The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is scheduled to premiere on 2 December 2013 in Los Angeles, and will be released internationally from 11 December 2013. Like its predecessor, the film used a shooting and projection frame rate of 48 frames per second. The new projection rate was advertised as "High Frame Rate" to the public.
The hobbit Bilbo Baggins, along with the wizard Gandalf and the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield and his twelve companions, leave the Carrock after the events of the previous film. They continue east to the edge of the forest of Mirkwood where they encounter the skin-changer Beorn. Gandalf departs before the others enter Mirkwood where they are attacked by giant spiders and, except for Bilbo, are captured by Wood-elves. Bilbo helps the dwarves escape from the elves and they follow the forest river to Lake-town, where they meet the Master of the town, and Bard, a bowman and the descendant of the original Lord of Dale. After acquiring a boat and supplies from the town the company travels to the Lonely Mountain. They eventually find the hidden door into the mountain and Bilbo enters and encounters the dragon Smaug.
In the meantime Gandalf leads the White Council to drive the Necromancer out of Dol Guldur. Gandalf enters Dol Guldur where he discovers the true identity of the Necromancer. The elves of Mirkwood, led by King Thranduil and his son, Legolas, must battle the orc invasions from Dol Guldur.
Smaug the dragon (also known as Smaug the Terrible and Smaug the Magnificent) is the story's main antagonist and had accumulated wealth from the enormous fortress city of Erebor as well as several surrounding human settlements, whilst ruling the mountain over the years. While Smaug is shown to be violent in nature, creating a desolation of the surrounding lands for which the film is named, he is also sentient and speaks at length in the novel with Bilbo.
The Necromancer is the ruler of Dol Guldur in Mirkwood. A mysterious sorcerer with the ability to summon the spirits of the dead. The character had a brief appearance in An Unexpected Journey but will have a larger role in this film, and its sequel There and Back Again.
Though both characters were voiced and motion-captured by Cumberbatch, they are separate entities in J.R.R. Tolkien's book and are working independently of each other in the films as well.
Lee Pace as Thranduil: Referred to in the novel as "The Elvenking", he is the ruler of the realm of the northern part of Mirkwood. He is also the father of Legolas. In the novel, the Dwarves are captured by Thranduil's guards and locked in his dungeons when they refuse to divulge their intentions. In the early stages of production, the role had been linked to actor Doug Jones, but on 29 April 2011, Jackson reported on Facebook that the role had gone to Pace. On his casting, Jackson said, "Casting these Tolkien stories is very difficult, especially the Elven characters and Lee has always been our first choice for Thranduil. He's going to be great. We loved his performance in a movie called The Fall a few years ago and have been hoping to work with him since. When we were first discussing who would be right for Thranduil, Lee came into mind almost immediately."
Orlando Bloom as Legolas: The Elven Prince of Mirkwood and the son of Thranduil. On 4 December 2010, Deadline reported that Bloom had entered into negotiations to reprise the role of Legolas. Bloom revealed on 25 April 2011 that he had been in contact with Jackson, who had given him a copy of the screenplay and said that there was a high probability that he would return. He was quoted as saying, "I'm going to bet on it... But I can't really talk too much about it because it's still sort of in the ether. But I would love to go back to work with Peter Jackson. It would be an honour." On 27 May 2011, Peter Jackson announced via Facebook that Bloom would reprise his role as Legolas.
Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel: A female elf from Mirkwood. She is the Chief of the Guards for the Elvenking, Thranduil. Her name means "daughter of the wood". Peter Jackson has confirmed there will be no romantic connection to Legolas. Philipha Boyens stated that she was there so that there would be a female character in The Hobbit: "She's our redhead. We created her for that reason. To bring that energy into the film, that feminine energy. We believe it's completely within the spirit of Tolkien." Lilly, who had been a fan of Tolkien's books since she was 13, underwent training for swordplay and archery, as well as in the Elvish language for the role.
Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman: Bard of Esgaroth was a skilled archer and the heir of Girion, the last king of old Dale, described as "grim faced". Evans described playing the bowman as "really difficult to do", in regard to the physical nature of the part 
Mikael Persbrandt as Beorn: A skin-changer; a man who can assume the appearance of a great black bear. In the novel, he lives with his animal retinue (horses, dogs, and cows, among others) in a wooden house between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood. Beorn receives Gandalf, Bilbo, and the 13 Dwarves and aids them in their quest to reclaim the Dwarves' kingdom beneath Erebor, the Lonely Mountain. He is convinced of their trustworthiness after confirming their tale of encountering the Goblins of the Misty Mountains and Gandalf's slaying of their leader, the Great Goblin. On 3 December 2010, Swedish tabloid Nöjesbladet announced that Persbrandt had been cast in an unspecified role. He was confirmed as Beorn on 7 December 2010. Jackson was quoted as saying, "The role of Beorn is an iconic one and Mikael was our first choice for the part. Since seeing him read for the role we can't imagine anyone else playing this character."
Craig Hall as Galion: Elven King Thranduil's butler, whose fondness for drink allows for Bilbo and the dwarves' escape attempt.
Stephen Fry as Master of Lake-town: The leader of the settlement of Men at Lake-town near the Lonely Mountain. According to Fry, "My character is an opportunity for sheer grossness... [Peter Jackson] had me eating testicles... gross appetites. I mustn't give too much away but I've got a bald cap and then on top of that a really bad combover wig and this wispy mustache and wispy beard and horrible blotchy skin and disgusting fingernails... And generally speaking a really unappetizing piece of work. And a coward to boot and very, very greedy."
Ryan Gage as Alfrid: The Master of Laketown's "conniving" servant. Gage was originally cast to play Drogo Baggins, father of Frodo Baggins. According to Jackson, "Ryan is a great young actor who we originally cast in a small role, but we liked him so much, we promoted him to the much larger Alfrid part."
John Bell as Bain: Son of Bard, he is described as "confident and brave and ready to do battle if required even though he is still a boy."
It was announced that British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran wrote and recorded "I See Fire", which is to be played during the end credits. The song was released on iTunes on November 5, 2013.
Peter Jackson has provided the first details about the second film in the series at a live event held on 24 March 2013. The access code was attached to the DVD editions of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The live-broadcast event revealed some plot details; Jackson said that the role of Tauriel, acted by Evangeline Lilly, is a part of the elven guard and a bodyguard of the Elvenking, Thranduil. In addition, he revealed a scene from the film in which Gandalf and Radagast the Brown search for the Necromancer fortress and discover that the Ringwraiths have been released from their graves. The first trailer for the film was released in early June. A video blog containing behind the scenes footage was released on YouTube. Later a second trailer was released but was just a slightly abridged version of the first. The third trailer was released on the 1st of October and revealed new footage. On 4 November an extra long 3 minute trailer/sneak peak was released and revealed new footage and major plot points. On 1 November a special Desolation of Smaug live online fan event, hosted by Anderson Cooper in New York, was held across eleven different cities with participents including Peter Jackson, Jed Brophy, Evenageline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Andy Serkis and Richard Armitage.
The film is set to be released internationally from 11 December 2013. As part of an agreement between Warner Bros and New Line Cinema, the film's world premiere will not be held in Wellington, New Zealand, as it was for the previous film in the series. It will instead be premiered in Los Angeles on 2 December 2013.