Review–Weta goes behind the scenes with creatures and characters of The Hobbit in new book

The Hobbit Chronicles Creatures and Characters

If you haven’t seen the incredible bestselling book The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey Chronicles: Art and Design, check out our earlier review here at  It’s a superb behind the scenes look at the artistry of the real-life wizards at Weta Workshop in New Zealand.  Weta hones in on the development of various species and beasts of Middle Earth in their new companion book in the Chronicles series: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles–Creatures & Characters As with the earlier book in the series, Creatures & Characters features first-hand accounts from the actors, makeup artists, digital effects specialists, dialect coaches, prosthetics technicians, movement coaches, and other artists and designers from the production.  High quality, close-up and detailed photos of every major character in the film will make this a must-have for Middle Earth cosplayers.

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Weta Workshop designer Daniel Falconer has created a book equal to the first volume he created in the series while taking a different approach to the film’s subject matter. Where the first volume highlighted costumes, props and set design, the second volume focuses on make-up, prosthetics and hair creation, casting the actors for the differing Middle Earth races, stunt and movement work, and dialect creation.  As compared to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, The Hobbit expanded its use of digital characterization, freeing up the production to create new fantastical scenes beyond what was possible before.  Actor and second unit director Andy Serkis and Gollum’s co-creators discuss the character’s role in the story and Serkis’s creation of the character compared to his work in the original trilogy.


Each creature group and race gets its own chapter: hobbits, wizards, dwarves, trolls, elves, stone giants, goblins, orcs and other beasts, with a chapter entirely about Gollum.  The actors share insights on the characters they played, giving a unique look at character development for film.  Particularly interesting because of J.R.R. Tolkien’s exploration and use of language in his stories, the production’s dialect experts discuss their rationale for using real-life language influences and even casting decisions to form the final look and feel of key characters.

You can order The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles–Creatures & Characters directly from Weta New Zealand here.  If you missed the original volume in the Chronicles series, you can find it here at frequently along with combination purchase deals.

C.J. Bunce

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