How? ‘Or’ What The Hobbit The trilogy got so wrong that Smaug was a bone of contention for many fans, especially given Guillermo del Toro’s original vision for the dragon. While The Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson finally realized The Hobbit trilogy, the original director was del Toro, who spent two years working on the JRR Tolkien adaptation. The filmmaker and his team had already put together a complete aesthetic, creature designs and complete sets. Yet without a script or go-ahead from MGM causing long production delays, he was forced to walk away from The Hobbit films to keep his other projects alive at the time.

by Jackson Hobbit movies The desolation of Smaug and The battle of the five armies Develop the character of Smaug, with Bilbo learning that the fearsome dragon has taken Erebor Mountain with force. Smaug killed and displaced the dwarves who lived there to claim untold riches, including the coveted Arkenstone. Bilbo (Black Panther Martin Freeman) eventually comes face to face with Smaug, engaging the dragon in puzzles before hiding with the One Ring and stealing the Arkenstone. Thorin (Richard Armitage) and his company then fight Smaug in Erebor, only serving to enrage the dragon before he flies off to Dale to remind the villagers of his power. Bard (Luke Evans) eventually shoots Smaug from the sky, killing the dragon with his father’s black arrows.

Related: Why Guillermo Del Toro Left The Hobbit

Yet del Toro and his team’s original designs by Smaug are a painful reminder of what could have been, with Jackson’s The Hobbit missing the mark on key dragon concepts. Guillmerp Del Toro’s Smaug is aesthetically superior, while its design also incorporates critical physical elements of the dragon that were overlooked in Jackson’s final product. Guillermo del Toro’s character arc for the beast would also have made a lot more sense, relating to JRR Tolkien’s original post to Middle-earth regarding the dragon’s disappearance.

Original design by Smaug by Del Toro


The original concepts developed by del Toro and his team differ greatly from the final version presented in the second Hobbit movie. The director designed Smaug’s initial vision to increase the tension in the scene where he tries to locate Bilbo based on his scent. The filmmaker told his design team he wanted Smaug’s eyes to be hard to locate, hidden in a domed head so audiences couldn’t see where he was looking. The mouth was to be a gaping mouth, but meant to move in a very human and expressive way to further disturb viewers. The idea of ​​an almost blind gaze, Don’t breathe-esque Smaug sniffing deep gulps of air as he chases Bilbo away would have made an incredibly tense streak.

The director conceded when revealing these early designs that they did not conform to the Western mythology idea of ​​a dragon, which caused tensions within the production team. However, del Toro also admitted that Smaug’s original design was meant to cause discomfort, especially around the way his mouth moved, which would juxtapose the rest of his granite features. The first design certainly screams vintage del Toro, with Smaug’s curved horns appearing to have been lifted from Pan’s Labyrinth and placed on top of Erebor. The Jacksons’ Smaug didn’t fail on the big screen, with Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice with aplomb to the firedrake. We can also argue the Smaug delivered in the final Hobbit films were much more marketable given the aforementioned Western ideals of a dragon. Still, del Toro’s desire to do something that subverts expectations, leaning into strange and unfamiliar territory, is to be commended, especially since he would have had the desired effect in making Smaug a figure of the terror.

Guillermo del Toro’s narrative plans for Smaug

Guillermo del Toro had another design for Smaug up his sleeve, envisioning the creature as having a jeweled belly. This is in keeping with Tolkien’s original concept instead of the final version of Jackson, a scaled stomach with a weak spot unknown to Smaug. Not only does the concept of jewelry glued to Smaug’s belly look like a dazzling visual choice, it also has heavier thematic consequences in the undoing. Mountains of madness director’s story. In Tolkien and del Toro’s versions, Smaug’s jewel-encrusted belly is the reason for his defeat. Del Toro Smaug is incredibly proud of the treasures that have become a part of his physique after years of wealth, so he can’t help but brag about it to Bilbo when they interact. When Smaug makes peacocks, Bilbo notices that there is a place that has no treasure on it and later passes it on to the Lakemen, which gives Bard the advantage in his duel with the firedrake. This adds tremendous legitimacy to Bard’s ability to shoot a dragon from the sky, even in a fantasy setting. In The scary ones According to director Peter Jackson’s take on the material, Bard somehow spots Smaug’s missing ladder from its position in the nest – despite Laketown smoke burning below him. While The Hobbit set in a fantasy world, this detail of Jackson’s sequel still looks questionable and was the subject of controversy upon its release.

Related: How The Hobbit Changed Ringwraith’s Origins For The Desolation Of Smaug

Jackson and MGM’s decision to go their separate ways The Hobbit in three films is also an odd choice given the length of the original narrative. The desolation of Smaug does a great job of increasing the tension around the dragon, first with Bilbo escaping, then with Thorin defeating Smaug in Erebor. The tension peaks as Smaug flies off to Laketown, proclaiming himself the harbinger of fire and death before the film’s abrupt end, destroying all the hard work it takes to reach that critical moment. When the tale resumes for LOTR and Hobbit director Peter Jackson in The battle of the five armies a year later, it is almost impossible to regain that same tension. Guillermo del Toro, on the other hand, planned to make two films instead of three and, therefore, wanted to tell Smaug’s story in its entirety during the second chapter. This would have resulted in a much cleaner final product, although del Toro would also have bowed to studio pressure to lengthen the story for financial gain is unknown.

Poetic Justice for The Hobbit’s Smaug

Guillermo del Toro’s insistence on staying true to The Hobbit the source material serves as further evidence that he would have delivered a quite satisfactory arc for Smaug. Tolkien’s works always contain fables, and The Hobbit is no different. Originally written for his son, Tolkien wanted to give his child valuable life lessons through the narrative, and the director was committed to translating that to the screen. Guillermo del Toro’s prolific vision indicated that Smaug’s downfall was not due to sheer skill like Jackson’s version, but that his own pride and greed had ultimately defeated the dragon. If Smaug hadn’t coveted treasure, he wouldn’t have had an unnatural jewel-encrusted belly to make him complacent.

Moreover, if he hadn’t flouted his belly at Bilbo, Bard would have been unable to defeat him. In this way, del Toro’s version serves satisfying poetic justice and teaches a valuable lesson to young viewers that The Hobbit the story was originally aimed. Jackson’s trilogy certainly delivers positive messages of unity and shows characters (sometimes incredibly) triumphant in the face of adversity. Yet del Toro The Hobbit would have stood up for those same core values ​​while doing justice to Smaug in a way the final version sadly failed to do.

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