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Tolkien: First Trailer Reveals Nicholas Hoult As Lord Of The Rings Author J.R.R. Tolkien

Meet the real-life fellowship that began long before anyone knew the fictional one. 

In the first trailer for Tolkien, the upcoming biopic centered on The Lord of the Rings series author J.R.R. Tolkien, audiences get a glimpse into the life of the famous novelist in the years ahead of his rise to fame. 

Dropped on Tuesday by Fox Searchlight Pictures, the footage features Nicholas Hoult in the titular role, a young Tolkien who was orphaned in his youth who finds comfort, belonging, love, and a makeshift family in a band of fellow misfits at his English school. His time spent learning and growing leads Tolkien to the battlefield, where he serves during World War I, the horrors of which threaten to disband his group of friends and break apart the "fellowship" for good. (Spoiler alert here: Only one of Tolkien's closest friends, Christopher Wiseman, played in Tolkien by Dunkirk actor Tom Glynn-Carney, survives the war.)

Tolkien's experiences in libraries and classrooms and on weekends spent drinking with his pals, along with the trauma he witnessed while on active duty as well as the epic romance he had with lifelong love Edith Bratt (portrayed by Lily Collins), ultimately serve as inspiration for his collection of high-fantasy novels The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and the three-volume work The Lord of the Rings comprised of The Fellowship of the RingThe Two Towers, and The Return of the King.

"It's a story about journeys, the journeys we take to prove ourselves," Hoult's Tolkien says in voiceover in the trailer, which cuts between footage of England and France, of Tolkien, and of the war and shots of Lord of the Rings-esque landscapes and battle sequences. "It's about adventures. It's about potent magic — magic beyond anything anyone has ever felt before. About what it means to love, and to be loved. About courage. It's about fellowship."

Catch the trailer in full (it's only 55 seconds long, so not too much of an investment for a middle-of-the-work-day watch) in the video above. 

For those hoping to see Hobbits and elves and ethereal creatures and ring-hoarding cretins bounding across the big screen in Tolkien, we hate to burst your bubble, but it probably won't happen. The biopic won't so much center on the actual characters Tolkien dreamt up, it seems based on this trailer, but more so on the general ideas he had for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion — the dream-children of his legendarium like Sauron and the Ringwraiths and, yes, Gollum, too. Tolkien should delight in that aspect, depicting unique juxtapositions of the otherworldly fantasies swimming in Tolkien's mind and of the trenches of war — despite the film likely not giving us close-up looks at Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Gandalf the Grey, Gimli, Aragorn, or Boromir. And that shouldn't ruffle too many feathers, as a Lord of the Rings television series is currently underway at Amazon.

With his laundry list of movie credits and experience portraying real people (particularly authors) in biopics, Hoult has what it takes to impress as Tolkien in the Dome Karukoski-directed film. Most know the Brit as the blue-bodied Beast from the X-Men franchise, but perhaps with Tolkien, Hoult's name will become synonymous with the once-up-and-coming young author who is remembered now as one of the greatest creatives in modern history.

Tolkien is due out in theaters on May 10.