Bilbo! Gandalf! First Images from 'The Hobbit'

Thursday, 23 June 2011 07:19 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Bilbo!  Gandalf!  First Images from 'The Hobbit'

It's a testament to Peter Jackson's hugely successful adaptation of JRR Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings that after capturing the cultural zeitgeist, truckloads of money, and a whole mess of Oscars, the series never suffered a backlash along the lines of, say, Titanic.  Yes, there has been almost a decade of jokes about the extended epilogue of The Return of the King, but they're generally good-natured, and the films are still beloved.  That's good news for The Hobbit, Jackson's two-part return to Middle Earth, currently filming in Wellington, New Zealand.  The first official images from the film arrived today, with Martin Freeman looking perfect as Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen once again enjoying the Halfling's Leaf at his leisure, and one behind-the scenes shot of Jackson and Freeman in Bag End.

All three images debuted at Entertainment Weekly, and are accompanied by some very brief commentary from Jackson, who reckons that Freeman has been saddled with the biggest pair of hobbit feet yet.

Seeing McKellen back in the beard and hitting the pipe is almost guaranteed to hit a collective nostalgia button and get plenty of people back in the epic fantasy mood.  The two-part prequel's 3D production is huge, with principal photography spanning 254 days.  The films star Freeman as the younger version of Bilbo, with elder version Ian Holm also making an appearance.  The sprawling supporting cast includes McKellen, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Luke Evans, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Evangeline Lilly, and the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is scheduled for release almost exactly a decade after The Two Towers, on December 14, 2012.  The Hobbit: There and Back Again hitting a year later, on December 13, 2013.

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