When The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug roars into theaters on Dec. 13, fans of Tolkien’s Middle-earth books and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies will revel in its magnificent visual delights, the return of their favorite characters, and a first real glimpse at a most lethal dragon. As if that’s not enough to hold your attention, Jackson made his own contribution to the Tolkien universe by introducing a whole new Elven character, Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and pairing her with Legolas (Orlando Bloom), the Elven member of the Fellowship of the Ring. “Legolas isn’t discussed in The Hobbit, but as far as Tolkien is concerned, he would have been part of that structure within the Woodland Realm,” Jackson told EW last month. “And we needed characters within the Woodland Realm to drive the story.”
Purists may sniff, but co-writer Philippa Boyens calls Tauriel – a fierce, no-nonsense warrior who understands the danger of the growing evil in Middle-earth before her king does –“a breath of fresh air in many ways.” In the exclusive clip below, she sets out to take on 30 orcs single-handledly. Fortunately, another hero isn’t far behind.