As we reported yesterday when the news broke, the actor that has been hired to voice a very important character in The Hobbit‘s mythos has given away what would prove to be a massive change from The Hobbit‘s ink and paper twin. Empire magazine has now released a quick analysis about why this might not be the end of the world.

In an interview with Empire (via CBM), Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor behind the voice of The Necromancer (more commonly referred to as Sauron) let slip that Lord of the Rings antagonist will be making an appearance in the Battle of the Five Armies. From the interview:

” I’m playing Smaug through motion-capture and voicing the Necromancer, which is a character in the Five Legions War or something which I’m meant to understand. He’s not actually in the original Hobbit. It’s something [Peter Jackson]’s taken from Lord Of The Rings that he wants to put in there.”

Aside from getting the name of the war wrong (it’s probably safe to assume that he meant the Battle of the Five Armies and not an entirely new battle written by Jackson), he also doesn’t seem to realize that the Necromancer is also known as Sauron. Although it is possible that he is simply getting his facts wrong, Tolkien and Jackson fans alike should be used to massive changes in the story by this point.

In The Hobbit, Gandalf disappears halfway through the book to lead a coalition against the Necromancer to banish him from his Mirkwood stronghold. In the book, this happens long before the Battle of the Five Armies, but it seems that we might see Sauron turn up for the battle in second half of The Hobbit

Empire Magazine is quick to point out how this might work in the favor of the narrative:

Here, however, it looks like he’s going to turn up to the finale in person, presumably at the head of the goblin and Warg army, and face Gandalf’s team there.

If that is the case, it’s a narratively neat way to combine the two story threads, that of Bilbo and the dwarves and the other following Gandalf and his team. It also gives the goblins a stronger motivation to suddenly turn up: in the book, they’re avenging the earlier death of one of their leaders and (like all the other armies present) hoping to get their grubby hands on the dragon’s hoard. If they’re incited or led by Sauron, however, their actions will hang more coherently with their behaviour later in Lord Of The Rings.

So what do you think? Will the change work in favor of the overall arc of the films, or should Jackson remain faithful to Tolkien’s work?

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