First ‘Hobbit’ Image: Martin Freeman As Bilbo Baggins

Published 4 years ago by

Martin Freeman in The Hobbit First Hobbit Image: Martin Freeman As Bilbo Baggins

Ever since Peter Jackson began principal photography on his two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, there’s been a trickling of interesting casting tidbits and word about the films’ subtitles to satiate the appetite of fans eagerly anticipating the new cinematic venture to Middle-Earth.

Today brings a much more succulent morsel for J.R.R. Tolkien and fantasy fans in general: the first image of Martin Freeman in costume (and character) as a young Bilbo Baggins.

Freeman was long considered to be the top candidate to play young Bilbo throughout the arduous course of pre-production on The Hobbit - and with good reason. The English thespian has long been renowned for his ability to play charmingly chummy and likable characters onscreen (see: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Love Actually, the original British Office TV series), which alone makes him an excellent match for the brave but easily-flustered Bilbo.

On top of that, Freeman just looks the part of a hobbit – in a good way, that is. As can be seen in the first official image of the actor as young Bilbo, when you add the familiar curly hair, pointed ears, and suspenders, it makes Freeman look all the more like Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, and all the extras who played young “halflings” in Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Check out that pic of Freeman in a scene from The Hobbit (via EW) below:

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit 570x395 First Hobbit Image: Martin Freeman As Bilbo Baggins

The other new image released from The Hobbit reveals Ian McKellen back in form as the shaggy wizard Gandalf the Grey, with his customary pipe in hand and mouth. Even though more than a decade has passed since McKellen originally portrayed the character in The Fellowship of the Ring, it looks as though not a day has passed since then.

Check out that picture of McKellen below:

Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey in The Hobbit1 570x404 First Hobbit Image: Martin Freeman As Bilbo Baggins

Visually, both these images from The Hobbit harken back to Jackson’s Rings trilogy – which is not really unexpected, but nonetheless encouraging news for fans hoping that the director and his filmmaking crew can recapture the enchanting atmosphere of those three films with this new project. Seeing how Jackson and his crew are also employing state-of-the-art 3D technology and shooting both Hobbit films at a higher frame rate to improve the clarity of their fantastical visuals and effects, there’s good reason to be hopeful that the next trip to Middle-Earth will be just as pleasant to watch as the last one.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will arrive in theaters next year on December 14th, 2012.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again is set to follow a year later on December 13th, 2013.

Source: EW

TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. McKellan must have had the One Ring in his pocket, because he hasnt aged a day!

    • +1 :D

      • +100000000000

    • Why should he have aged, since the events of the Hobbit precede the events of the Lord of the Rings. So if anything, he should look younger.

      • I was quoting the film. And as someone else has said, Gandalf is thousands of years old.

    • Gandalf is over 2000 years old. So actually the 50 some years between the Hobbit and the LOTR is not that long a time. He is actually kind of like a spirit who took the human form of an old man, so he’s always been “old”.

    • thank goodness for make-up ;)

  2. awesomee!!!!! Peter Jackson will no doubt bring back the life and atmosphere from Lord of the Rings. Can not waitt to see a trailer.

  3. Love this! Can’t wait to see the


    part where Bilbo go crazy killing all the giant spiders!

  4. This could be the first prequel that holds up to the previous films!

  5. Looks great. They have so perfectly and easily captured the spirit and feel of the original films all over again.

    • Which is sort of the problem. I didn’t want an LOTR prequel.

      • Um… DrSamBeckett…

        That’s the story that was written… it’s a prequel. You didn’t want a prequel? What did you want Tolkien to write? Maybe you can dig him up and ask him to write something different? They’re not making this stuff up, it doesn’t matter what you want.

        • I’m thinking in this particular case DSB meant that he didn’t want to have a film that is essentially a visual and stylistic carbon copy of the LOTR trilogy (a visual and stylistic prequel, if you will)– probably, like myself, was looking forward to the differences that would’ve been brought by Del Toro, had he stayed with the project. Even to read the books, The Hobbit has a very different feel. I hope they capture that.

          • You’re exactly right, that’s exactly how I feel. The books are different and the films should be too. These shots could have been from Fellowship Of The Ring.

