WATCH: 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Trailer Debuts!

It's time to head back to Middle-earth! Peter Jackson has released the first trailer for part 1 of his two-part Lord of the Rings prequel

It's time to head back to Middle-earth! Almost exactly 10 years after The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring wowed audiences, the first trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, part 1 of the two-part LOTR prequel, has debuted online. Watch it below!
 


Oscar winner Peter Jackson returns to the director's chair, and the characters of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan), both of whom were introduced in the Lord of the Rings films (though an older Bilbo was played by Ian Holm there), take center stage this time around.

The two old friends team up with a slew of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a journey to reclaim the lost dwarf kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, they battle orcs and goblins, trick giants and have a fateful encounter with a certain cave-dwelling creature with a very "precious" possession.

In addition to the many new faces in the movie, The Hobbit features a slew of familiar characters. This trailer marks the return of an elder Bilbo (Holm) and his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood), with Bilbo's relating of his past adventure to Frodo likely providing the framework for the two Hobbit films. Also popping up in the clip is the beautiful elf Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), who appears to have once been romantically linked to Gandalf. (Scandalous!) In addition, Orlando Bloom will return as Legolas, Hugo Weaving will reprise his role as Elrond, and Christopher Lee will once again portray Saruman.

Jackson certified himself as a bona fide auteur when he released the Lord of the Rings trilogy from 2001 to 2003. The franchise raked in more than $1 billion in North America alone and earned 17 Oscars, including best picture and best director for The Return of the King. So, yeah, we're just a wee bit psyched for The Hobbit.

An Unexpected Journey hits theaters Dec. 14, 2012, and the second installment in the two-part prequel, The Hobbit: There and Back Again is set for a Dec. 13, 2013, debut.

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