No ‘Hobbit’ Panel at SDCC

J. R. R. Tolkien fans hoping for a glimpse of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in Hall H will have to wait. The second “Hobbit” movie won’t be coming to San Diego’s Comic-Con International, director Peter Jackson announced Monday on the film’s production blog.

“I just want to pass on some news, which I’m sure is going to be disappointing to anyone going toComic-Con this year, any fans,” Jackson said in a video posted on the blog. “A couple of days ago I told [Warner Bros.] that I just really wasn’t ready to present anything of ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ at Comic-Con this year.”

Disappointing it may be — especially for attendees who are shining their One Rings and getting their elf ears fitted for some Tolkien-themed cosplay — but at least Jackson appears to have a good reason for shirking the “Comic-Con burden”: He’s got his hands full actually making the movie.

“We’re still shooting, and we’re going to be shooting through the period of Comic-Con,” he said in the video (watch it below). “I’m so busy shooting … that every hour that I spend focusing on a really great reel for Comic-Con — and it would have to be great — would be hours spent away from the vital job of making the second and third ‘Hobbit’ films as cool as they can possibly be.”

At last year’s expo, of course, Jackson unveiled more than 12 minutes of footage from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first installment in the planned trilogy. And on the convention floor, Warner Bros. handed out acorn pins (like Bilbo’s) from its enormous “Hobbit”-themed booth. It’s likely that despite its absence from Hall H, “The Hobbit” will still get some promotion on the convention floor.

“The Desolation of Smaug,” which hits theaters Dec. 13, is part two in the series, following last year’s box-office hit “An Unexpected Journey.” “Desolation” picks up where the first film left off, after hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the dwarfs escape from a band of bloodthirsty orcs.

The film introduces several new characters, including the titular dragon Smaug (played by Benedict Cumberbatch through performance-capture technology), Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans), skinchanger Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), an elf woman created for the film.

In addition to Bilbo and Gandalf, other returning characters include wizard Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) and dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company of dwarf warriors. Orlando Bloom is reprising his “The Lord of the Rings” role as fan-favorite elf warrior Legolas.

Like its predecessor, “The Desolation of Smaug” was shot in 3-D at 48 frames per second and will be released in 2-D, High Frame Rate 3-D, other 3-D formats and IMAX.

The third and final film in the trilogy, ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is slated for a December 2014 release.

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