We are now less than a month away from the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three movies Peter Jackson will adapt from J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale.

While some—including me—are skeptical of the book being stretched out into three movies, whether we like it or not, it’s happening. And while certain Tolkien fans—myself included, again—were a bit irked by some of Jackson’s changes in his film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings, some of his changes actually worked out for the better.

So we know that the three films will allow most—if not all—parts of The Hobbit to appear on screen, and that the scriptwriting team will likely elaborate on certain plot points that happen “offstage” in the books.

Given that, what scenes in the Hobbit—or events that are mentioned but not included in the narrative—should be included in the first film An Unexpected Journey? I don’t mean scenes essential to the film; I mean certain points that add flavor to the book, or bits of backstory that would be cool to see onscreen.

First, I should note that I’m following fan speculation on the point at which An Unexpected Journey ends: the consensus seems to be that the film will end shortly after the company escapes the warg-and-goblin attack east of the Misty Mountains and meet Beorn, the shape-changing woodsman.

So, here are the ten scenes I think The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey should include, in “chronological” order. Some are details I loved from the book, others are episodes told in exposition that I’ve always wanted to see someone take on. But they all represent a grumpy Tolkien fan coming to terms with Jackson et al’s inevitable changes to the book I grew up loving.

Also, a warning: while I obviously don’t know what’s going to be in the movie, this does contain many spoilers from The Hobbit book.

10. Gandalf in the Necromancer’s Dungeon

 

Gandalf gained the map to the Lonely Mountain, and the key to its hidden door, from Thrain, the father of the dwarves’ leader Thorin. And he received these items while Thrain was held captive in the dungeon of the Necromancer (who is later revealed to be Sauron). In the book, we learn this from Gandalf during the first meeting of Bilbo and the dwarves.

Since we know the movies will include depictions of the White Council’s fight against the Necromancer, it would be nice if this scene was part of An Unexpected Journey. This could be either a flashback while Gandalf is discussing the quest in Bilbo’s home, or even the opening of the movie.

Think about it. What exactly does the Necromancer’s dungeon look like? Jackson could do a lot with such a horrific scene. How does Gandalf sneak in to the dungeon? And since Thrain had one of the seven Rings Sauron had given to the dwarves—although this was taken from him by the time Gandalf found him—the scene could tie in with the Ring and the events of the Lord of the Rings.

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This article was first posted on November 26, 2012