The spring equinox is on the horizon and its arrival marks the long-delayed beginning of principal photography on The Hobbit, with Peter Jackson once again helming the latest cinematic adventure(s) to Middle-Earth.
With the main cast set in place, the project's financing all settled, and Jackson's health stable once more, production on the two-part adaptation should actually be getting underway this time - multiple fingers crossed for extra luck, since these movies need it.
An insider (or friendly spy, if you will) for TheOneRing.net is reporting that New Line Cinema has gone ahead and registered two titles for The Hobbit films: a slight variation on the original name of J.R.R. Tolkein's source material, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, and The Hobbit: An/The Unexpected Journey.
Nothing too earth-shattering or mind-blowing about either of these possible subtitles for the Hobbit films, but they're certainly more interesting than merely Part 1 and Part 2. That's assuming the studio heads don't plan on only using one of those full titles, since The Hobbit: There and Back Again - Part 1 is a bit of a mouthful. Perhaps not so much as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 but... we'll leave it at that.
Giving each of the Hobbit movies their own unique titles would (naturally) help to better distinguish one from another. It would also be a fitting way to follow in the footsteps of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with each chapter bearing its own separate subtitle. Assuming that's the route New Line Cinema goes, An/The Unexpected Journey would make sense for the first film, There and Back Again for the second. It should be good, either way.
Ian Holm To Return?
LOTR trilogy stars like Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, and Cate Blanchett are reprising their roles in The Hobbit, despite their respective characters not being immediately present in Tolkein's original novel (in Wood's case, Frodo Baggins wasn't even born yet). Speculative opinion is that Jackson will frame his Hobbit with material set in the timeline of the original LOTR trilogy. It's even possible that scenes of the fellowship's stay in Rivendell from Fellowship of the Ring could bookend the Hobbit pics, with the plot unfolding as Frodo peruses through Bilbo's manuscript.
It would therefore make sense for Sir Ian Holm to reprise his role as the elder Bilbo Baggins for The Hobbit, but the 79-year-old actor told The Daily Telegraph that his involvement is still up in the air. He seems fairly nonchalant about it all the same, joking that "the earthquake in Christchurch couldn't have helped with communications."
Holm's return would be most welcome, but it's not really a priority for the time being. It took an unexpected amount of time for Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis to officially sign on for The Hobbit, despite their returning being a no-brainer. Hopefully, Holm will get to make another short return to Middle-Earth as well.
Production on The Hobbit officially begins this month on March 21st. The first film is slated to reach theaters by December of 2012, followed by the second film a year later.