We have yet to see what the dragon character Smaug will fully look like in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. But we have an idea of what he might end up looking like thanks to a design that's been printed on a bunch of sweatshirt for the cast and crew of the film.
CBM points out that the design is very similar to John Howe's design for the character that you can see below. It's a great design, so it would be incredibly cool if this did turn out to be the design. In a previous interview Guillermo Del Toro talked about what he was planning for the dragon,
I paused at what looked like an image of a double-bitted medieval hatchet. "That's Smaug," del Toro said. It was an overhead view: "See, he's like a flying axe." Del Toro thinks that monsters should appear transformed when viewed from a fresh angle, lest the audience lose a sense of awe. Defining silhouettes is the first step in good monster design, he said. "Then you start playing with movement. The next element of design is color. And then finally-finally-comes detail. A lot of people go the other way, and just pile up a lot of detail.
I turned to a lateral image of the dragon. Smaug's body, as del Toro had imagined it, was unusually long and thin. The bones of its wings were articulated on the dorsal side, giving the creature a slithery softness across its belly. "It's a little bit more like a snake," he said. I thought of his big Russian painting. Del Toro had written that the beast would alight "like a water bird."
Smaug's front legs looked disproportionately small, like those of a T. rex. This would allow the dragon to assume a different aspect in closeup: the camera could capture "hand" gestures and facial expressions in one tight frame, avoiding the quivery distractions of wings and tail. (Smaug is a voluble, manipulative dragon; Tolkien describes him as having "an overwhelming personality.") Smaug's eyes, del Toro added, were "going to be sculpturally very hidden." This would create a sense of drama when the thieving Bilbo stirs the beast from slumber.
Del Toro wanted to be creative with the wing placement. "Dragon design can be broken into essentially two species," he explained at one point. Most had wings attached to the forelimbs. "The only other variation is the anatomically incorrect variation of the six-appendage creature"-four legs, like a horse, with two additional winged arms. "But there's no large creature on earth that has six appendages!" He had become frustrated while sketching dragons that followed these schemes. The journal had a discarded prototype. "Now, that's a dragon you've seen before," he said. "I just added these samurai legs. That doesn't work for me.
It looks like there's elements of Del Toro's vision in that image of Samug above. What do you think of the potential design for Smaug?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is due out on December 14th, 2012, with The Hobbit: There and Back Again will be released on December 13th, 2013.
Here's the Synopsis:
The Hobbit is an upcoming two-part epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson. It is a film adaptation of the 1937 novel of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien and prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings, returns as director of the film and also serves as producer and co-writer. The film will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Richard Armitage, known for playing Lucas North in the BBC drama series Spooks, as Thorin Oakenshield. Several actors from Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom. Additionally, composer Howard Shore, who wrote the score for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, has confirmed his role in both parts of the film project. The two parts, entitled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, are being filmed back to back and are currently in production in New Zealand; principal photography began on March 21, 2011. They are scheduled to be released on December 14, 2012 and December 13, 2013, respectively.