From The Blog

Riddles in the Dark: Digest 4

An epic afternoon of podcasting comes to an end on this episode of Riddles in the Dark Digest!

In this episode of Riddles in the Dark Digest, co-hosts Dave Kale and Trish Lambert, revisit Riddles #6 and #7, focused on The Split and the much anticipated Battle of Dol-Guldur.  They review predictions and commentary from the analysts, bring up new evidence (they made a lot of hay out of the IMDB cast lists here and here), and, most important, address listener feedback.  They also pose not one, but two, Riddles in the Dark Conundrums!

Conundrum #3: Will Bilbo and the dwarves make it to Laketown before the end of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey?

Conundrum #4:  Will we see Legolas shield-surf in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey?

Download: .mp3 (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)


  1. Kate Neville July 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Elros is listed as a character in both films — what’s up with that? A flashback? Just a randomly named chararacter?

  2. Kate Neville July 22, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    Oops — should’ve waited til I finished listening to the rest of the podcast. And is Peter Jackson’s son too old to be Estel?

  3. Josh Schweigert July 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Listening to this episode made me really think about the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is voicing both the Necromancer and Smaug in the second movie. It seems unusual for an actor to voice two major parts in a film. The additional information that Nathaniel Lees is listed as the voice of the Necromancer in the first film has got me thinking about possible story reasons for this casting conundrum.

    My theory (I admite it is a bit far fetched) is that the Necromancer will be voiced by Lees in the first film while he is at Dul Guldor. I suspect that he will not have a physical body, and will be portrayed as a voice coming out of the darkness. At the end of the second film, I think the Necromancer will be chased out by the White Council and his spirit will travel towards Erebor with the White council in pursuit.

    Meanwhile all the events unfold at Lake Town and Smaug is killed by Bard, falling into the lake. The dwarves, men, and elves move on to their fight over the treasure and eventually the beginning of the battle of 5 armies. In the middle of the battle, the Necromancer’s spirt arrives and reanimates the body of Smaug. Necromancers are after all magicians who raise the dead. Smaug/Necromancer would then join the battle of 5 armies and would be voiced by Cumberbatch not Lees, because at this point the Necromancer and Smaug are one being.

    This would explain why Cumberbatch would be listed as voicing two major characters. Sauron could also be forgiven for not recognizing the proximity of the ring because this reanimated Smaug would move into combat against the major fighting characters, and would not have to be close to Bilbo at any point.

    The eucatasrophe could even still work, with the arrival of the eagles enabling combat with the dragon in mid-air, causing the Necromancer/Smaug to flee the battle, flying to Mordor were the Nazgul have made everything ready. The Necromancer could shed the Smaug body by breathing Fire onto the tower which would then take the shape of a giant fire ball eye.

    Having finished this rather long and crazy theory. I would like to say that I truly hope it doesn’t happen. It would seem to complicate the story and reduce the value of Smaug as a villain. I hope I haven’t given Professor Olson any additional nightmares!

  4. Tony Meade July 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Just a silly side note, but Fredegar Chubb is actually Quint from Ain’t It Cool News. It was the name of the character that he played in the Hobbiton market, where he was a fishmonger. He was originally supposed to be a foreground extra, but Peter Jackson ended up giving him lines during his interaction with Bilbo.

    Here’s the article where he talks about his experience as a Hobbit:

    Keep up the great show!!

  5. brainfisch July 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    The solution to the problem of Sauron and Ringwraith at the BOFA is quite obvious:
    All of them will be present and will of course sense the presence of the ring. They will be able to corner Bilbo and might have won the whole War of the Rings.

    However, as all Super-villains do, Sauron will explain his plans extensively to Bilbo being certain of his victory. This will give the While Council the time to come to the rescue – probably including some shield surfing and magic lightning and so forth – and he only barely escapes to Mordor in a Cliff-Hanger situation at the end of the second movie.

    Apart from being the most obvious solution for the general audience, PJ might also use the opportunity to add some extra material to the FOTR and the special super extended version (more than 6 hours total running time) will hit cinemas in December 2014 and 2015 respectively. We only have to discuss, where the split of the films (i.e. the Ring sets Out and The Ring goes south)

    And keep up the great show with some more Azanulbizar

  6. Michael Lucero July 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    To me, the idea of the Necromancer re-animating Smaug is extremely unlikely, if for no other reason than that to announce Cumberbatch was playing two characters would be to all but give away that plot twist. If they were really going to do that, they would’ve kept the information about Cumberbatch voicing the Necromancer a secret as long as possible. Instead, they announced it almost in the same breath as the announcement that he was playing Smaug.

