Live: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ at COMICON 2014

As live-streamed and detailed by Alex Billington, the following happened on Warner Bros’ Hall H Panel on Saturday, July 26:

Hobbit-panel-550x289

10:50 – Lights go down and the walls appear with the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies logo, and Carmina Burana playing. Quite an intro for this movie, but it is the epic conclusion.

10:54 – Watching another featurette for The Hobbit that starts with Stephen Colbert on set. Turns out Stephen Colbert is actually moderating this panel.

10:55 – Colbert jokes that it’s welcome to “Stephen Colbert’s The Battle for Six Movies”. “You don’t just love these stories, you treasure the world of JRR Tolkien.”

10:56 – He’s talking about how he saw the first stills, followed the casting during the development of LOTR. How passionate he is about this, and how much it turned out beautiful because of all the people involved. “With a total running time of 11 and a half hours – they were too damn short.”

10:58 – He says before we continue the panel, they have a few more clips to show us, featuring most footage from all 5 of the previous movies.

11:00 – Watching an outstanding and hilarious blooper reel of crazy outtakes and amusing footage from all of the past movies. It’s so damn good, hope they end up putting this online.

11:08 – Everyone takes the stage, from Peter Jackson to Elijah Wood to Cate Blanchett to Luke Evans to Lee Pace to Andy Serkis to Benedict Cumberbatch.

11:09 – Colbert asking them questions, after saying thank you for making this movie. Is this the first time some of these people have met despite making the movie together? Lots of yes.

11:10 – Asked about if he knew an entire part of his life would be spent on making these movies. Originally they were going to do The Hobbit as one movie, then two Lord of the Rings movies back to the back. That was the very first pitch.

11:14 – “Everyone in this room knows what’s going to happen at the end of The Hobbit,” Jackson jokes. “It’s good to kill off some lead characters.” He says “we do get to kill a few of them this time” and “it’s good”.

11:15 – The Old Forest, and Tom Bombadil are the things that they wish they could’ve put in the movies. Producer Philipa Boyens says “that will have to be for another generation of filmmakers.” Remake one day? Already! But it’s cool.

11:18 – Cumberbatch says he’s impressed by the actors who do all the green screen, how challenging that is to pull off and to maintain continuity and imagine everything.

Smaug

11:19 – “Are their female dwarves?” “I believe the entire journey is about finding a female dwarf…” Graham McTavish, who plays Dwalin, is the only dwarf represented on this panel today.

11:21 – Colbert asks Cate Blanchett if we’ll see her fight this time? She explains she has to wear very tall “disco glam” boots and it’s a bit tricky to even walk. Peter Jackson chimes in and says “we do get to see Galadriel lose it a bit in this movie” and she corrects him saying “I do lose my shit–Elven shit–in this movie.” Jackson: “She gets to kick Sauron’s as a little bit in this.”

11:24 – Asking Orlando Bloom about his attraction to Evangeline Lilly. “You’re calling me a low-class, trashy elf? At least my shit still sparkles.” Response to a comment from Colbert about how Bloom’s character is “dating down” and his father doesn’t like that.

11:27 – Colbert: did anyone experience the books through the films and then go back and read them? Elijah: “I actually haven’t read them.” Audience goes “ooooh” but he responds “I’ve said this before! I’m okay.” He read The Hobbit as a kid, and when these movies came around he felt like he was living it in a profound and deep way and never read the book. “It was such an experience over such a long course of time.”

11:31 – Listening to Andy Serkis wax about performance capture and how it allows anyone to play anything. Compliments to Weta and how much they’ve advanced and how the performances are “very beautifully rendered.” It’s been a “fantastic, amazing, unbelievably journey” that he couldn’t forsee at all. He says they’re trying to bring it more to the northern hemisphere.

11:33 – Colbert asks “what does spectacle mean in a movie” referencing the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and how that set such a precedent. Jackson says he did recognize how films after were influenced and there’s no better compliment than to see that his work influences other filmmakers to change their way to shoot a movie. “I’m in the middle of doing a battle right now… a big battle actually. The Battle of the Five Armies.”

11:34 – Now time to see the very first teaser trailer for The Battle of the Five Armies.

11:37 – First teaser trailer is very epic, big in scope and scale, looks like they’re going big. But it was also all about nostalgia, and all that everyone has gone through. “Will you follow me one last time?”

11:39 – Peter Jackson says they hope to do a museum one day, so they’re keeping some of the old costumes for the sake of legacy. Because they wanted to keep LOTR stuff, they made mostly new stuff to use for The Hobbit, even returning characters.

11:40 – Evangeline Lilly: “I know how sexy a big, pointy ear can be.” Banter between Orlando Bloom and Lilly about their ears.

11:41 – Jackson hopes that everyone gets to see all of this stuff that went into the making of the movie in person. He wants fans to see it, to be there, to experience what it’s actually like on the set, what it’s like down there in New Zealand.

11:42 – Opening up to fans for the Q&A. So far just a silly question that gets goofy answers from the cast on stage.

11:42 – Opening up to fans for the Q&A. So far just a silly question that gets goofy answers from the cast on stage. One question was about who would win between Bard and Legolas.

11:45 – Next question: who do you think is more evil – Saruman or Willy Wonka? “Willy Wonka isn’t evil!” The question was meant for Christopher Lee, so they don’t really answer it seriously.

11:46 – Question about if anyone uses specific acting techniques to pull off performances. Serkis: “Although there’s technology involve… what it is is exactly the same – all you need is the eyes of another actor to look into.” “Really the magic is having brilliant actors in a room… or on set… and not let the technology become a part of it – that is the key.”

Serkis

11:52 – Peter Jackson on how he really wanted to make the movies as a six series set. The main goal was to get The Hobbit tonally where it would get to Fellowship, and to connect all of that together. Some people will watch this from the beginning and start with The Hobbit and go all the way through.

11:54 – Question about if there’s any more lost/unseen footage we’ll see one day. Jackson says there’s very few scenes (one with Aragorn when they were younger) from LOTR we haven’t seen, and they might put them back in. Lord of the Rings was 7 million feet of film, and it’s now sitting in a nuclear-proof mountain in Arizona or something like that. But perhaps if there’s enough interest from people, you never know.

11:56 – He announces a Fan Fellowship Contest to win a trip to New Zealand and visit the set. To participate goto TheHobbitFanContest.com and they will choose 75 people (plus a partner) to go down and tour the set, see footage, and so on.

11:58 – They actually announce the first two people who have won and are getting to take the trip down there. Spies were following fans and they chose these in advance. There’s still 73 places to go, so check out the sign if you’re interested.

11:59 – To wrap up they’re showing the teaser one more time and they’re heading off stage to wrap up the panel.

12:00 – And that’s it! Warner Bros panel is over and things have finished up. Covered three films plus the Batman v Superman surprise at the beginning.

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