Ian Holm, Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman

Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage.com; New Line Cinema; AP Photo

What seems like eleventy years later, The Hobbit is finally a done deal.

MGM, New Line and Warner Bros. have officially greenlighted the two-part Lord of the Rings prequel, featuring the adventures of Frodo's uncle, Bilbo Baggins, with Peter Jackson triple-threating as writer-director-producer. LOTR partners Fran Walsh (aka Mrs. Jackson) and Phillipa Boyens will also work on the script.

Sets are already under construction in New Zealand and, barring more serious fires or union disputes, production will kick off in February. And because they can, they're going to shoot the movies in digital 3-D.

"Exploring Tolkien's Middle-earth goes way beyond a normal film-making experience," Jackson said in a statement. "It's an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama. We're looking forward to re-entering this wondrous world with Gandalf and Bilbo—and our friends at New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers and MGM".

Ian McKellen is a sure thing to don Gandalf's robes once again, but the question of who's going to play Bilbo remains.

So far, Martin Freeman, best known on these shores for roles in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Shaun of the Dead and the original Office TV series, has been mentioned as a possibility to play the wee burglar.

Guillermo Del Toro was originally handpicked to direct the $400 million Jacksonian vision, but he stepped down amid all the studio back-and-forth.

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