I can’t have been the only one who laughed when, at the end of ‘An Unexpected Journey’, the company act like they’re only a few miles away from the Lonely Mountain and when the shot cuts to it it’s so far away you can barely see it.
Also, during the ‘Misty Mountains’ song over the credits, one line is ‘We’ll be there soon’ and I said out loud “You poor eejit, you have no idea,” and then I realised I was talking to the soundtrack as if it was a real person and that this, this was what this film had done to me.
Still, I have actually doubted at times if they’re going to get to Smaug even by the end of the second film, let alone kill him off. And I know that sounds pessimistic, but consider that we’ve still got a shed load of stuff to get through:
1. Getting to Beorn’s house and staying there for a while,
2. Getting to Mirkwood and Gandalf leaving,
3. Trying to get through Mirkwood and not having much success in that area and generally implying the passing of time. Seriously, they spend about a month in there, maybe more. Also possibly the stream that Bombur falls into which makes him lose his memory, although whether they’ll include that is still unclear. The same with the Elves feasting and trolling them when they try to approach,
4. Getting captured by spiders and Bilbo coming to the rescue, though not before he’s fought off his own spider and named Sting,
5. Getting caught by the Wood Elves,
6. Being imprisoned by the Wood Elves,
7. Escaping from the Wood Elves,
8. Dealing with the process of escaping from the Wood Elves i.e. nearly getting drowned in rapids, from what I can tell from the behind-the-scenes footage,
9. Getting to Lake Town,
10. Interacting with the people in Lake Town,
11. Getting to the Mountain,
12. Getting into the Mountain,
13. And, in addition, finding time to show whatever wacky hijinks it is that Gandalf and the White Council are getting up to.
This is all before Bilbo even comes face to face (you know what I mean) with Smaug. Probably it doesn’t sound like too much laid out, but it all adds up. And this is just the bare bones of what happens; there’s a lot more that can be added on, considering the messages, plot threads and Chekov’s Guns that need to be gotten across to the audience.