It is finally happening!
After almost two years of delays and problems, Peter Jackson has finally started filming on the new multi-part 3D epic companion to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy titled “The Hobbit”.
The decision to film “The Hobbit” in 3D was a difficult one, and slowed pre-production and set development.
The $500 million epic project has been plagued with problems that at times seemed close to destroying the idea of seeing middle earth on the big screen again.
Several script problems needed to be worked through and a labor union dispute slowed production to a crawl. MGM Studios faced serious financial problems and the team lost famed writer and producer Guillermo del Toro after he had already put two years of work into the project before it even got off the ground.
Current director Peter Jackson spent time in the hospital for stress related problems, and the earthquake in Christ Church caused further delays in New Zealand.
But after overcoming all these obstacles, filming has now started and the project is on track.
“The Hobbit Part 1” stars Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood as Frodo, Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, and a possible appearance by Leonard Nimoy as Smaug.
Part one tells the continuing story of Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, who journeys to the Lonely Mountain accompanied by a group of dwarves to reclaim a treasure taken from them by the dragon Smaug.
Along the way there are adventures with trolls and elves, a battle with goblins, the naming of Bilbo's sword as “Sting” after a battle with some spiders, escaping from Wargs, and a barrel ride in a river.
Of course there is a great battle, “The Battle of Five Armies”, which includes men, dwarves, elves, goblins with Wargs, and more.
The journey leads Bilbo Baggins into the “Riddles in the Dark” where he meets Gollum and receives a powerful ring that will have a great impact on the future of their world.
General release is slated for Christmas 2012 - assuming no more delays, and if the real world has not been destroyed by Orcs, or the impending 2012 end of the world prophecies.
J.R.R. Tolkien would have been proud.