    After listening to this podcast, I envisioned an ending to film one where the dwarves in barrels wash up onto the banks of Esgaroth, unconscious, and out comes floating Thorin. Thorin’s beard is burned, perhaps in the confrontation with the elves, and the kid looks at his beard and looks up at a pub at the edge of the water called the Burned Dwarf, the sign of which pictures a crowned dwarf with a burned beard. Then Bain’s eyes widen and he goes off running into town, shouting, “The King under the Mountain! The King has returned!” Cut to black and the credits roll.

  7. Oin k July 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    ARGH! PLEASE don’t spend any more time analyzing the listings at IMDB. Almost ANYONE connected with the film can update cast lists, and there’s no verification of it until the film is released, especially considering that credits won’t be finalized until there’s a final cut of the film, and even then they will change again for the Extended Edition. IMDB is little more than a film industry wiki with moderators to prevent outright vandalism. It is most assuredly NOT an official cast listing, and should not be treated as one.

    At best, it’s a guess from some intern with an early and incomplete draft of the cast listing. For unreleased films the information on IMDB is notoriously unreliable, so PLEASE stop wasting time speculating about who is and isn’t listed on which film. Listening to that is like watching cable news talk about the paint color on the house where a suspected serial killer grew up, grasping at straws because they don’t know anything of substance.

    I don’t mean to rant, but every time one of you saw a new name and said, “Hmm, interesting”, I reached for the fast forward button and barked “NO! IT’S NOT!” I enjoy listening to speculation, but if oohing and ahhing over IMDB cast listings is what digest episodes are going to be, then I’ll just wait until Professor Corey Olsen comes back.

  8. Oin K July 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Whew. Now that that rant’s off my chest, here’re my thoughts on the conundrums you posed.

    Here’s how I see the ending of film 1 playing out: Bilbo gets the dwarves into their barrels and on down the river, and only barely manages to climb among the last batch of barrels as it gets pushed out the door by the elves.

    There will be plenty of near-drowning, and these action sequences on the river will be intercut with the White Council arriving at Dol Guldur and being met by the Necromancer’s forces. This will build in parallel with the dwarves and Bilbo’s adventures in Mirkwood as they wonder where Gandalf has got to. It will reach a moment when things look particularly bleak for Gandalf and the others, and we will be left thinking that the Necromancer has won, and here the action then cuts back to Bilbo.

    Finally the river has calmed down enough for Bilbo to clamber on top of a barrel and gaze out at hundreds of other barrels floating down the river ahead of him, wondering whether or not he just drowned his friends. This will linger for a beat or two, and the camera will move down the river to where the dwarves are beginning to pop up out of their barrels. Bilbo will drift into view and see to his relief the last of the dwarves gasping and spluttering up onto the banks, and there will be a merry reunion.

    Then they’ll notice someone is watching them, and Thorin will haul himself up and make himself look regal. “Well don’t just stand there, boy. Go and tell your elders: The King under the Mountain has returned!” Bilbo looks up, and in the distance he sees the Lonely Mountain, saying, “We actually made it. We’re there.”

    And as they ready themselves for the long walk to Laketown, the camera pans up and over the Lake and across the burned lands, lingering at last on the Lonely Mountain, and then a faint flash of flames and a fade to black.

    Film 2 will begin with a flashback of the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, setting up an arc that will culminate at the BOFA. Then all the stuff with Smaug, intercut with more action in Mirkwood as the Necromancer coordinates now with the goblins of the north, sending them to back up his dragon ally in the east. When Bilbo finally sneaks the Arkenstone out, he’ll be reunited with Gandalf, who will tell him he had business elsewhere in Mirkwood (a la “I was… delayed” in FOTR) and his flashback will show us how they finally managed to drive the Necromancer out of his dark tower. But that victory is for naught if the east devolves into war between dwarves, elves and men. Thus Gandalf will rest everything on the outcome of the final conflict.

    And so begins the Battle of Five Armies, during which Legolas will one-up his shield-surfing exploits by SURFING ON BATS. Yes, that’s right, Legolas will leap onto a pair of great bats and fire arrows into the orcs below before steering them straight into a marauding Warg.

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