TheOneRing.net hosted a Hobbit movie panel at SDCC, and some interesting new details were revealed: first and foremost, they’re splitting it into two movies. The word is that they found a transition-point that seemed natural and would allow for them to add some extra details from the appendices from the book. They are looking at a holiday 2011 release (at least for the first film), and they’re 95% sure that Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, and Andy Serkis are returning to reprise their roles. In fact, Richard Taylor (from WETA) quoted McKellan as saying “Just tell them, I’m waiting for a phone call from Middle-earth.”
The first draft of the script is apparently still in the works, but with writers Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro hard at work, many fans are already very excited for the release. Just who will be playing Bilbo Baggins has not been released, and many details about the films are still being kept secret. WETA has already been working on details for nearly a year, so one can speculate that the scenes and visual details will be as meticulously attended to as in the LOTR films. For those who want to get back onboard the Middle-Earth bandwagon right away, it is rumored that del Torro, the film’s director, frequents the chat boards at http://www.theonering.net/ (where you can also find some behind-the-scenes sneak-peaks of what WETA is up to in preparation for the films). There is apparently also going to be a cruise to Middle Earth in 2010, and a scavenger hunt (with nifty prizes from WETA) at Comic-Con.
For the more details on what happened at the panel, check out G4’s liveblog here.
(Jenifer Rosenberg contributed to this report.)