Peter Jackson and his team have been hard at work since the beginning of the year filming The Hobbit, but that hasn’t stopped the director, cast, and crew from having a little bit of fun as well.

In a newly-released video production diary, Jackson takes fans to the set of The Hobbit and shows off some of the cool new Middle-earth characters we’ll be meeting. Like the previous videos (part one and part two), the friendliness and camaraderie between the cast and crew is infectious, particularly among the dwarves, who are bonded together by the hours they spend in hair and makeup each day.

Also in this new video, Jackson offers fans a glimpse behind-the-scenes of some of The Hobbit‘s most famous scenes – including the first meeting between Bilbo and Gollum. The footage, which includes Andy Serkis’ rasping return to Gollum, is awesome and is definitely enough to make a Tolkien fan swoon.

Check out the video for yourself, via Peter Jackson’s Facebook page, below.

Nobody knows his audience better than Peter Jackson. Practically speaking, there’s absolutely no reason for Jackson to spend time filming these videos. The audience for The Hobbit will be huge no matter what, so it’s not like the behind-the-scenes footage is necessary to drum up buzz. He’s making them simply because he wants the fans to be involved in the making of the film. How cool is that?

It’s great to see this production diary focus on the dwarves, especially since we’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking at a nearly endless series of promotional photos of them. As neat as it is to see a stoic Thorin Oakenshield posing for the camera, its infinitely better to see him charging at a troll. I was particularly excited to see the great John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in Lord of the Rings) drop by the set to offer his fellow dwarves some advice.

Jackson has assembled a fine cast, is working with a dedicated crew, and is clearly in command of the subject matter. For as long as it took this project to get off the ground, it definitely seems like it will be worth the wait.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters on December 14th, 2012. The Hobbit: There and Back Again comes out a year later on December 13th, 2013.

While The Hobbit won’t have a presence at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the Screen Rant team will be in attendance covering lots of other great films and TV shows. Make sure to follow the official Screen Rant Twitter account for up-to-the-minute insights from the Con.

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