Jackson himself announced on Facebook that Evangeline Lilly, best known for her part as Kate in TV’s Lost, and Australian actor Barry Humphries would be joining the cast, and Deadline report that Luke Evans and Benedict Cumberbatch are coming on board for the highly anticipated film.
According to Jackson,
“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.) What is not a secret is how talented and compelling an actress Evangeline is; we are thrilled and excited she will be the one to bring our first true Sylvan Elf to life.”
Lilly has been a brilliant actress from the very start of Lost, and though she’s not been in that many feature films yet, she did star in 2008’s The Hurt Locker and will be starring in Real Steel at the end of this year, and now that Lost has come to an end, hopefully seeing her in The Hobbit will be the start of a great career on the big screen for her. With Liv Tyler’s character, Arwen, from The Lord of the Rings not appearing in The Hobbit, Lilly will no doubt be an excellent replacement female elf as Tauriel.
Jackson also tells us that Humphries will be playing,
“the Goblin King, in much the way Andy Serkis created Gollum… and we’re looking forward to seeing him invest the Goblin King with the delicate sensitivity and emotional depth this character deserves.”
Evans has been a bit of a rising star recently, playing Aramis, one of the three musketeers, in the upcoming The Three Musketeers, as well as playing Zeus in the upcoming film, Immortals, due out in October and November this year, respectively. In The Hobbit, he’ll be playing Bard the Grim, also known as Bard the Bowman,
“a skilled archer, and the heir of King Girion of Dale.”
His father was killed by the talking dragon, Smaug, and he will be taking a more prominent role in the film’s second part, similar to that of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings as a heroic figure.
And finally, Cumberbatch, who is already cast in the film voicing the Necromancer, will be playing Smaug, one of the last dragons alive in Middle-earth, who guards the treasure that Biblo finds along his quest.
Filming has already begun on this two-part film, with their release dates currently set at 14th December 2012 and 13th December 2013, respectively. We still have a while to wait for the first part, An Unexpected Journey, to come out, and then another year before we get There and Back Again, but we all know that Jackson will be creating something pretty special, and it will be well worth the wait to see what he brings us in our return to Middle-earth.