It’s long been rumored that Orlando Bloom would be reprising his role as the elf Legolas for Peter Jackson’s upcoming two-parter The Hobbit. Giving the whispers, a lot of people have been quick to point out that Bloom coming back wouldn’t make any sense, as Legolas appears nowhere in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. Regardless of mutterings from the purists, the news is now official, as Jackson has used his Facebook Page to confirm:
“Ten years ago, Orlando Bloom created an iconic character with his portrayal of Legolas. I’m excited to announce today that we’ll be revisiting Middle Earth with him once more. I’m thrilled to be working with Orlando again. Funny thing is, I look older — and he doesn’t! I guess that’s why he makes such a wonderful elf.”
When you add this news to the fact that Ian Holm is also confirmed to show up somewhere in this production as Bilbo (who will also be played by Martin Freeman), it becomes clear that Jackson’s films are going to link The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings trilogy much more closely than Tolkien’s books did. What we’re going to see will either have to be a flashback structure where the characters we met in the first three films are looking back on the events of The Hobbit, or new material that will create a bridge between the two stories.
Since the announcement of this project it has been clear that Jackson and his screenwriters will be adding new material, but I kind of assumed that would consist of an added scene or two. How likely is it that the second film might consist largely of new Middle Earth adventures played by the actors from the first Jackson trilogy? And how good would that material have to be for Tolkien fans not to reject it outright? Whichever way it goes, I hope that characters like Legolas and actors like Ian Holm are being added to these films because Jackson is going big with ideas and taking huge risks with the story, and not because there are marketing concerns about how closely this will tie to the financially successful Lord of the Rings franchise. If we get some of those Star Wars: Special Edition, Boba Fett showing up and looking at the camera for no reason, moments with Orlando Bloom, I will be up on my soapbox in no time decrying the decision. Somebody who knows more about Tolkien’s universe might have more insight into all of this news than me, however. Any ideas as to how all of these returning actors are going to tie into the story of The Hobbit?