Lake-town's Burning In New Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Pics

Benedict Cumberbatch's Smaug takes flight

Promising something colossal to end his second Tolkien trilogy, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies focuses around two major clashes: Smaug’s assault on Lake-town and the titular free-for-all just outside the Lonely Mountain. The second, you could argue, is less of a battle and more of a barbecue. These exclusive new stills, plucked from the pages of today’s new Empire, show why the townspeople would be well-advised to stock up on fire extinguishers. Click below for a closer look. The connective tissue between the two big action sequences belongs to Luke Evans’ Bard the Bowman. Of the men of Middle-earth, he’s the one that stands tallest - and he’ll need to, judging by that phalanx of orcs he’s wandered into – as he and his brethren join the elves and dwarves in the saga-concluding showdown. As the January issue of Empire – onsale today with five special covers – goes behind the scenes of its editor’s final weeks on the movie, expect plenty more from all its key combatants, including Evans, Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage and Lee Pace. Even some orcs stopped by for a chat, although the eagles were busy. Nesting season. {Empire Farewell To Middle-earth Issue Covers} Head here to check out the limited-edition subscribers' cover or here for a whole lot more on what's inside the Peter Jackson-edited issue. The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies arrives in our cinemas on December 12.