With Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ set for home release on April 8th, WETA Digital has unveiled this behind-the-scenes video detailing the companies Oscar-nominated work to create Smaug and meld it with the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch. WETA describe the video as follows: “Middle-earth is a fantastical world of imagined landscapes and many incredible digital creatures. We completed almost 2000 VFX shots for the film, encompassing hero digital performance work, large scale water and fire simulations, complex digital environments, digital doubles of a large cast, and extensive creature work. Take a glimpse at the invention, artistry and innovation that the artists at Weta Digital used to make it all come together in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ continues the events of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,’ in which the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) travels with the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and a company of thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) into the Kingdom of Erebor, taking them through Mirkwood, Esgaroth, and Dale to combat with the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumbebratch).

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lilly, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, Michael Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Ken Stott and Aidan Turner.

’The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ concludes the trilogy on December 17th. The three films together act as prequels to Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy.