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The Hobbit: Who Will Return?

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Empire Online's Hobbit WeekPeter Jackson's long-awaited adaptation of The Hobbit sees the return of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to shepherd a new crew of heroes through Middle-earth. He and Gollum (Andy Serkis) are obviously key players in the story, but they're not the only Rings veterans to make an encore in Tolkien's tale of epic quests, giant piles of gold and a fierce, bling-loving dragon. Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee and Orlando Bloom also return to the Mortal Lands as Galadrial, Saruman and Legolas respectively, but what of Elrond, Merry, Boromir et al? And will Sauron pop up, possibly as a trainee necromancer? Yesterday we offered some tips for better dwarfing; today it's the turn of the other characters. Read on for a character-by-character breakdown of all the major players from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: Tolkien scholars claim she was born in the year 1362 of the Years of the Trees. Honestly, we have no idea what they’re talking about.

Whereabouts: Living in the forest domain of Lothlorien, as seen in The Fellowship Of The Ring, with her equally blond and serious husband Celeborn.

Does she appear in the book? No. If she turns up, her scenes will be derived from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.

Odds of appearing in the film: Blanchett has already made a deal to appear. But in what form? Well, in 2941, the year The Hobbit begins, the White Council — an alliance of good guys formed at Galadriel’s behest – launch an assault on Sauron’s stronghold of Dol Guldur. This storyline will likely be intertwined with Bilbo’s quest, and we’d be surprised if the Lady of the Golden Wood didn’t show her tresses. She may even get some combat scenes this time.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: Ludicrously old. He was the first of five wizards to arrive in Middle-earth, a while 2019 years before the action of The Lord Of The Rings.

Whereabouts: Heading up the White Council, despite Galadriel’s strong misgivings — she wanted the less creepy Gandalf for the job.

Does he appear in the book? No. His material would be taken from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, as well as Appendix B to The Lord Of The Rings.

Odds of appearing in the film: Rock-solid. Christopher Lee’s website recently stated, “It now looks certain, providing that he is in good health, that he will be appearing in the movie.” If his health does deteriorate, the part will be recast, but whatever the case, Saruman’s corruption by Sauron will be part of the story.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: N/A

Whereabouts: Wasn’t born.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Again, might pop up in flashback, no doubt being a scamp and causing mischief while Frodo tries to concentrate on his book.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: N/A

Whereabouts: Unlike Aragorn, who’s a Dunedain and blessed with long life, Boromir is still a long way off being born.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Miniscule. Unless he happens to be travelling through Bag End during that flashback and rides his horse past Frodo’s window. Come to think of it, that would be awesome.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: N/A

Whereabouts: Not even a twinkle in a Shireling’s eye.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Same as Merry’s.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: About 6,000.

Whereabouts: Rivendell, being a surrogate dad to Aragorn.

Does he appear in the book? Yes. He gives shelter to Bilbo and the dwarves early on in the adventure.

Odds of appearing in the film: Certain. As well as marshalling 13 unruly dwarves in the Rivendell sequence (we can picture Weaving’s exasperated eyebrows already), we have a feeling Elrond will play a big part in the White Council scenes too. After all, he not only has great oratory talents, but skills with a blade too.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: 2,700

Whereabouts: Living in Lórien, with her grandma Galadriel.

Does she appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Not bad. She’s still ten years away from meeting future husband Aragorn, but could pop up in scenes with Galadriel, stroking leaves and doing similarly Elfy things.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: Unknown, but he’s no spring chicken. Put it this way — he was born before the creation of Arda, which makes him more even older than Mickey Rooney.

Whereabouts: The Dark Lord is at this point yet to adopt the form of a big red eye, instead appearing as a dark sorcerer called the Necromancer. His evil headquarters are known as Dol Guldur, or the Hill of Sorcery, where presumably he employs wargs with frickin’ laser-beams attached to their heads.

Does he appear in the book? He’s mentioned a few times — Gandalf finds his map of the Lonely Mountain in the Necromancer’s dungeon.

Odds of appearing in the film: Good, but he won’t be flamey or ocular. Intriguingly, Sauron may get played by an actor and get proper dialogue this time, rather than just hissing when someone puts the Ring on.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: 11,000

Whereabouts: Probably Fangorn Forest, but since he can walk he could be chilling in any glade from Buckland to Esgaroth.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Team Bilbo do head through Mirkwood, so there's always a slim chance that Jackson could pop Treebeard into the background in the trees somewhere. He could also appear to play a part in Gandalf's campaign to oust the Necromancer (actually Sauron) from the Mirkwood area, sending him back to Mordor.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: 500, give or take a decade.

Whereabouts: Beneath the Misty Mountain.

Does he appear in the book? Has young master reader read the book precious?

Odds of appearing in the film: Put your hobbit hole on it. When Bilbo gets separated from the dwarves deep in the gloomy roots of the Misty Mountain, he comes across old Lantern Eyes in a cave deep underground. To prevent being murdered and eaten by the tricksy creature, he challenges Gollum to a game of riddles and... well, let's not spoil the fun. The Hobbit-era Gollum has of course already been glimpsed in the prologue to The Fellowship Of The Ring, but we're guessing the CG design will be tweaked.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: N/A

Whereabouts: Bilbo heads off on his quest 23 years before the birth of Frodo, meaning the future ring-bearer is fundamentally non-existent.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: It’s been confirmed that Frodo will turn up —not as a tiny Hobbit sperm (this isn’t Look Who’s Talking) — but in flashback, narrating the story of the quest as he reads it in the Red Book of Westmarch. That will link up nicely with the beginning of The Fellowship Of The Ring, which (in the Extended Version, at least) begins as Bilbo finishes scribbling the tale in the book.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: N/A

Whereabouts: Sam is 12 years younger than Frodo, so again was a long way off existing, let alone being able to help sucker-punch a dragon.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Decent. If Frodo’s there, it makes sense for his friend and gardener to appear by his side. Especially as Sam ends up inheriting the Red Book when Frodo sails into the West.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: Ten

Whereabouts: Rivendell. When Aragorn was only two, his father was killed and he was taken in by Elrond, who looked after him in the Elven stronghold.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Pretty high, though in boy - not Mortensen - form. Bilbo’s company passes through Rivendell both on their way to the Lonely Mountain and on their way back to the Shire. It would make sense if they stopped to pat the future king of Middle-earth on the head in a patronising fashion.

Age at the start of The Hobbit: 62

His whereabouts: While his father, Gloin, was part of the dwarf company accompanying Bilbo, poor Gimli was left sitting on his arse in the Misty Mountains. This might explain why he became so axe-happy later in life.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Slim. Considering his dad plays such a key part in The Hobbit, Gimli may get a name-check. But don’t get your hopes up about seeing Rhys-Davies himself — he told Empire in October 2009, “I’ve already been asked and to be honest with you, I wouldn’t come back. Really, I’m not sure my face can take that sort of punishment anymore. And why would I want to do it if it was just a couple of shots? When you’ve been one of one, why would you want to be one of 13?”

Age at the start of The Hobbit: Estimated to be somewhere between 500 and 3,000.

Whereabouts: Tolkien never said, but seeing as the dashing Elf is the son of the king of Mirkwood, it makes sense that he’d be hanging around the forest somewhere.

Does he appear in the book? No.

Odds of appearing in the film: Very good. A significant portion of The Hobbit takes place in the black forest of Mirkwood, where Bilbo and the dwarves battle giant spiders, then have to escape from the dungeons of the Wood-Elves. Plenty of opportunities for Peter Jackson to throw in a fresh Leggy-does-something-humanly-impossible stunt crowdpleaser.