*Advanced Plot Spoiler Warning: As you can probably guess from the title, things are going to get a little spoiler-y in a few lines, so if you’re wanting to fly fairly blind with The Hobbit, then look away now!*

We first got word way back in June last year that Evangeline Lilly had been cast in Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth in The Hobbit. When the announcement came, Jackson told us that Lilly would be playing a character created especially for the film, which is expected to develop the novel in its adaptation, spanning over two parts:

“Evangeline Lilly will be playing a new character—the Woodland Elf, Tauriel. Her name means ‘daughter of Mirkwood’ and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing! (No, there is no romantic connection to Legolas.)”

Whilst doing an interview with EW for the release of Real Steel on DVD/Blu-Ray this week in the States (we’ll be getting it on 20th February here), Lilly spoke more about her character, revealing some really interesting details:

“EW: Speaking of small and little, I’d be remiss not to bring up The Hobbit. You’re playing a new character named Tauriel, who’s a Mirkwood elf, and that would lead me to believe that she is a warrior of some kind. Did you have to learn archery and swordplay?

Lilly: Yes, she is a warrior. She’s actually the head of the Elven guard. She’s the big shot in the army. So she knows how to wield any weapon, but the primary weapons that she uses are a bow and arrow and two daggers. And she’s lethal and deadly. You definitely wouldn’t want to be caught in a dark alley next to Tauriel.

EW: So then Tauriel must be involved with the dwarves being captured…

Lilly: I think basically what you’re asking is if she’s in the film very much. She’s not in the first film very much. She comes into the first film near the end, and has a very small part to play. Her role in the second film is much more involved. Although, I have to say, when I first read the scripts and took the job, she had a lot less going on in the second film. I think the role is becoming a bit more demanding than I had expected it to be. There’s a lot more for me to do now, which is a lot of fun, but it’s a little more pressure.”

Definitely interesting, especially the fact that she’ll be really involved in the second film in particular. Best known for her work on TV’s Lost, Real Steel last year, and that little-known Oscar winner, The Hurt Locker, Lilly is a fantastic actress, and I’m really looking forward to seeing her in this role, not least because it’s been entirely created for the film.

Time for a bit of 100% good old-fashioned guess-work: It’s looking as though she’ll be playing the female lead in the second film, which makes me wonder if her role will also be a romantic interest. Jackson clearly stated that she’s not a romantic connection to Legolas, but I’d quietly place a small wager (which I would adamantly deny if proven wrong when the films are released) on her being involved somehow with Luke Evans’ character, Bard the Grim, also known as Bard the Bowman.

His character is being likened to that of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, and when the announcement of his involvement came (at the same time as Lilly’s), it was said that he’d be playing a larger role in the second film. So, I could be adding two and two to make five, but it sounds as though there could be a similar relationship to Aragon and Arwen in Tauriel and Bard. Either way, we’ll have to wait until at least December this year, if not December next year with the second part, to find out if I’m right.

Along with Lilly and Evans, the fantastic cast includes both new and familiar faces in the forms of Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Stephen Fry, Hugo Weaving, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, and Christopher Lee.

The first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will be with us on 14th December this year, followed by the second, The Hobbit: There And Back Again, on 13th December next year. If you’ve missed any of our coverage of the films so far, you can catch up on it all right here. I’d particularly recommend the rather brilliant first trailer that Jackson treated us to for Christmas last month.