New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM have officially announced the titles and release dates for the two Hobbit films so you can be sure to clear one day from your December schedules in 2012 and 2013.
First, December 14, 2012 will see the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film in the two picture telling of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien story. The second film gets the more familiar title, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, and is slated for release on December 13, 2013.
Under the direction of Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), the two films are currently being shot back-to-back and in 3D. Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, the story takes us back to Middle Earth, 60 years before Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” following the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
As far as returning characters are concerned, Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Elijah Wood as Frodo and Andy Serkis as Gollum. New to the franchise we begin with Martin Freeman (“Sherlock”) who takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins and he is joined by Richard Armitage, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas and Aidan Turner.