It’s hard to believe that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is only six months away from being released in theaters – especially considering the long and sordid history of getting it there in the first place (we all remember the rights debacle, Guillermo del Toro backing out as director, and of course, MGM’s bankruptcy).

Now, a whole slew of new images from the film have arrived on the Internet, alongside quotes from the major players of the cast, including Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, and Andy Serkis as Gollum, slimy as ever.

Check out the movie stills out below  – courtesy of Entertainment Weekly:

Martin Freeman said of his portrayal of the original Baggins:

”I don’t think I’m particularly hobbit-y. I do like comfort and I’m quite private, so in those ways, maybe I am.”

He might not consider himself to be particularly hobbit-y, but many a fan was pretty ecstatic when he was finally cast in the role, thanks to his (generally) hobbit-y appearance and dry sense of humor.

Ian McKellen said of his role as Gandalf:

”Gandalf is still the same guy [he was in the Lord of the Rings trilogy]. He’s still got the same sense of humor and sense of urgency and concern – all those things that make him interesting.”

Of course, considering this is a prequel, he’s more like the Gandalf he was at the start of the trilogy – Gandalf the Grey – than he was at the end, when he returned from the other side as Gandalf the White: a slightly colder, more practical version of his warmer, greyer self.

On how easy it was to slip back into the role of Gollum, Andy Serkis said:

”He’s never really been that far away from me. He’s always been kind of lurking under my skin.”

Hm, just a little bit creepy. Should we be worried?

And lastly, Peter Jackson said of all the LOTR characters appearing in the movie version of The Hobbit when they didn’t appear in the book:

“It will all make sense.”

Well, maybe it will make sense, but that doesn’t mean it was particularly necessary. As enjoyable as the trailer was, the one thing that bothered me about it was its emphasis on Lord of the Rings characters like Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel and Gollum (who has a fairly insignificant part in the book). Did we really need a trailer that said, “Hey, remember that trilogy we made last decade? Well, we’re making a prequel and all your favorite characters are gonna be there, so check it out“?

The book was so different from the trilogy it predated that it might’ve behooved the cinematic adaptation to be a bit more different, too. But then again, maybe it will be.

All that said, the stills look gorgeous and picturesque, and all the characters therein seem to be fantastically depicted – at least aesthetically.

Look for more Hobbit news at Comic-Con 2012, and check out our complete photo gallery for The Hobbit (over 100 images!).

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

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Source: Entertainment Weekly