            • On the other hand, this is a scene from the beginning. And in the beginning, everything had the same feeling as LotR did in the beginning. Difference becomes apparent to me when they start traveling.

              (One thing to add, which is not necessarily related to the comment above: on the other side, I hope that translations don’t follow the book exactly. I mean, orc translated to Slovenian, that was kinda fun and nice… But the problem is, names of places in Hobbit/There and Back Again are very different than translations in LotR.)

        • “They’re not making this stuff up”

          Actually, yes they are. Don’t remember Frodo and Legolas being in the book.
          And you missed my point entirely. The Hobbit shouldn’t be a prequel, it should be it’s own stand alone story, remember it came first. Not LOTR.

          • The Hobbit was also written for children. I doubt you want a movie aimed at that demographic.


          • The story of the One Ring started way before bilbo, 2000 plus years I think, and it ended at the battle of in front of the black gates of mordor, after bilbo’s tale of ‘The Hobbit’. And they are not makking stuff up that should in no way be there, Frodo and Legolas don’t change the story in a big way.

            As for Frodo, remember that Bilbo wrote the Hobbit, so a flash forward to Bilbo writing it and Frodo in the background is good.
            And don’t forget that Bilbo traveled through mirkwood, and the dwarves were captured by the woodelves, King Thranduil(can’t recall how to spell his name)owns mirkwood, and Legolas son of Thranduil existed before Bilbo was born, even though he isn’t mentioned in the Hobbit, that’s because Tolkien hadn’t come up with him yet,but he still most probably was in Mirkwood when Bilbo had his adventure.
            Therefore it is perfectly reasonable that “prince” Legolas should in fact be in his fathers kingdom, mirkwood, at the time of Bilbo.

  6. Maybe he can make the elves a little less serious. Other than that, I can’t wait.

    • I wonder how they will portray the dwarves in the forest when they have the run-ins with the elves. The elves in that chapter seem more joyful and merry, partying and feasting…not a bunch of somber beings just sitting around.

      • They were much more merry in The Hobbit, mostly because by the time the LotR rolled around, the elves of Middle Earth were coming to accept that their time was coming to an end. During The Hobbit, things were still good.

  7. This will be awesome.

    One director to rule them all, one director to find them, one director to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.


  8. I am excited to see this world come back to life. The Hobbit was always one of my favorite books.

  9. hmmm even with all the new additions to the film in terms of story and actors (looking at you bloom). I still feel that this, not the over-bloated TDKR or The Avengers, will be the greatest blockbuster of the next year.

    • Agree. Just as the last Potter film and not overly hyped comic book adaptations is shaping up to be the summer’s biggest event. Quality storytelling and filmmaking wins the day and I’m not saying CBM can’t do the same either, TDK very well proved that it’s possible, you just need the right directors.

  10. It looks good.

    I’ll admit, I’ve had some misgivings about this project. Mainly that they are making two movies. To me, the Hobbit is a simpler, lighter tale. I’d prefer that it remain that way, without any foreshadowing of the ring’s future. And I’d prefer that it only be two hours or under. Just a nice light movie. I was kind of hoping that Guillermo del Toro’s direction would even give it a different look and feel that would set it apart.

    Obviously they are going the opposite direction from everything I mentioned above, and I’m sure they’ll have a huge hit. Also, one of the main secret ingrediants that made Peter Jackson’s films work so well is his commitment to the projects, so I guess it will only be great if it’s the way he wants to do it. (Studios might want to make note of that instead of assuming the individual ingrediants will automatically produce a hit series).

    All that said, I was watching FOTR recently, and I was thinking about all the stories that would logically take place between the Hobbit and LOTR. First of all, Bilbo had the ring and used it in the Shire. This is referred to in LOTR. But also, Gollum was looking for Bilbo and it doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t find him in 60 years. So there must have been others involved. So the presence of Aragorn would make sense too.

    • I don’t know what you’re thinking exactly but there will be no “tween” movie. Both movies will center around the Hobbit story, so no Aragorn or Gollum looking for Bilbo. It will be a blending of “The Quest of Erebor”, meeting of the 2nd High Council and subsequent journey to Dol Guldur.

