The Hobbit casting has stretched there and back again, but I believe this may be the final two pieces of the great puzzle.

According to Deadline, they finally have a Bard the Bowman: Luke Evans.  I guess LOTR used up all the stock of rugged and older Northern English, because Evans seems a little young and handsome for Bard.  (Are there no Sean Beans left?  I always pictured Bard to be more of a Viggo/Bean type.) I haven’t seen him anything, so maybe he’s such a badass that it makes up for his youth and smoothness.

Deadline also confirms a popular rumor that’s been floating around Tolkiendom: Benedict Cumberbatch’s top secret role is the voice of Smaug.   I always did hear Smaug with a more posh voice, so I really dig this pick.  I wonder if he’ll pull double duty like John Rhys-Davies, and actually appear somewhere in the film in a small role?

ETA: This is what happens when your Internet goes wonky as you’re trying to read and write, and only one Deadline story will load.  I completely missed that Cumberbatch is also voicing/playing the Necromancer, and providing facial capture for Smaug.   So, you will see Cumberbatch in some form…and oh, he’s going to just be so deliciously cold and cruel!   Anyway, apologies for missing that chunk of information the first time round, but I claim the thunderstorm clause.