The trailer for the final film in the Hobbit trilogy has finally been released, and to paraphrase Thorin Oakenshield, I’ve never been so torn about something in all my life.
Spoilers ahead for those of you who haven’t read a 75-year-old book.
The trailer itself doesn’t seem to hint that the film will be bad, but a kickass trailer-editing team and a great song can do wonders to mask the mediocrity of the actual product. (I’m looking at you so hard right now, Guardians of the Galaxy.) Fans of the original LotR trilogy are bound to have a visceral emotional response when they hear Billy Boyd start singing that damnably tragic song, and together with the lines and visuals they chose to include, this trailer is like a recipe for my tears. I guess at least they’re not suggesting that the film’s going to have a happy ending.
I have been deeply conflicted about the Hobbit series since the release of the first movie. While the casting and imagery were beautifully on point, the money-grubbing decision to split the single book into three three-hour films always sat wrong with me before I even watched the first movie. And while I certainly don’t begrudge Peter Jackson all the extra material he included—I was glad for Tauriel’s presence, and I’m always happy to see more Galadriel on my screen, and I’m interested to see what will happen with the Necromancer in this film—I was downright distressed when I realized that both of the first two movies could have been easily shortened by an hour or more by cutting extraneous or non-canon chase scenes.
And yet I’m torn, because I love this world and these characters. I (generally) love the movies’ adaptation of them, and the unique attributes the films have given characters who were little more than a name on a page beforehand. I love being a part of the Tolkien fandom, and I spent several hours avoiding this trailer after it came out because I knew it was going to make me sad. I don’t want to see Thorin go mad with greed and die tragically. I don’t want to watch Fili and Kili die, and, more cynically, I’m afraid of what the film is going to do to Tauriel to excuse her not being in the LotR trilogy.
Basically, I’m experiencing what I’m going to call Revenge of the Sith dissonance: I know that this movie is going to necessarily include a lot of death and tragedy because it’s required to round out the canon. I also know that the movie will probably end up being objectively bad and far too long. Nevertheless, I will eagerly see the film on its release date and cry honest, inconsolable, childlike tears at the deaths of my faves.