Peter Jackson’s much-anticipated prequels to The Lord of the Rings trilogy have received official names and release dates.
The first film, out next year, will be called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Its sequel, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is due out in 2013.
Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit, the movies follow Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he accompanies the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and several dwarves on a quest to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug. Both movies are currently being filmed in New Zealand, the film site of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Along with McKellen, several other Rings actors will reprise their roles from the trilogy, including Andy Serkis as Gollum, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Elijah Wood as Frodo, and Orlando Bloom as Legolas.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set to be released on December 14, 2012, by Warner Bros. The Hobbit: There and Back Again will follow on December 13, 2013.