Tag Archive: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles–Creatures & Characters


Hobbit Chronicles Smaug Art and Design cover

The latest installment in Weta Workshop’s hardcover series focusing on the art and design of The Hobbit movies provides the most-in-depth look yet at the developmental stages of bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastical world to the big screen.  Through hundreds of pencil sketches, detailed accounts of the thoughts behind decisions, painted concept art and costume development, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles–Art & Design provides a comprehensive account of the mastery in bringing ideas to life.

The structure of the book follows our heroes’ journey through the film, in chapters like “Queer Lodgings” (Beorn the Skin-Changer’s house), “Flies & Spiders,” “The Woodland Realm” (the elves), “A Ruined form of Life” (the Orcs), and “Inside Information” (all about Smaug).  Each chapter provides a focused look at the unique worldbuilding for each disparate part of the film, from set design to backstory to costumes.  Many chapters offer better looks at details that were only glimpsed briefly in the film, like the city of Dale in its heyday, seen onscreen only in flashback.  It’s an opportunity for those parts of the filmmaking–given just as much thought and work as anything in the movie–to be seen and admired in their full glory.

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A chapter on the Elves of Mirkwood showcases the costumes for King Thranduil, Legolas, and Tauriel, as well as the woodland realm where the dwarves are imprisoned during the film.  There’s a special focus on the wine cellars where the dwarves make their dramatic barrel escape.  Much time is given to the development of Tauriel, a new character created for the movie. Comments from Evangeline Lily (Tauriel) provide insight into her character: “Tauriel had to embody the grace of Galadriel and Arwen, while representing the fighting stealth and power of Legolas and Elrond.”

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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 borg.com.  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.

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