“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second of three Hobbit films being produced by Peter Jackson, hits theaters Friday, and it features a brand new villain: Smaug.
“Who’s Smaug?” you may be asking. Well, first off, however you’re pronouncing the name, you’re probably wrong. Second, Smaug is probably the most awesome dragon in fantasy literature. A talking dragon.
In the film, the giant dragon is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, offering his second major villain of the year (after Khan in “Star Trek: Into Darkness.") (Third if you count cyber information leaker Julian Assange in “The Fifth Estate” or the plantation owner from “12 Years A Slave.”) Cumberbatch even did the motion capture for Smaug, so fans will have to watch for any of his "Sherlock" mannerisms.
The film received its Los Angeles premiere at the Dolby Theatre last week, and it’s opening wide this weekend. Here’s a look at the character’s background, as developed by J.R.R. Tolkien in “The Hobbit” book: He’s been beefed up a bit in the films, according to the writers at Finances Online (who produced the following infographic), but looks to still retain his Smaugian origins.