In the late ’90s, Peter Jackson was given an unenviable task. The director needed to recreate J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Middle-earth as realistically and lovingly as possible to appease the fantasy author’s fervent fans while still delivering a blockbuster that would please studio heads more focused on profits as green as Hobbiton’s lush fields. And, shockingly, with 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Jackson did just that. With the exception of a few omissions (sorry, Tom Bombadil — we skipped over you while reading the book anyway), the director managed to deliver a remarkably faithful adaptation to the big screen, complete with Tolkien’s voice, vision, and most beloved characters.
But, following two successful follow-ups, one of which — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King — bagged the Academy Award for Best Picture, Jackson was faced with a more interesting dilemma. After taking on The Hobbit adaptation, the director was tasked with bringing a book to life that even Tolkien fans have trouble mustering up excitement for. After delivering the epic Lord of the Rings franchise, Jackson could hardly offer fans the floppy, juvenile treatment the book asked for. So, to no one’s surprise and the benefit of adventure-seeking audiences, Jackson took several liberties with The Hobbit, bringing to screen a less faithful, but far more exciting, adaptation.
So where did The Hobbit depart from its original source material? See below for a few of the biggest changes!