I’m not sure I agree with cutting Azog entirely and having Thorin get fatally wounded off-screen. Like, I know that’s true to the book and all, but to me the idea of having one of the central cast just suddenly show up dead seems terribly anti-climactic. Then again, I’m saying this as someone who was never overly fond of Tolkien’s writing-style to begin with… He did the same thing with Boromir in Lord of the Rings and I thought it was just as underwhelming there. So personally I’d probably keep enough of Azog to at least clearly establish him as the enemy general, probably cutting out all the backstory stuff because it’d bog the story down too much, and try to trim down the battle between them to get rid of the ridiculous stuff such as the whole part where he’s plunged underwater and somehow manages to jump back through the ice and all that.
Still, sounds like yet another promising take on making these movies more watchable. Definitely interested to see how this turns out.