The long-in-development and highly anticipated prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy finished production last week just in time for director Peter Jackson to bring The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to Comic-Con 2012.

Sir Ian McKellen [IM], Martin Freeman [Bilbo], Andy Serkis [AS], Richard Armitage [RA] and Peter Jackson [PJ] himself will be on stage to talk about the film and share exclusive new footage.

If you’re attending the convention, you can check out the panel yourself at 2:30 AM Pacific Time in Hall H on Saturday, July 14th as part of the two-and-a-half hour Warner Bros. presentation. If not, keep it parked right here and for the latest Hobbit movie news, brought to you LIVE by Screen Rant.

Notes on the footage shown: It looks like Peter Jackson is as comfortable with the Lord of the Rings world as he ever was. The footage began with a long scene where Gandalf (McKellan) pressures Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) to go on a mysterious adventure around a large table with a group of people sitting with him. Although the other people seated around them at a long table reject the idea and see Baggins as unfit for the journey, Galdalf insists on bringing Baggins along. Baggins learns of the dangers involved and reviews a contract of all of the possible problems ahead and collapses. Another scene shows Gandalf telling another person at the table that Baggins’ fellow traveler is not responsible for whatever happens to Baggins.

Another brief scene showed a weary Gandalf taking advice from Galadriel (Blanchett). It looks like Gandalf is having some doubts about his decisions and Galdriel is providing him comfort and assurances.

Another scene focuses on Gollum (Serkis), who is as dangerous and mischievous as ever. With his two personalities, he questions himself in front of Baggins. When Baggins tries to respond, Gollum says, “I wasn’t talking to you.” When Baggins brings up the possibility of playing a game, Gollum says “I love games.”

4:39PM:
Peter Jackson after showing new clips of The Hobbit: “This is a movie made by fans for fans.”

4:40PM:
Panel began with a ton of new clips playing from the movie. The film looks amazing.

4:41PM:
Whoa. The cast is being introduced. Andy Serkis is here along with Ian McKellan and Elijah Wood.

4:44PM:
Comic-Con fans were treated to twelve minutes of film footage at the panel.

The crowd here is pumped. The movie looks great.

4:47PM:
Question: What do the Hobbit feel like?

Freeman: “First few days, it feels like a fledgling duck”… but he got used to it after a few days.

4:50PM:
Audience question: Was Martin intimidated joining the LOTR team?

Freeman says that he didn’t feel a lot of pressure and was certainly not intimidated. He says that the filmmakers wanted him to be in the film and that’s why he wanted to be in the film.

4:51PM:
Freeman notes that it “feels like a special little place where these films are made.” He adds that he “had to find his way into it.”

4:52PM:
Elijah Wood on seeing The Hobbit footage at Comic-Con: “I was blown away.”

4:55PM:
Audience question: What is the process for selecting the scenes for the theater and those for the extended edition?

Jackson: “We write the script as we’re shooting…” He adds that the process is very organic and it’s only at the end when he decides what will make the theatrical race. “We’re not very good at making short movies, unfortunately,” he adds.

Later on, he says that there will be extended cuts of The Hobbit films as well.

4:56PM:
Serkis on coming back: “I was only supposed to come back for two weeks…” Later on, he was asked to come to film for a year and a half instead. “It was a remarkable and extraordinary experience,” he said about the process.

4:58PM:
Serkis: “Peter’s been an immense part of my life for the last twelve years….To be entrusted in that position is a dream to behold,” he said.

Serkis just did the voice. AMAZING!

5:00PM:
Freeman: “In this play, I have to be the eyes and ears of the audience…”

He adds that that’s one of the reasons that Bilbo has to be relatable in the films.

5:02PM:
The panel just ended.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey-From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Jackson returns to Middle-earth in an adventure that begins 60 years before the events depicted in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The first of two films adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s enduringly popular masterpiece, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey follows titular Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who-along with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a band of 13 Dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage)-is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. The film’s ensemble cast includes Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, and Andy Serkis as Gollum.

The Hobbit is directed by Peter Jackson and is based off of the screenplay by him, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro.  An Unexpected Journey stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Bret McKenzie, Luke Evans, Billy Connolly, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Aidan Turner, William Kircher and John Bell.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters December 14, 2012.

Keep an eye on the Screen Rant Comic-Con 2012 page for all the convention news.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.