The Guardian has written up an interesting analysis regarding Peter Jackson’s loyalty to the original Lord of the Rings and Hobbit stories by J.R.R. Tolkien.

He made changes in Return of the King to add romance – now will he do the same in The Hobbit?

This article was inspired by recent comments by Benedict Cumberbatch, who says The Necromancer will be at the Battle of Five Armies. They write:

Hang on a minute. The Necromancer at the Battle of Five Armies (which is surely what Cumberbatch is referring to here)? Tolkienistas will know that the aforementioned conflict, a five-way rumpus involving dwarves, elves, goblins, wargs and men for the treasures of Erebor, marks the denouement of The Hobbit. There is little indication in the book that it has anything much to do with Sauron, who has recently been kicked out of Mirkwood by the White Council in events we hear about from Gandalf in retrospect. The idea that the Necromancer turns up to lead a battalion of (presumably) goblins seems to come from way out of left field. It’s a bit like remaking the original Star Wars trilogy and inserting the ewoks in the first movie (OK, perhaps not quite that bad).

Could Cumberbatch have got it wrong? He does seem a little confused about his Tolkien terminology, so we can only hope that befuddlement is to blame here. With so many different roles to play in 2012 and beyond, who can blame him for getting a little mixed up?

Jackson has already shown a propensity towards presenting The Hobbit in a form which allows it to segue comfortably into the Lord of the Rings, and there’s not much wrong with that. After all, Tolkien himself revised his earlier book after delving into deeper, darker territory in its three-part sequel. Few have complained that Galadriel, Saruman and even Legolas are due to appear in The Hobbit, since the book’s background events offer Jackson some licence to include them, but allowing the Necromancer to play a major role in the film project’s finale seems to me a step too far.

The Hobbit’s major villain is Smaug, and nothing should be allowed to undermine that. The mean old worm may be an evil brute with a heart of frozen, inky darkness, but he is unconnected to Sauron and the dark lord’s more ambitious machinations. Most would be happy to see the new films prefigure the rise of evil in Middle Earth, but few would expect to see the later books’ villain promoted to a major antagonist before his time. By all means let’s see the Necromancer get kicked out of Mirkwood, but please keep him well clear of the Lonely Mountain. Mordor is, after all, rather a long way south.

Read more of The Guardian’s analysis right here. What do you think – should Jackson not be taking these creative liberties?