Though, naturally, a lot of elements are being kept under wraps,’s panel at this year’s WonderCon offering an exciting scoop on what to expect in The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. is a website dedicated to all things Tolkien, not limited to Peter Jackson’s dazzling film adaptations of the author’s works. Staffers including Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway and Larry “MrCere” Curtis had the opportunity to visit the New Zealand set of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. They shared photos, experiences on the set, as well as predictions at a panel at this year’s WonderCon in Anaheim, CA.

I, of course, would love to share some of the photos I was able to see, but I’m obviously scared of an attack by orcs who are passionate about following proper copyright protocol. However, we do have a six minute exerpt of the live event director Peter Jackson hosted which features a preview of the film below!

The panel had a couple of rousing guesses that made a lot of the elven fans “ooh” and “ah”. One, of course, was a picture of Orlando Bloom returning as Legolas. The panel spoke about their experience watching Bloom perform a stunt in front of a green screen. The Tolkien aficionados imagine seeing Legolas do even more gravity-defying stunts that are physically impossible but mesmerizing to watch. Another conjecture includes a story arc that explores the relationship between Legolas and his father, Thranduil, played by Lee Pace.

Speaking about Lee Pace, who played Ned on the dearly departed Pushing Daisies, everyone on the panel agreed that we’re going to see a different side of Pace when it comes to his approach of Thranduil. They say he brought an “exciting energy” to the role and even suggested watching the movie, The Fall, to get a glimpse of Pace’s versatility as an actor.

Finally, if you’re a fan of the strong heroine, you’ll probably be most enthusiastic about the introduction of Tauriel, an elf prison guard played by Lost’s Evangeline Lilly. Though the entire panel spent a while gushing about Evangeline Lilly being so nice, they mentioned that Lilly brings more of a toughness to Tauriel, more so than Miranda Otto’s Eowyn. Therefore, we should expect to see Tauriel as a resilient warrior, especially during a potential moment when she interrogates a prisoner.

Now, no one could answer for sure whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch (speaking of “oohing” and “ah-ing”) would actually make the cut into the second Hobbit film or have his part take place entirely in the third installment.

Based on the panel’s contagious enthusiasm and charming devotion to all things Tolkien, the buzz for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is palpable. Whether or not The’s predictions come true, we can be certain that the next installment of the Hobbit will take us to places that both Tolkien enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts will appreciate. What are your predictions about the upcoming Hobbit movie? Share them below!