Luke Evans Joins The Hobbit

And Benedict Cumberbatch in as Smaug

Though the films have been shooting for several weeks already, the lengthy production on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again and the wealth of characters to cast means there are several names still to be added. So we have two new faces today. Well, one and a half… And one of those likely won’t have his face shown at all. But let’s start with the true new arrival: Luke Evans has nabbed the role of Bard the Bowman.

Bard is the son and heir of Girion, the last king of old Dale. A haunted type, he carries the emotional baggage of his father’s slaughter by the dragon Smaug and became known as “the grim” because of his sour disposition. But, as his name suggests, he’s also a skilled archer, a talent that comes in useful when Bard has his own confrontation with the scaly, treasure-hoarding beast.

Talking of Smaug, the dragon is now one of the reasons why Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch has been hired on to the film. While he was already set to play the voice of a mysterious character called the Necromancer (who – spoiler alert – turns out to be none other than Sauron in the later stories), Deadline reports that he’s also going to be slipping into a motion capture suit to portray Smaug, while using his particular vocal tones to bring the creature’s growl to life.

Evans will next be seen in Immortals and then The Three Musketeers, while Cumberbatch, in addition to his work on the next series of Holmes adventures, will be on cinema screens in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and War Horse.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will arrive next year, followed in 2013 by The Hobbit: There and Back Again.