Bringing a dozen characters from one of fantasy literature's most beloved tales to life is not a task for the easily intimidated. With The Hobbit - now a trilogy - Peter Jackson and his effects team will not only be introducing a larger cross-section of the Dwarven communities of Middle-Earth, they'll also need to make each one distinct from the next. From over two dozen recently released images, it looks like they're on the right track.
Those fans who don't wish to know which areas of Middle-earth are going to be appearing in the first of three Hobbit films may want to avoid the images, though the only real spoiler is the fact that dwarves and Bag End means one heck of a party. The new production stills accompany closer looks at each of the cast (those who were overlooked in the previous gallery, anyway), so now's the time to get acquainted.
Fans have just recently laid their eyes on the type of truly disgusting creature design in store for the Goblin King, and the characters on the side of good are in for plenty of prosthetics as well. From Dwalin's runic tattoos to the axe head buried in Bifur's skull, each detail Tolkien attributed to the rag-tag group of short-statured heroes looks to be captured as only Peter Jackson's team could.
The collection of dwarves that will be making up the traveling company alongside Bilbo Baggins are yet to be introduced to audiences worldwide, but their personalities are already becoming clear. From the new batch of images, it seems that Bilbo's compatriots will be having plenty of fun (and ale) at Bag End and Rivendell, but on at least a few occassions, will be proving how lethal they can be with a blade or hammer.
Have a look at the set photos and new character stills, courtesy of TheOneRing.net, now:
[gallery exclude="205964" columns="2"]
An additional image has also been revealed which some are claiming spoils the entire plot of the film. For those who have read the original book, taking a look at the panorama won't give anything new away. But for those trying to avoid any spoilers for the first of the trilogy - or an idea of where the first film's story will end - best to just pass this one by.
There may have been some Lord of the Rings fans who felt that a cast made up entirely of dwarves was a hard sell, since the idea of a dozen versions of Gimli in a single scene is...overwhelming, to say the least. But these images give testament to just how much time is being put into bringing each one a unique personality (particular credit to Jed Brophy's Nori) and style befitting new additions to Jackson's LotR universe.
There's no shortage of talent contained within the respective makeup and prosthetics, and even in still images it's easy to see which of the dwarves will be the source of laughs, and which we hope to never meet in a dark alley. And we thought Gimli seemed tough.
Which of the dwarves stand out to you Tolkien fans? Will these warriors prove to be more deadly with a bow than the wispy Elves of Mirkwood? Or are you most excited to see familiar faces from the Lord of the Rings trilogy?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in theaters on December 14th, 2012.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.