For diehard Tolkien fans (such as myself), today was a good day. Peter Jackson released the first movie trailer for his second film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Check it out:

As a long time fan of Tolkien and of The Hobbit, my initial reactions to the first movie were mixed between love of returning to Middle Earth through Jackson’s lenses and a dislike for how the plot was being reimagined and lengthened in places in order to get three movies rather than two out of the single book. As much as I loved the Lord of the Rings films, I couldn’t say that I had the same amount of love for the first Hobbit film, although it had moments that captured some of the LOTR movie magic.

So now the trailer for movie #2 is out, and it promises lots of action from the book. It also has the return of Orlando Bloom as Legolas, son of woodland elf King Thranduil played by Lee Pace who has more of a part to play in this movie. Legolas doesn’t make an appearance in the book, but it makes sense that he would be there as the king’s son. It’s not a large leap to bring him into the movie.

Then there’s the appearance of Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel, who is not in the books. Tolkien’s Middle Earth books don’t do much with female characters, and Jackson had to do some adjusting in the LOTR movies to make Arwen a more rounded and complete character. But Tauriel is not only a beautiful elf, she is a warrior in charge of the elven guard. This is an example of Jackson and his writing partners taking a huge risk.

In the Entertainment Weekly article, Lilly talks about the controversy of the creation of her character: “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are going to be people who will totally hate Tauriel, think that she shouldn’t be in the movie, that it’s a betrayal of Tolkien, and no matter what I do it won’t be right,” she says. “There will be everything between that and people who adore her and think it’s such a fun thing to have added to the film. I kind of got prepped for that being on Lost, because we had avid fans who were really extreme in their feelings about the show and its characters. But I think if anyone knows how to respect Tolkien, it’s Peter, Fran and Phil. And Tauriel fits perfectly in that world.”

Their risks with storytelling paid off with the LOTR movies, especially with the extended editions for the fans. But with the Hobbit movies, it feels like they’re trying to make that extended edition the original edition. Jackson is using the appendices at the end of The Return of the King and The Hobbit to expand characters and stories and also to create new story lines and characters. And in the end, the question I have is if they’re created to serve the story or to serve the movie studio and Jackson to create another movie and therefore more money?

I’m not giving up faith in Jackson and The Hobbit movies yet. There are things that were done well in movie #1. The casting of Martin Freeman was brilliant. While Richard Armitage is a bit too dashing for the part of Thorin, he broods well. And the trailer shows a lot of faithfulness to the original story despite the additional characters. Knowing the plot and the title of the second movie, it looks like it will be full of action and worth seeing in the movie theaters.