By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 11, 2013 at 12:46PM
It seems so long ago when there was genuine excitement for "The Hobbit" franchise, with Peter Jackson taking the reins, and two movies promising to bring audiences back to Middle Earth. But then two got stretched to three, there was that whole 48 frames-per-second thing and then when "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" arrived it...well, it was unexpectedly disappointing to some degree. While the LOTR series certainly stretched it legs, for the first time the bloat was really felt, and perhaps indicated that expanding an already thin novella may not have been the wisest choice. But maybe the middle movie will be the step in the right direction? Either way, we're cautious....
The first trailer for "The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug" has dropped, and really, the only reason anyone is here is for one reason: Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular dragon. But there are lots of other new faces to keep up with too including: Evangeline Lilly's elf warrior Tauriel; Lee Pace's Elvenking Thranduil; Mikael Persbrandt's skin-changing Beorn; Luke Evans as Bard The Bowman; Stephen Fry as Master Of Lake Town and oh hell, Orlando Bloom is back as Legolas.
So, is 'Smaug' the strong bridge between the first film and the finale, or a holding pattern? Watch the trailer and let us know below -- the film hits on December 13th.