Geek culture has had vast stake in cinema for a decade now, but this is the year it finally dominated everything around it. We’re seeing Joss Whedon assemble Avengers, Chris Nolan complete his Batman trilogy, a Spider-man reboot, Ridley Scott return to the Alien-verse and finally, after all these years, we got the Battleship epic of our dreams.

Okay, so maybe that last one’s a stretch. But it seems appropriate that we’ll be closing out 2012 with a film that, only a couple years ago, seemed like an impossibility: Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The film (like the book) promises a tone far lighter than what we grew accoustomed to in Jackson’s original trilogy, but as the Entertainment Weekly stills can attest, that same Middle-Earth flavor is still in abundance: