Even the smartest Tolkien fan would be hard pressed to find Evangeline Lilly’s Hobbit character Tauriel in Middle Earth canon.

That’s because she’s brand new.

Peter Jackson and his team made a rare decision for the franchise when they created a female elf named Tauriel for The Hobbit series, whose second film The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters this Friday.

At a press event attended by Hypable, producer and co-writer Philippa Boyens said that the decision to create Tauriel came from the “lack” of female characters in The Hobbit. “Professor Tolkien actually wrote fantastic female characters, he just didn’t write one for The Hobbit,” she says.

Lilly, a Tolkien fan herself (“She’s not joking, she’s a huge fan,” Boyens told us), agreed with the need for a female role. “In Tolkien’s defense, he was writing in 1937. The world is a different place today, and I keep repeatedly telling people that in this day and age, to put nine hours of cinema entertainment in the theaters for young girls to go and watch, and not have one female character, is subliminally telling them, ‘You don’t count, you’re not important, and you’re not pivotal to story.'”

She feels Jackson and company made a smart decision. “I just think they were very brave and very right in saying we won’t do that to the young female audience. And not just the young female audience, but even a woman my own age, I think it’s time we stop making stories that are only about men, especially only about heroic men. I love that they made Tauriel a hero.”

Convincing Evangeline to take the role

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Although producers knew Lilly was a big fan of Middle Earth, they ran into a problem when they broke the news to her that they were creating a new character for her to portray.

“Because The Hobbit was my favorite book as a little girl, and the Silvan Elves were my favorite characters in the book, it would be a dream come true to play one, I agreed very quickly. And then they said to me, ‘Your character’s not in the book.’ And I took great pause as a great fan of Tolkien. I kind of gulped and went, ‘Whaaaat? Everyone’s going to hate me.'”

After Jackson and producers spoke to her about the need for a female lead, she was willing to agree but had one rule she needed them to commit to. “At that moment when [Boyens] said there was a love story, I agreed to the job under one condition. One condition. And they agreed to the condition, and it was in place for two years. The condition was: I will not be involved in a love triangle. (“It’s true,” Boyens confirms). Because any of you who are fans of Lost — I had it up to here with love triangles.”

“And sure enough, I come back for reshoots in 2012 and they go, ‘We’ve made a few adjustments to the love story.'”

The romantic plot line was developed after adding a third film to The Hobbit series. Plans originally called for two movies, but in July 2012 Jackson announced a third.

“That was a whoops moment,” Boyens admits of going back on their promise to Lilly. “But that was genuine – it wasn’t a triangle. What happened was, we saw it playing [on screen] – and that first look between Kili and Legolas, you know they have a kind of exchange of looks. It was so perfect that we were like -”

“We gotta go there,” Lilly replies.

Boyens argues that Legolas’ interest in Tauriel – and competing with Kili for her heart – aids a storyline in The Lord of the Rings. “It was interesting with Legolas because one of the things we were trying to do was… he hates dwarves in The Fellowship of the Ring. This is animosity that had to have come from somewhere. What was it about? We wanted to make it a little more emotion than just, ‘I don’t like them.'”

“And that played well,” Lilly admits.

It. Is. Here. The long-awaited first trailer for Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast starring Dan Stevens and Emma Watson is available to watch now!

Disney invites us to be their guest in this first tantalizing teaser for Beauty and the Beast, one of the most highly anticipated live-action remakes on their slate:

Anticipation has been high for Disney’s live-action retelling of their animated classic, and by all accounts the trailer suggests that the new Beauty and the Beast, hitting theaters in 2017, won’t disappoint.

The trailer does a lot to up the excitement factor, playing on our existing knowledge of the classic story, and teasing the arrival of Emma Watson’s Belle (damn you Disney, you know what we want!).

It opens with the castle (very Hogwarts-looking, no?), as we see iconic imagery from the Disney movie. We hear the voices of Ian McKellen and Ewan McGregor (Cogsworth and Lumiere), see the portrait of the prince, and finally, the rose — and Belle, barely visible, watching it in nervous anticipation. It looks like it still has all its petals, so we’d guess that this might be the first time she sees it.

We imagine the full reveal of Belle in the dress will be huge — we’ll keep you posted, as we’re sure that bombshell is dropping soon.

Beauty and the Beast opens March 2017 and stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou, Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, Kevin Kline as Maurice, Audra McDonald as the Wardrobe, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, and Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth.

What did you think about our first look at the Beauty and the Beast live-action movie? Did it live up to your expectations?! Or was there just not enough Belle? Share your thoughts in the comments!

