That blonde-haired, pointy-eared, arrow-slinging Legolas had better watch his shapely elfin butt come December's release of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", because for the first time in Middle Earth history, he's actually facing some stiff competition for the title of Prettiest Elf in Rivendell. Turns out that there's a new kid in town for the second installment of the screen adaptation of The Hobbit, a red-haired warrior elf named Tauriel, who'll be played by Evangeline Lilly. Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive first peek at the actress in her costume. Spoiler alert: she looks totally boss.
If Tauriel's name sounds unfamiliar, that's probably because she's not actually in the source material, J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved book about Bilbo Baggins and the plucky band of dwarves whom he joins on their quest for adventure. Instead, she's a new addition from director Peter Jackson, who added the character as part of a larger effort to more fully develop the world of the elves on-screen... and yes, okay, also possibly because the otherwise male-dominated film could use a lady cast member or two. (Not that we don't love Tolkien's original story, but it is, among other things, a beginning-to-end nonstop sausage party.)
Predictably, Tauriel has some pretty vocal haters already — mostly devoted fans of the book who don't want to see any changes to the beloved source material, and especially not if those changes involve a character with boobs — but this isn't the first time that Peter Jackson has made some strategic changes to the populace of Middle Earth, and it usually works out okay. Consider: Radagast the Brown wasn't technically part of The Hobbit, either, but can you imagine the first film without the edge-of-your-seat excitement of watching Radagast rescue Sebastian the Hedgehog from a horrible black magic curse? Of course you can't, it's too horrible.
What do you think: is it okay to add new characters to the Hobbit movie, or should the director stick exclusively to Tolkein's story?