The studios behind The Hobbit films announced the titles and release dates of Peter Jackson’s two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved classic novel. The two films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There And Back Again will be released on December 14, 2012 and December 13, 2013 respectively. The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, also directed by Jackson, also had release dates in December around Christmas. The films will be released in 3D and IMAX 3D as well as in 2D.
The Hobbit traces the story of Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman of BBC’s “The Office” and “Sherlock”, who along with Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and twelve other dwarves set out on an epic journey to Erebor (or The Lonely Mountain) to reclaim the treasure and kingdom from the clutches of the dragon Smaug. Ian McKellen will reprise his Oscar nominated role as Gandalf the Grey. Stephen Fry, of Harry Potter audiobook fame, will play The Master of Lake-town, elected leader of Esgaroth, a town near The Lonely Mountain.
Jackson also confirmed on his Facebook profile that the White Council and the Battle at Dol Guldor will feature in the films:
I’m not going to say just what and when, but I will confirm that both the White Council and Dol Guldur will feature in the movies. And not just in one scene either. Just how to visualise it has been a challenge, but fortunately Alan Lee and John Howe went crazy with ideas, and it should look pretty cool.
The White Council consisted of Gandalf, Saruman (Christopher Lee), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), and others of the chief Eldar as well as other Wizards such as Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy). The Council convened to decide what was to be done about Sauron who ruled from the fortress of Dol Guldor at Mirkwood. The Council decided to drive him out of Dol Guldor and Sauron eventually fled to Mordor. Saruman, who was chief of the Council, deceived its members by saying that the One Ring was lost at sea, quelling any suspicions, for the time being, that Gandalf had of Bilbo’s ring. The activities of the White Council happen around the time of The Hobbit, which explain Gandalf’s absence throughout much of the novel. How the filmmakers treat this storyline in the films should be interesting.