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Friday, March 31, 2023

Get ready to strap on your swords and armor and head back to Middle-earth! The last installment of “The Hobbit” premieres in just two weeks, and it’s the likely the last time we will see our beloved Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and Galadriel.

With so much happening on screen, some details tend to get knocked to the side. Here are four things you may not have known about our favorite adventurers:

“The Hobbit” began when a sentence popped into J.R.R. Tolkien’s head one day. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” After that, Tolkien had to learn more about these “hobbits” he created. He couldn’t shake it. Finally, he started writing the novel that would become “The Hobbit” as a fantasy bedtime story for his children. It was eventually published in 1937. Now, 77 years later, we will finally see the story come to complete fruition.

Galadriel is married. “The Hobbit” movies have thrown Galadriel into the mix because she’s awesome, not because she appears in the book. The movies have also created some weird sexual tension with Gandalf for some reason. Not only is Galadriel infinitely more powerful than Gandalf (she wields her own Ring of Power after all), but also she’s very, very married… like to the elf king Celeborn… as in she’s a Queen. OK, Peter Jackson.

Celebrated director Peter Jackson procrastinates quite a lot. Within hours of the premiere of “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” Jackson was still working with his team editing the movie. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” has an unconfirmed runtime of 144 minutes, slightly less than its two predecessors, and Jackson has said it’s the last Middle-earth film he will direct because they take too much time.

Creating the dwarves’ prosthetic and other effects took hundreds of hours of work. The following numbers are from, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” In that film, about four tons of silicon were used for facial prosthetics along with roughly 250 beards and more than 900 dwarf wigs. Ninety-one of them were just for the main 13 dwarves.

All together, it takes five hours to put a dwarf – actor or stunt double – in full makeup and costume. “Five Armies” features quite a few more dwarves than in the previous two movies, though, so it’s safe to say these numbers and impressive results will only grow.

No matter which way you swing it, the Middle-earth epic tales have smashed box office records. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” grossed a combined $503 million in the U.S. alone. Now we’re there and back again, for the last time. “Five Armies” opens December 17. See you at the finish line. 

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