Stephen Colbert delivered a hilarious, heartwarming speech about his relationship with J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterworks of Middle-earth and Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit at Comic-Con this weekend. In classic Colbert fashion, he did it dressed as the Laketown Spy, his memorable, landmark cameo from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, bringing out his similarly dressed son to complete the adorable bit ahead of a panel on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Colbert would go on to moderate the Five Armies panel as well, but to kick things off, the LOTR superfan recalled his obsession with Tolkien’s books and initial wariness about Jackson’s movies: “I was worried that somehow he would take away my treasure, my horde of precious Middle-earth stories. It was a very possessive, obsessive, very dragon-y feeling, so I found and followed everything I could about the progress of these movies.”
But with each bit of new casting news and photo from the production, Colbert said his hope grew — hope not just that the films would be good, but that “finally people might not roll their eyes when I started talking about Middle-earth. That my head full of facts from Fëanor to Faramir might suddenly have some social value! That someone might say to me, ‘Hey Stephen, you know a lot about Tolkien. Can you explain something to me?’ And I would say ‘Yes, oh God yes, I will!'”
Of course the trilogy went above and beyond Colbert’s expectations, though he still had one complaint: “The only problem, as I saw it, was that at a total running time of 11 and a half hours, they were too damn short.”
Colbert’s entire speech is above, and has also been transcribed over at Vulture. Later in the panel, the comedian boasted about his expansive LOTR knowledge, recalling the trivia contest he won against producer and co-writer Philippa Boyens a few years ago: “You don’t understand,” Colbert cracked, “I’m like an athlete who’s been training his entire life for a race he never knew was coming.”
While Jackson is still working on The Battle of Five Armies, the panelists — including the director himself, Boyens, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Elijah Wood, Graham McTavish, Lee Pace and Andy Serkis — did offer a look inside the final Middle-earth movie, which sees release this December.
When asked if Galadriel would finally get to see some battlefield action this time around, Blanchett said, “I lose my shit… Elven shit,” with Jackson adding, “She gets to kick Sauron’s ass a little in this next film.”