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Ian McKellen, The Hobbit and Unexpected Journey

James Fisher/Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. has released a trio of new stills from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first chapter in what will now be a three-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's pre-Lord of the Rings-era novel—director Peter Jackson announced two weeks ago he had enough footage to make a trilogy.

The latest visuals offer up a dignified Gandalf the Grey, (Sir Ian McKellen), outside the Shire.

The Hobbit and Unexpected Journey

Mark Pokorny/Warner Bros. Pictures

Next up, we have Bilbo's dwarf companions including brothers Fili (Dean O'Gorman) and Kili (Aidan Turner) and Dori (Mark Hadlow) and Nori (Jed Brophy) along with Bifur (William Kircher) as they march along what looks like the side of a mountain—or is it the shores of an underground lake?—on their way to face the dragon Smaug.

The Hobbit

Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line

And if fanboys were looking for something especially precious, we get a glimpse of that that pitiful creature otherwise known as Gollum (Andy Serkis).

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey unspools on Dec. 14, 2012 followed by the second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again on Dec. 13, 2013. The final installment, which doesn't yet have a subtitle, is scheduled to hit theaters in summer 2014 after Jackson and company conclude some additional filming.