The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Warner Bros. Pictures

It's (kinda, sorta) almost time!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will hit the big screen on Dec. 14, and if that seems like a lifetime away, know that there is a theatrical trailer (finally) releasing later today—eek! So that should hold you down.

But let's not forget the journey that brought us to this point. A lot happened when it comes to the production of Peter Jackson's pair of films-turned-trilogy, so while you celebrate Hobbit Day and anxiously wait for the new release, take a minute to catch up on all the coverage of the highly anticipated films!

• No setbacks, not even set firesthreats of union strikes and perforated ulcers, could stop The Hobbit from coming to life. It was announced that production on the film would start moving forward in March 2011, and just when fans began to lose hope, photos from the set proved it was starting..

• The first film wrapped in July after nine months of shooting, and is due in theaters Dec. 14. "We made it! Shoot day 266 and the end of principal photography on The Hobbit," Jackson said.

• After numerous questions from fans and some deliberation, Jackson revealed that The Hobbit would become a trilogy, just like Lord of the Rings. "We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life," Jackson said. "All of which gave rise to a simple question: Do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.'"

• The second Hobbit film title and the third film's release date were announced in August. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released Dec. 13, 2013; the third installment in the series, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will hit theaters July 18, 2014.

• Jackson's short preview of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey during CinemaCon got mixed reviews. Jackson shot the film at a record 48-frames-per-second, which the director says is far superior to the current 24-frames-per-second standard of pretty much anything else you've seen on the big screen. Some thought it was like a hi-def version of the 1970s I, Claudius, while others felt like "you're right there and it's breathtaking." Regardless, you'll get used to it.

• Need some visuals? There are plenty of photos—dwarves, Gollum, more Gollum, some Cate Blanchett, the whole crew and even some snapshots for the kids!

• If pictures weren't enough, there are more than enough trailers to keep you occupied. There's the latest from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which was just slightly different than the first that shows us a Young Bilbo and many familiar faces. There's also Jackson's sneak preview and his video diary from the set.

• Ah, yes, the cast! Stephen Fry plays The Master of LaketownBill Connolly will take on Dain IronfootElijah Wood—who says these movies will be "big"—will bring Frodo back, Orlando Bloom will reprise his role as Elf Prince LegolasIan Holm will continue to be older BilboEvangeline Lilly will be Tauriel and Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie plays...? Also, this list of the cast might be helpful.

Luke Evans was nice enough to spill some deets on the film, but he couldn't go too in depth because he'd "be shot dead in seconds if I open my mouth about it."

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