer being guarded by that fearsome dragon Smaug. Jackson is currently putting the finishing touches on the film during post-production in anticipation of its December 17th release, but he recently talked a bit about planning the final battle sequence with EW and also unveiled some rather massive-looking concept art. Additionally, Warner Bros. has announced that Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd (aka Peregrin Took) will perform the closing credits song “The Last Goodbye”, which he co-wrote with the filmmakers.
Hit the jump for more on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies climactic action sequence as well as the end credits song, including Jackson’s thoughts on how those eagles would’ve made The Lord of the Rings much, much shorter.
Speaking with EW about the titular climactic battle sequence, Jackson says he and his team have instilled a rule that hopefully keeps the emotional focus on the main characters:
“We have a rule that we’re not allowed to go more than two or three shots of anonymous people fighting without cutting back to our principal characters. Otherwise the audience just ends up with battle fatigue.”
In planning out the battle sequence that takes place in a confined space, Jackson and his team had to logistically plot out exactly how things would go down:
“Before we could loose the first arrow, we had to design the landscape itself and figure out, ‘Okay, if we have 10,000 orcs, how much room are they going to take up? Are they going to fill up the valley or look like a speck?’ Then we could start drawing the arrows on the schematics.”
They went so far as to draw out a color-coded map that shows the positions of all of the different types of armies that converge at the bottom of the Lonely Mountain. Jackson also discussed the fact that the eagles pop back up in The Battle of the Five Armies, addressing one of the main criticisms of the Lord of the Rings trilogy:
“Tolkien uses eagles in a way that can be kind of awkward because they tend to show up out of the blue and change things pretty quickly. So here they’re just part of the plan, not the saviors. I mean, I do realize that if the eagles had just been able to bring Frodo to Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings and let him drop the ring in, those movies would have been much shorter.”
In other Hobbit trilogy news, Warner Bros. has announced that LOTR actor and songwriter Billy Boyd has been tapped to co-write and perform the end credits song for The Battle of the Five Armies. In the official statement (via EW), Boyd had this to say about “The Last Goodbye”:
“I wanted the song to be a goodbye to all the fans who have been part of this amazing journey and to the whole world of Tolkien as it has been told in the cinema for our generation,” says Boyd in the release. “No one knows the world of Tolkien better than Peter, Fran and Philippa, and I feel incredibly touched and honored to be asked to write and perform this song, and to be at the start and end of these beautiful, historic stories. To once again work so closely with them has been one of the true honors of my working life.”
Boyd performed “The Steward of Gondor” in The Return of the King to chill-inducing results, and the song was used heavily in the first trailer for The Battle of the Five Armies. Neil Finn wrote and performed “Song of the Lonely Mountain” for An Unexpected Journey, while Ed Sheeran wrote and performed “I See Fire” for The Desolation of Smaug. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.