March 21st, 2011
06:41 PM ET
More than seven years after the Oscar winning "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" hit theaters, the two-part prequel, "The Hobbit," is finally in production in Wellington, New Zealand.
Warner Bros. Pictures released two photos of director Peter Jackson on the set. He is returning to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth after directing the "Rings" trilogy.
The films' original director was going to be Guillermo Del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), and although he dropped out last year, he's still credited along with Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens on the screenplays.
Talk of adapting "The Hobbit" began shortly after the original trilogy was released, but of course, it took years to get to this point. Martin Freeman will play the title role of Bilbo Baggins, and Ian McKellen will once again play Gandalf the Grey.
Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis will also reprise their roles from the original trilogy.
Much of the original production crew is returning as well, with the two films' releases set for 2012 and 2013.
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