      I suspect part 1 will end after leaving of the Misty Mountains but before entering Mirkwood, so somewhere around Beorn’s house (and we know he will be in the movie because Beorn has been cast)

      • I really don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m not keeping up on this project. I thought the original word was that the second movie would be in between. But I now recall that they’ve changed that to a more integrated Hobbit story with all the surrounding story-lines suggested in the Hobbit, but then given more detail in LOTR.

        Anyway, talk about retconning. But I guess Tolkien did it himself. I just remember rereading the Hobbit and being struck at how simple it is. It’s more of a childrens story.

  11. makes me happy. Didn’t even look at the comments, hope they are positive. Just seeing those two pics make me smile

  12. Jackson made what many called “unfilmable”, filmable. I absolutely love his vision for the LOTR and there is no one else I would rather see at the helm of The Hobbit. The LOTR was a labor of love by all involved and it shows. I’m sure he will make these just as spectacular as the three sequels. I don’t think there was anyone other than del Toro that he could trust to handle the project with the care it deserves. So when he bowed out Jackson felt he had to do it. Can’t wait.

  13. The other new image released from The Hobbit reveals Ian McKellen back in form as the shaggy wizard Gandalf the Grey, with his customary pipe in hand and mouth. Even though more than a decade has passed since McKellen originally portrayed the character in The Fellowship of the Ring, it looks as though not a day has passed since then.

  14. Woooooooo! It’s happening!!!

    Though, I have to say that’s not how I envisioned a younger Ian McKellan’s Bilbo Baggins to have looked like… but, whatever. I won’t complain too much as long as Freeman is a good actor.

    • The other new image released from The Hobbit reveals Ian McKellen back in form as the shaggy wizard Gandalf the Grey, with his customary pipe in hand and mouth. Even though more than a decade has passed since McKellen originally portrayed the character in The Fellowship of the Ring, it looks as though not a day has passed since then.

      • Which is good. Glad Sir McKellan is still going strong.

    • although im a little biased, being in love with martin freeman, i really do think he’ll play the part well. in the article they say his personalities in previous works match up well with bilbo’s and its pretty true :P i think hes ideal for a hobbit

  15. I hope that 3D would really be better than usual due to higher framerate…

    • I think it will my friend. I was not a fan of 3D but Mr Cameron changed my mind with Avatar. Ohh and some people dont know but James convinced Peter to do 3D andd he helped make the new Red Epic Camera system for Peter to use…jus thought i let you know lol

      Also i just hope the visual effects are going twice as good since the frame rate is now at 48. =]

  16. AWESOME!!! Y dun they show bilbo in front view

  17. I am amazed that there are complaints before the movie is ever released or previewed. The point of fantasy is that it takes us away to other places, lands and times. I have always loved these stories since reading them as a child and watching the cartoons with Leonard Nemoy. If one starts to look for flaws, mistakes or too much this, not enough this…you will not enjoy anything in life especially movies, books or stories. Relax, enjoy the ride and prepare to escape your humdrum life and enter another place. And if you think it is going to be bad, then please stay at home when it releases so that the rest of us who really hope and plan to enjoy it don’t have to wait in line longer than we’d like.

  18. Put Gervais in charge: The Office Hobbit

  19. I wanted this to be a comedy starring Danny DeVito. I’ll still go see it but it’s not the Hobbit I was anticipating.

  20. I hope they change the story enough so that we see Elijah get eaten by Smaug, that would be freakin awesome.
    I can’t even imagine how insanely cool this dragon is going to be (or better be).
    Possible spoiler alert***
    Don’t worry about the tie in to LOTR with Frodo being eaten, perhaps the last scene can be Frodo nursing from Daenery’s breast and all will make sense.

    • At the time The Hobbit was set, Frodo hadn’t been born, and wouldn’t be for another 25 years or so.

  21. Thk pocket bikes nos

  22. Is it just me, or does Martin look TOO suited to play a hobbit?

  23. Just to update, this thing is indeed a trilogy. Desolation of Smaug is set for December, There and Back Again for 2014.

    Also, The Hobbit was the first book published. Everyone loved it and clamored for a sequel. Tolkien obliged with LOTR. So yes The Hobbit movies are a prequel to the LOTR trilogy. DUH.