It’s blatantly obvious that by December 2012 The Hobbit will have accumulated the largets volume of movie coverage of any film, ever. Just the way it’s going to be. But for every incremental casting notice, or on-set photo, or significant casting, nothing will quite bring back that magic like actually seeing the characters in context and in action. Well now we have our first two stills from the film(s), and while they don’t feature much action they’re perfect little glimpses into the things that excite us most.

Gandalf the Grey chilling out with a bit of pipe weed, contemplating the troubles of Middle Earth…

…and a young Bilbo baffled and backed by a batch of dwarves….

They’re perfectly chosen stills giving us a taste of the old and the new. There’s also a new production still that captures the quiet warmth of the set, even though it comes with an interesting fact: The Hobbit shoot will last for a staggering 254 days, less than a fortnight shy of the duration of principle photography on the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

There is much more to come, and I’m already getting excited to get glimpses of new sets and environments that will hopefully fit into Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth. You’ve got to start with the familiar though.

If this has you all fired up once again, don’t forget about the lengthy production diary that’s already out there, which will do a lot to hit the spot until the next crumb is dropped.

See them a touch bigger at the source… Entertainment Weekly

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