Fans of ‘Lost’ are going to see a very familiar face as they step into the theater to see the opening of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’. Thanks to EW we are happy to share with you the first image of Evangeline Lilly in her new role as the Sylvan Elf known as Tauriel.

Those who are familiar with all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works might be scratching their heads right now. Who exactly is Tauriel? Was she mentioned briefly in one of the many appendixes? Was there a focus on her in one of the short stories? Why can’t you remember where Tauriel is from? Well the reason is because Tauriel is a brand new character created by Peter Jackson and the co-writers of the script Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.

The Sylvan elf was created with the idea of fleshing out the world of the elves of Mirkwood Forest. Also it would appear she was added so that the entire cast isn’t full of just male leads.

When asked about her role, Lilly states:

Tauriel is the head of the Elven Guard. She’s a Sylvan Elf, which means she’s of a much lower order than the elves we all became acquainted with in The Lord of the Rings. She doesn’t hold the same kind of status that Arwen or Galadriel or Elrond or Legolas do — she’s much more lowly. She sort of goes against the social order of the elves a little bit.

Not a highborn elf means we’ll get more of an idea on how the ‘common’ elves live in this world onscreen in a way that we haven’t before. However. even as she is the head of the Elven Guard, she’s not just a hardened warrior according to Lilly:

“She will definitely have a love story… I can’t give away too much about it. It’s not a huge focus but it is there and it is important and it does drive Tauriel and her story and her actions. Tauriel’s relationship with Legolas is significant. They’ve known each other since they were children, and Legolas’ dad, [Elven king] Thranduil, has a soft spot for Tauriel and sees something very special in her. So if you grow up side by side, and your dad has a very special spot in his heart for this young woman who’s a fantastic warrior, I think it’s hard not to notice her.” [She laughs] That’s probably as much as I can say.”

So not only is she going to be a major character but she’ll be part of how Legolas is involved in the films. Now if you are a die hard Tolkien fan, here’s a chance you’d take issue with what’s being done. However, if that was the case, you’d probably already have given up on ‘The Hobbit’ from how the ‘Lord of the Rings’ decided what would and wouldn’t be included in the movie. According to Lilly, though, she’s prepared for that kind of a reaction:

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are going to be people who will totally hate Tauriel, think that she shouldn’t be in the movie, that it’s a betrayal of Tolkien, and no matter what I do it won’t be right,” she says. “There will be everything between that and people who adore her and think it’s such a fun thing to have added to the film. I kind of got prepped for that being on Lost, because we had avid fans who were really extreme in their feelings about the show and its characters. But I think if anyone knows how to respect Tolkien, it’s Peter, Fran and Phil. And Tauriel fits perfectly in that world.

I’m not going to lie that when I heard Peter Jackson was going to be turning ‘The Hobbit’ into a trilogy, I was a bit apprehensive. Having completely enjoyed the first of the three films and also fondly remembering how much I loved what he did with ‘The Lord of the Rings’, I have full faith in how he is going to execute the creation of a new character.

What do you think about Lilly acting in a character created to expand the universe of ‘The Hobbit’? Is this a piece of blasphemy to the original or will Peter once more knock it out of the ballpark?