‘Adventures of Supergirl’ #9: The Facet mystery deepens

And Kara hates mysteries.

2:00 pm EDT, May 22, 2016

Adventures of Supergirl #9 gives us our first look at Facet but inspires more questions than gives answers.

Adventures of Supergirl #9 keeps its creative team and picks up where the previous issue left off, with Kara and Alex underground and facing off against bots from Fort Rozz. While the sisters fight off attacks, Kara muses about hating mysteries. She reflects that Clark likes them because they taught him to reveal the hidden truths about others while Kara doesn’t like them because she wants things — and people — to be straightforward.

The mystery is, of course, who is behind everything that has led Kara to this moment. The mastermind? Facet. While Kara and Alex are fighting, Alex is grabbed to serve as bait, bringing Kara face to face with Facet. Though Facet speaks a language Kara doesn’t understand, she does recognize Facet’s uniform as belonging to a guard on Fort Rozz.

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Kara attacks Facet but breaks her hand. Uh oh. She tries to use her heat vision, but Facet deflects it. Kara is overwhelmed by Facet’s counterattacks, and Facet has the bots grab Kara. When Facet removes her mask, she reveals a reflective silver face and says she wants to begin Kara’s training to make her Krypton’s finest, like Facet herself. Facet tells Kara to ask her mother about her, but the conversation is interrupted when Alex sets off an explosion.

In the chaos, Kara grabs Alex and flees. They reach the surface, mostly still in tact, and Kara says they should go speak to Alura, so I assume she’s going to speak to the Alura AI at the DEO. The mystery that Kara hates has come around to not only encompass Facet but also her mother, which frustrates Kara to no end.

A good portion of this issue is action, as Kara and Alex fight the Fort Rozz robots and Kara faces off against Facet. Both Kara and Alex are left the worse for wear after the encounter. While we know there won’t be anything too serious happening to our main characters since the comic ties into the television series, the action sequences were still quite engaging, particularly in terms of the art.

Adventures of Supergirl #9 page 2

As with the previous issue, we see a fair amount of Kryptonian as the Fort Rozz robots and Facet speak. However, Facet also speaks a language that Kara didn’t recognize that was represented by squiggly lines. This only enhances Kara’s frustration with the mystery that underlies the entire issue — and the comic as a whole, as we learn that everything ties together after all.

With four issues left, I assume Kara will get some answers from the Alura AI about Facet. This new villain tying into the life of Alura makes a lot of sense considering the television series spent quite a lot of time exploring the consequences of Alura’s actions on Krypton. As her daughter, Kara has had to face many who held grudges against Alura for sentencing them to Fort Rozz so thematically, this issue of Adventures of Supergirl ties in nicely with the series in that way.

Reading Adventures of Supergirl every other week is like catching up with a good friend you only see every now and then — especially now that Supergirl is on break for the summer. I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here and finding out just who Facet is and why she’s taken such an interest in Kara.

Adventures of Supergirl #10 will be released on Monday, May 30.

Fred Armisen hosted the season 41 finale of SNL with musical guest Courtney Barnett. He also brought along a couple of familiar friends as well.

SNL kicked off its season finale with a bang using Kate McKinnon and Larry David as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In what was maybe the best cold open of the season, Hillary and Bernie bickered back and forth about Hillary’s insurmountable delegate lead in the Democratic primary race. The sketch was particularly enjoyable as the two of them danced through the halls of Studio 8H before throwing to the credits with the entire cast.

Fred Armisen’s opening monologue was also one of the best opening monologues of the season. Fred performed a part of his fictional one-man show, and exaggerated just about every single thing you could imagine. The monologue was not only hilarious but one of the most unique monologues ever given on SNL.

The first sketch of the night featured a couple of breaks of character as Cecily Strong, Fred Armisen and Kyle Mooney played Native American explorers who take things a little bit too far.

To the delight of the audience, SNL brought back a Digital Sketch with none other than Andy Samberg himself. Samberg is set to star in the new movie Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Maya Rudolph, who has an upcoming variety show with Martin Short, stopped by Weekend Update to play the recent ousted President of Brazil. Maya can do no wrong, and this sketch was yet another example of her many hilarious accents.

The funniest sketch of the night had to go to Fred Armisen’s character Regine. Regine and her boyfriend played by SNL alum Jason Sudeikis are outlandish, rude and inconsiderate: the perfect recipe for tons of character breaks. This is a must-see sketch!

SNL will return for its 42nd season this fall. There is no word yet as of which cast members may be leaving the show. Details around casting usually happens throughout the summer months as the show gears up for its fall premiere.

What did you think of Fred Armisen hosting SNL?