First things first — yes, this news is a little stale. But it’s just one of those weeks, so bear with us.
Secondly, it’s news about The Hobbit. So let’s just be happy about that instead of our tardiness and sick days.
TheOneRing.net beat the trades today with a casting exclusive. A ton of characters were added to the roster today. Let’s start with the dwarves:
Ken Stott will play Balin
Jed Brophy (a LOTR veteran!) will be playing Nori
Last but not least to join the Oakenshield quest is William Kircher, who will play Bifur.
But the most exciting addition might come in the middle of this TORN press release, as we have our Beorn in Mikael Persbrandt. A lot of fans had dreamed of seeing Ron Perlman in this role (while simultaneously hoping he’d be Smaug), but it’s an intriguing choice. Persbrandt isn’t who I would describe as very bearlike, but I suppose Brian Blessed is just too obvious. (That’s who I always pictured. Ah well.)
Sylvester McCoy has been confirmed as Radagast the Brown. McCoy has been saying the role was his all over Dr. Whodom, so this is a bit of a nonevent.
Ryan Gage will be Drogo Baggins. Drogo is the father of Frodo, and doesn’t appear anywhere in The Hobbit but we’ll get to discussing that in a second.
Or now, actually. Because this same announcement also came with the cheery tidings that Cate Blanchett would be returning as Galadriel. We all loved Blanchett as Galadriel, but … well, this is not a character that appears in The Hobbit. She’s a member of the White Council, and even that’s just in passing. Galadriel stayed in Lothlorien, fortifying it against the evil of Sauron, and was distant even from the elves of Rivendell and Mirkwood, which were the only elf kingdoms Bilbo ever had the fortune to visit. That’s all nerdy trivia, of course, but it’s troubling that we have this odd confirmation and not one of Hugo Weaving returning as Elrond. That’s the elf we need here, not Galadriel.
I’ve been very optimistic and excited about all The Hobbit news. We all are. I’m not about to start raining down a lot of doom and gloom. But seeing Drogo and Galadriel on this cast list makes me wonder if The Hobbit is going to fall prey to Peter Jackson’s impulse towards excess. I don’t need a corny scene (a’la “The Soup Scene” or “The Drinking Contest” he so cheerfully gave us in The Two Towers and The Return of the King, respectively) where Drogo and Bilbo have a moment with baby Frodo. The charm of the opening of The Hobbit is that Bilbo is the titular one of the story, and the only encounter we have with The Shire. He’s all we need.
Galadriel also seems superfluous. It’s striking to meet her in The Fellowship of the Ring because she is so imposing and eerie in comparison to the elves of Rivendell. It’s a magical and scary moment in the book and the film. Why undermine it?
But then we might also ask why we needed Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli slithering down 1,000,000,000,000,000 human skulls. Or Gimli acting like a moron for 97% of the trilogy.
Please, Jackson. Take it down a notch. Or ten. The Hobbit is a simple story. Give yourself a break, and just keep it that way. We want to see the men of Dale and the trolls, not shoutouts to The Lord of the Rings.