In a recent interview with Empire Magazine, actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s series Sherlock) revealed some possible spoilers concerning The Hobbit. Cumberbatch is playing the dragon Smaug in the upcoming film through the use of motion-capture, the same way actor Andy Serkis plays Gollum. While that is no real surprise since we heard a while ago that he had been signed on to play the dragon, the next tidbit he provided was. He says that he will also be providing voice over for the Necromancer. Stop reading if you don’t want to hear any more.
The Necromancer, for those not familiar with the books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, is none other than the dark lord Sauron who, in The Lord of the Rings, has his stronghold in the land Mordor. Prior to that time though, he lived on the southern edges of the forest Mirkwood in a fortress called Dol Guldur (read our Mirkwood page for a little more history of this area). In The Hobbit, the wizard Gandalf, who sets Bilbo on his way towards the Lonely Mountain with the dwarves, disappears for part of the story. During this time he and the White Council, comprised of wise elves and other wizards (Elrond, Galadriel, and Saruman are a few of the members), challenge the Necomancer and drive him out of Dol Guldur. This happens before the Battle of the Five Armies that occurs at the end of The Hobbit.
According to Cumberbatch though, the Necromancer in the film adaptation of The Hobbit could make an appearance at the Battle of the Five Armies.
“I’m playing Smaug through motion-capture and voicing the Necromancer, which is a character in the Five Legions War or something which I’m meant to understand. He’s not actually in the original Hobbit. It’s something [Peter Jackson]’s taken from Lord Of The Rings that he wants to put in there.”
Speculation about changing the story to have the Necromancer (Sauron) appear at the Battle of the Five Armies is to help provide a cross over into the later story The Lord of the Rings, and also to mesh together the two story lines (Bilbo and the dwarves, and Gandalf and the White Council) in the film adaptation of The Hobbit. We won’t know for sure if this is the path they are taking until the first part of The Hobbit comes out on December 14th.