Peter Jackson said at this year's San Diego Comic Con that he wanted The Hobbit 3: The Battle of the Five Armies - to be the movie that bridged the gap in tone between the relatively peaceful middle-earth of the Hobbit movies, and the dark, more divided realm that we find in Lord of the Rings.
Safe to say, then, that when it comes out on December 17, [The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies](movie:512312) will be the darkest movie of the Hobbit Trilogy.
And, judging by the tone of the first trailer in which we see Elven and Orc armies preparing for battle, Thorin looking bent on war at all costs, and even Gandalf, broken and unconscious on the floor of the battle, receiving a restoring kiss from Galadriel.
Take a look at the Hobbit 3 trailer here:
One key dynamic in this movie, however, seems to be the opposition between the heroism of Bard the Bowman, and the increasingly proud and vengeful actions of Thorin.
In fact, both of these characters seem to be different sides of the man who may be Tolkien's greatest hero: Aragorn, King of Gondor.
Bard the Bowman: Hero of the Hobbit 3?
Bard is defended from the Dale, a fierce people who are nevertheless very attuned to their natural environment. Peter Jackson has said that he based the look of the cities of the Dale on those of the medieval Russian fortresses in places like Kiev.
It is this background that allows Bard to understand the Thrush `which flies onto his shoulder and tells him of the crucial weakness in Smaug's armour.
By coming slowly and somewhat reluctantly to lead Lake-Town, and being in tune with the natural world, Bard resembles the Ranger side of Aragorn.
Thorin Oakenshield: Fallen Hero?
With Thorin the comparison is more obvious, both he and Aragorn are leaders who have for one reason or another, been expelled from their land.
Thorin is a brave warrior, and in some ways his path has been harder that Aragorn's. He is never able to withdraw from his position as leader, and perhaps the weight of that responsibility is what hardens him, and makes him the flawed and complex character that The Hobbit 3: Battle of the FIve Armies shows him to be.
In the end, Tolkien and Peter Jackson use these two characters show different sides the different sides heroism, which are later united in Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.
But which character do you like best? And, if it came to it, who do you think would win in battle? Write in with these, and any other Hobbit 3: Battle of the FIve Armies thoughts below the line!