The Hobbit

Even an unfinished unexpected journey is better than no journey at all.

Peter Jackson screened a whopping 12 1/2 minutes of the hugely anticipated first half of his Lord of the Rings prequel saga, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, today for a packed-within-an-inch-of-its-life Hall H at Comic-Con.

And, despite the soundtrack that Jackson called "temporary" and the yet-to-be-perfected special effects (no Smaug yet), we can tell you one thing:

We cannot wait for the finished product!

Before Jackson popped out, the audience watched another of his production diaries, this one featuring glimpses of Beorn's house, Lake Town, being fire-bombed, Stephen Fry as the master of Lake Town, Smaug's gold and nice shots of Orlando Bloom's Legolas, Luke Evans' Bard and Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins.

"This is a movie made by fans for fans," Jackson said, referring to his own love of all things Middle-earth.

"We write the script as we're shooting," the New Zealander explained, noting that he likes to wait until he's finished shooting before he can even envision the final cut. "We're not very good at making short movies, unfortunately," he added.

And, it turns out, he may not be that great at only doing two movies at a time, either!

Jackson, who was joined on The Hobbit panel today by Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood, told on the film's press line that he's considering splitting The Hobbit: There and Back Again into two films—if New Line Cinema, MGM, et al. will let him.

"We've been certainly talking to the studio about some of the material we can't film," the faithful J.R.R. Tolkien fan said. "And we've been asking them if we can do a bit more filming next year. Which I don't know what would come of that, whether that would be extended additions or not. But those discussions are ongoing...I'd like to shoot a bunch more material that we can't shoot. There's so much good stuff in the appendices that we haven't been able to squeeze into these movies. That's a discussion that we're having, yeah."

Who else talks about a book's appendices these days?! Not to mention, Jackson has probably already shot enough footage to make for the best DVD extras of all time.

Illustrating the method to Jackson's madness, Serkis said on the panel that he was supposed to work on the films for two weeks—and ended up staying a year and a half.

"It was a remarkable and extraordinary experience," he said. When asked to do a bit of Gollum for the crowd, Serkis obliged, saying in the creature's raspy, tortured voice: "For f--k's sake, do I have to?!"

If nothing else, there will some excellent extended cuts one day. But if Jackson has his way, Bilbo Baggins' journey may unexpectedly be only one-third over when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters Dec. 13, 2013.

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