It’s been known for some time now that the first half of Peter Jackson’s two-part film adaptation of The Hobbit would arrive in December 2012, with Part 2 tentatively scheduled to arrive a year later. Likewise, rumors over New Line Cinema registration of two potential subtitles for the movies popped up about three months ago.

Now New Line Cinema, Warner Bros., and MGM – all of which are involved in funding Jackson’s estimated $500 million new venture to Middle-Earth – have gone ahead and announced official release dates AND subtitles for the Hobbit movies.

As we previously speculated, the first Hobbit movie will be titled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – followed by the second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Tolkien fans should be even less surprised by the subtitle for Part 2 of Jackson’s Hobbit, seeing as that it’s also the name of the book that Bilbo Baggins writes about his wondrous adventures.

An Unexpected Journey is now set to hit theaters on December 14th, 2012. There and Back Again will follow suit just under a year later on December 13th, 2013.

In addition to splitting the original Hobbit novel in two, Jackson and his Lord of the Rings team look to use a flashback structure to recount the tale of young Bilbo and his “unexpected journey” with a pack of thirteen dwarves and a (relatively) younger Gandalf the Gray (Ian McKellen). Hence why Elijah Wood and Sir Ian Holm are also reprising their respective roles as Frodo Baggins and an elder Bilbo Baggins.

Principal photography on the Hobbit movies began over two months ago, but there’s still been a healthy amount of casting news recently. Word has since gotten out about actors like Stephen Fry, Lee Pace, and Benedict Cumberbatch appearing in the film – along with confirmation that Lord of the Rings trilogy stars like Hugo Weaving and Orlando Bloom will be back as well.

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

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

Source: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros., and MGM