Peter Jackson, as you can imagine, has been rather busy lately, but recently good news has come by way of the writer-director’s Facebook page — Yes, that’s right; that moment Lord of the Rings fans have been waiting so long for has just come another step closer – after 266 days of production that kicked off in March of 2011, both The Hobbit films have officially wrapped on principal photography.
Jackson announced the monumental event on his Facebook page, proclaiming:
“The story of The Hobbit films precedes that of Frodo and his crew by 60 years, and so centers on a brave little Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins and how he obtained the powerful ring at the center of the trilogy. In The Lord of the Rings movies, Old Bilbo was played by celebrated character actor Ian Holm, but An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again will star Sherlock‘s Martin Freeman as a younger and more spry Bilbo who goes on an adventure with a pack of pugnacious dwarves that seek to defeat the vicious dragon Smaug, who will be voiced by Freeman’s Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch.”
Holm will still make an appearance in the new movies, as will a litany of familiar LOTR faces, including Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, and Cate Blanchett, all reprising their roles from the heralded LOTR trilogy. Newcomers to the Tolkien franchise include Luke Evans (Immortals), Evangeline Lilly (Lost), and Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies).
The announcement follows recent controversy over the way Jackson chose to film The Hobbit, at 48 frames per second – twice that of the normal 24 frames that most films are shot in. However, he responded to it well, and fans are going to have to either like it or lump it.
Jackson is uniquely qualified to tackle the task of making The Hobbit after the mammoth moviemaking involved in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so we should really trust him on this. The director decided with fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro that the film would be split in two.
The first of these, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will open in the U.S. on December 14th, 2012 (with its world premiere in New Zealand November 28th, 2012). The Hobbit: There and Back Again will follow on December 13th, 2013.
But for those of you who can’t wait that long, San Diego Comic-Con revellers will get a sneak preview of the first film, An Unexpected Journey, on Saturday.
Are you excited about The Hobbit films?