I was rereading a chapter of Watership Down the other night, refreshing my memory on the way that Richard Adams builds such excruciating suspense without sacrificing beautiful descriptive language. And I began worrying about what might happen when Hollywood gets around to cooking up another big-screen version of this great story.

That got me worrying about The Hobbit… again. (As if I don’t have enough to worry about.)

Let’s compose an open letter to the screenwriters of The Hobbit, now that we have some idea of who they’ll be. Let’s tell them our concerns…

When Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring opened, the Internet nearly exploded as fans voiced their views on what the filmmakers got right and what they got wrong. The buzz took on dimensions Star Wars had never known simply because there was Source Material, and often that material differed in substantial ways with what we saw onscreen.

Let’s pretend that the screenwriting team for The Hobbit is paying attention to what the fans want to see. What scenes in The Hobbit are closest to your heart? What lines are most important in the story? What can you imagine the filmmakers might be tempted to do in revising and expanding the story, and would you agree, or would your stand up in defense of Tolkien’s own story?

What would think if they gave Bilbo a love interest? Surely, in a story that contains no prominent female character at all, that’s going to be a temptation.

What would you think if they found ways to bring younger versions of characters from The Fellowship into this story? Would you cheer that choice? Or would you boo it as an obvious ploy to try and copy “what worked” in the earlier films?

What other points of contention do you anticipate?

If you could send the screenwriters a wish-list, what would the main points be?

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