the hobbit andy serkis martin freeman Martin Freemans Bilbo Baggins & Andy Serkis Gollum Feature In New The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Images

E! Online has premiered these two new images from Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,’ the first showing Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins on set alongside Andy Serkis in his motion-capture Gollum suit, while the second pic provides us with a look at Serkis’ Gollum after having been fully animated. These two images closely follow news that Peter Jackson reportedly wants to turn his two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ into a trilogy. At this moment in time, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is set for a December 14th, 2012 release date, while ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ will arrive in cinemas December 13th, 2013. This possible third film will presumably follow in 2014, in the same way the films in Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy were released over three consecutive years.

‘The Hobbit’ films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ which Peter Jackson and his film-making team brought to the big screen in the fantastic blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar-winning ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.’ Reprising their roles from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies are Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The ensemble cast includes the likes of Martin Freeman, who’s taking on the central role of Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, 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, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Connolly, and Aidan Turner. Check out the synopsis for ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ below the two images.

the hobbit andy serkis martin freeman 1 Martin Freemans Bilbo Baggins & Andy Serkis Gollum Feature In New The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Images

the hobbit gollum 2 Martin Freemans Bilbo Baggins & Andy Serkis Gollum Feature In New The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Images

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Under Jackson’s direction, both movies are being shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology.  Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand. The screenplays for THE HOBBIT films are by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson.  Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham.  The executive producers are Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer. THE HOBBIT films are productions of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production.  Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Martin Freeman takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins.  Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: 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.  The ensemble cast also includes Richard Armitage, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Billy Connolly, 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.