The Hobbit: Evangeline Lilly Talks Tauriel

The Hobbit EW cover featuring TaurielTolkien fans may have embraced The Lord of the Rings film trilogy but not without complaints about changes and omissions (remember Tom Bombadil?). But in The Hobbit films, Peter Jackson is risking another change to the beloved canon that has had fans typing away on the blogosphere in anger: the addition of a completely new character, the elven warrior Tauriel. Tauriel was written into the movie as a way for Jackson to include a female presence in a story that has no major roles for women, but writing a brand new character into a story that many fans consider sacrosanct is just asking for trouble. No one understands this more than Evangeline Lilly, the actress who plays Tauriel herself.

In an extended Q&A after the live fan event that occurred earlier this week, Lilly spoke with EW about her character’s origins. You can watch the video here, and learn about how Tauriel grew up and how Lilly approached the character (including a comparison to a certain Dark Knight). She also spoke with EW in the this week’s cover story in their magazine, where she discussed just how big a fan of Tolkien she is and how she was initially reluctant to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But she eventually watched the films and loved them, so when she was asked to play Tauriel she accepted, but not without knowing there would be a backlash from some fans, something Peter Jackson was aware of as well. Lilly said:

I did have to hesitate and go, ‘Whoa, people are going to hate me.’ But I really couldn’t refuse. It was just too good to say no to.

Philippa Boyens, co-writer of the script, is also very much aware of the potential for backlash, but she has a positive outlook:

The reaction will be the reaction. It is scary. I’m touching wood right now, but I actually believe she’s going to become a favorite. She is a bit of a breath of fresh air in many ways. And I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing in any story.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, complete with the brand new character Tauriel, will open in theaters December 13. What do you think about the introduction of a new character? Will you watch either way? Sound off in the comments!