When Peter Jackson decided to pull material from the "Lord of the Rings" appendices, pinning down what was fair game for his new "Hobbit" trilogy became much harder. With a whole world of Tolkien material to pad out the three films, a new cast of characters became eligible for cameos.
But watching the first installment, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," there's really only one character you're curious about: Gollum.
"The Lord of the Rings" turned him into an iconic and essential element of the cinematic version of Middle-earth. Could Jackson and co. really say "goodbye" to him after just one scene? We had to put the question to Andy Serkis during a recent press tour.
"That's a very good question. At the moment there certainly aren't any plans for Gollum to return," Serkis said when asked about the possibility. "But I always say [when working] with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, never say never."
Hmmm. That sounds a bit like a more polite version of "can't tell you." We'll have to wait and see until "The Desolation of Smaug" opens next December.