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First Look At Empire's The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Covers

New cover revealed: Azog The Defiler and the Orcs

Hobbit BTFA Gandalf still

Update #5 In a did-you-see-what-we-did-there? move for the ages, there are five covers for our new Peter Jackson-edited The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies issue - on sale Thursday, November 27 - and the final reveal, we're going out on a limb (pun intended) with The Orcs. As you can tell with the maces and the blades and the scars and the scowling, they're the film's comic relief. Azog The Defiler is particularly amusing at dinner parties.

Hobbit BTFA Empire Covers


Update #4 The eagles, dwarves and elves have tooled up and assembled in the marshalling area for Empire’s The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies covers. Now it’s the turn of men. Well, man. Luke Evans’ Bard the Bowman, Lake-town’s last hope, is our fourth cover star.

Smaug, a certain arrow, and the fate of Lake-town’s real estate all come into play early in the third chapter of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, but Bard has a key role in the later conflict too. “I remember Peter saying, ‘We’ve set the bar really high, and now we have to raise it higher’,” he recalls of creating the climactic battle. “’A lot higher’.”

Hobbit BTFA Empire Covers


Update #3 Like Grandma Empire gossiping at the post office, we’re happy to say that we’ve got our ‘elf this month. Three of them in fact, each adorning the third newsstand copy of January’s Peter Jackson spectacular. Our three cover stars, Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Thranduil (Lee Pace), denizens of the Woodland Realm, are swapping home comforts for hard steel in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. “A big part of the movie is the rush to the [Lonely] mountain to reclaim this wealth,” Pace tells Empire. “There are things in the mountain that Thranduil wants – heirlooms. White gems he feels very strongly should be returned to him.”

Many streams cross in the concluding chapter of Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy – the dwarves reclaiming their homeland, Sauron weaving dark spells, Smaug working through his furious temper with a spot of lakeside arson – but don’t discount the elves and their ever-shifting loyalties. That’s the message from Pace, although when the time comes, the old-fashioned joys of orc killing are likely to win out over any political concerns. “Thranduil doesn’t want to kill the orcs,” corrects Pace, “he wants to cut them, slice them, torture them.”

Hobbit BTFA Empire Covers


Update #2 The second of our Five Armies covers — celebrating our special issue guest-edited by Peter Jackson — reveals the dwarves, as represented by the battle-armoured trio of Fili (Dean O'Gorman) and Kili (Aidan Turner) flanking a steely-eyed Thorin (Richard Armitage).

You could argue Thorin is as much the protagonist of The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies as the eponymous Bilbo. But he’s hardly the film’s hero. Arguably it is his slipping sanity that kicks off the battle. “He starts to become engulfed by dragon sickness,” Armitage explains in the extensive cover story. “It’s almost Hitler in the bunker.”

The message is clear: no more amusing dwarf antics — this is war. We can expect the darkest, most daring of all the Hobbit movies. A fantasy Jackson insists on calling a psychological thriller.

Pick up the next issue of Empire on November 27 for more Hobbity goodness as well as a trove of Peter Jackson-related exclusives, reunions, never-seen-before curios and news.

Hobbit BTFA Empire Covers


Update #1 The new issue of Empire – a once-in-a-lifetime limited edition guest-edited by Peter Jackson – hits newsstands on Thursday with five limited edition covers marking The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. We'll be debuting them over the next few 24 hours and to get things started, here's a phalanx of eagles, along with Bilbo and Gandalf, adorning the first of them. Click on the image to make them all at least 200 per cent bigger. Even Bilbo.

Hobbit BTFA Empire Covers

Five armies, five covers. The eagles, perhaps the least heralded combatants until now, have hitherto been supporting players, assisting our noble band of warriors at key moments, but their moment in the sun should be suitably dramatic. The air war above the Lonely Mountain will resemble a Great War dogfight with bats and the birds of prey each vying for supremacy and no parachutes provided.

Below them, dwarves, goblins, wargs and men will slug it out on the battlefield and Middle-earth's very future hangs in the balance. The Necromancer, the malevolent dark lord with the '80s synth-pop name, is also up to no good somewhere between Dol Guldur and the Lonely Mountain. As the latest trailer indicates, the outcome(s) will be epic.

With Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Aidan Turner, James Nesbitt and many more among the cast, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies lands on December 12. {New Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Posters} Pick up the next issue of Empire on November 27 for more Hobbity goodness - or order a subscribers' copy here - as well as a trove of Peter Jackson-related exclusives, reunions, never-seen-before curios and news.