More than a decade after Peter Jackson brought "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" to the big screen in 2001, the director is returning to Middle-earth with a two-film adaptation of "The Hobbit," which J. R. R. Tolkien wrote before his "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The first part, scheduled for release Dec. 12, 2012, follows Frodo's uncle, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman, above), as he joins a group of dwarfs on a quest to reclaim treasure stolen from them by a dragon. Fans of the fantasy series are anxious to see more of already-familiar characters, including Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gollum (Andy Serkis), as well as new characters from the book, such as Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the Elves of Mirkwood.
James Fisher / New Line Cinema / Warner Bros.
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