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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey/Development

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Disambiguation: This article is an annex to the the 2012 live action film. For the film's article, see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Development timelineEdit

  • 1995: According to Brian Sibley's 2006 book "Peter Jackson: A Film-maker's Journey," interest in filming The Hobbit is originally expressed by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh this year. They envision it as the first part of a trilogy (parts two and three would have been based on The Lord of the Rings).
  • March, 2005: Peter Jackson launches a lawsuit against New Line claiming he has lost revenue from merchandising, video and computer game releases associated with The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • January, 2007: New Line co-founder Robert Shaye, annoyed with the lawsuit, states that Jackson will never again direct a film for New Line, accusing him of being greedy.
  • August, 2007: After a string of flops, Shaye begins trying to repair his relationship with Jackson, saying "I really respect and admire Peter and would love for him to be creatively involved in some way in The Hobbit."
  • December 16, 2007: Peter Jackson is officially announced as executive producer of The Hobbit films.
  • February, 2008: New Line Cinema completes a merger with Warner Bros. The two parts of The Hobbit are announced as being scheduled for release in December 2011 and 2012 respectively.
  • April, 2008: Guillermo del Toro signs on to direct the films despite an interview in 2006 where he was quoted as saying "I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits, [...] I don't like sword and sorcery, I hate all that stuff."
  • August, 2008: Pre-production begins, with Del Toro, Jackson, Walsh and Philippa Boyens writing the scripts.
  • November, 2008: Del Toro has mentioned that he, Jackson, Walsh and Boyens realize something new about the story virtually every week and that the script is continually changing.
  • March, 2009: Completion of the story outlines and treatments end, and the studios approve the start of writing the screenplay.
  • June, 2009: Del Toro reveals that he has decided where to divide the story based on comments from fans about signifying a change in Bilbo's relationship with the dwarves, and on how many actors would be available to reprise their roles.
  • November, 2009: Peter Jackson reveals that he anticipates the script for The Hobbit will not be finished until the beginning of 2010, which will delay the start of production until the middle of that summer (several months later than previously anticipated). The announcement creates doubts about whether the film will make its previously-announced release dates of December 2011 and December 2012.
  • January 22, 2010: Alan Horn states that the first film will likely not be released until the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • May 30, 2010: Del Toro announces at that "[i]n light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming", he would "take leave from helming", further stating that "the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. [...] I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future and fully support a smooth transition to a new director."
  • June 25, 2010: Jackson is reported to be in negotiations to direct the two-part film.
  • September 24, 2010: The International Federation of Actors issues a Do Not Work order, advising members of its member unions (including the Screen Actors Guild) that "The producers...have refused to engage performers on union-negotiated agreements." This would subject actors who work on the film to possible expulsion from the union. In response, Warner Bros and New Line Cinema considers taking the production elsewhere, with Jackson mentioning the possibility of filming in Eastern Europe.
  • October 15, 2010: New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. confirm that The Hobbit is to proceed filming with Peter Jackson as director, and that the film will be in 3-D. That same day, Deadline Hollywood reports that James Nesbitt is in negotiations for a part in the film.
  • October 23, 2010: Former "Doctor Who" star Sylvester McCoy confirms that he is in negotiations to play a major role as a "wizard", leading to speculation he could appear as Radagast the Brown.
  • October 25, 2010: Partly out of fear for the Tolkien tourism effect, thousands of New Zealanders organize protest rallies imploring that production remain in New Zealand, as shifting production to locations outside New Zealand would potentially cost the country's economy up to $1.5 billion.
  • October 27, 2010: After two days of talks with the New Zealand government (including involvement by Prime Minister John Key), Warner Bros. executives decide to film The Hobbit in New Zealand as originally planned. In return, the government of New Zealand agrees to introduce legislation clarifying the distinction between independent contractors and employees working in the film production industry and also broaden the government's financial support for big budget films made in New Zealand.
  • November 1, 2010: Peter Jackson confirms that James Nesbitt has been added to the cast. Jackson is quoted as saying: "James's charm, warmth and wit are legendary as is his range as an actor in both comedic and dramatic roles. We feel very lucky to be able to welcome him as one of our cast."
  • November 27, 2010: Ian McKellen updates his website to include The Hobbit, suggesting that he has, in fact, decided to reprise the role of Gandalf in both parts of The Hobbit.
  • December 3, 2010: Swedish newspaper Nöjesbladet announced that Mikael Persbrandt had been cast in an unspecified role.
  • December 4, 2010: Deadline Hollywood reports that Orlando Bloom has entered into negotiations to reprise the role of Legolas.
  • December 7, 2010: Mikael Persbrandt is confirmed to play the role of Beorn. Jackson is quoted as saying, "The role of Beorn is an iconic one and Mikael was our first choice for the part. Since seeing him read for the role we can't imagine anyone else playing this character." Also on this day, Sylvester McCoy is officially added to the cast as Radagast the Brown.
  • January 7, 2011: Elijah Wood is confirmed as joining the cast by
  • January 10, 2011: Deadline Hollywood reports that Ian Holm has entered into negotiations to reprise his role, playing the part of old Bilbo, that Christopher Lee has entered into negotiations to reprise the role of Saruman, and that Andy Serkis has been confirmed to reprise his role as Gollum.
  • January 11, 2011: Christopher Lee announces on his website that he will be reprising his role as Saruman the White.
  • January, 2011: Ian McKellen confirms on his website that he is "happy to say I start filming in Wellington on 21 February 2011."
  • March 21, 2011: Principal photography begins in Wellington, New Zealand
  • April 6, 2011: The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Andy Serkis (Gollum) would also serve as second unit director on the films. Serkis states: "I think I understand Peter's sensibility and we have a common history of understanding Middle Earth. A lot of the crew from The Lord of the Rings was returning to work on The Hobbit. There is really a sense of Peter wanting people around him who totally understand the material and the work ethic."
  • April 22, 2011: Peter Jackson confirms via Facebook that Ian Holm has officially been added to the cast.
  • April 24, 2011: English actor Rob Kazinsky (originally cast as Kili's brother Fili) leaves the film "for personal reasons."
  • April 25, 2011: Orlando Bloom reveals that he has been in contact with Peter Jackson, who had given him a copy of the screenplay, and states that there is a high probability he will return. He is quoted as saying, "I'm going to bet on it ... But I can't really talk too much about it because it's still sort of in the ether. But I would love to go back to work with Peter Jackson. It would be an honour."
  • April 29, 2011: After having previously been linked to actors Doug Jones and David Tennant, Peter Jackson reports on Facebook that the role of Thranduil has gone to Lee Pace. On his casting, Jackson said, "Casting these Tolkien stories is very difficult, especially the Elven characters and Lee has always been our first choice for Thranduil. He's going to be great. We loved his performance in a movie called "The Fall" a few years ago and have been hoping to work with him since. When we were first discussing who would be right for Thranduil, Lee came into mind almost immediately."
  • April 30, 2011: Peter Jackson announces via Facebook that Dean O'Gorman has been hired as Kazinsky's replacement, stating: "Dean's a terrific Kiwi actor, who I am thrilled to be working with."
  • April, 2011: Peter Jackson reveals through his Facebook page that he is filming The Hobbit at 48 fps (frames per second) instead of the normal 24 fps.
  • May 1, 2011: Hugo Weaving is confirmed to reprise his role as Elrond: The Elven master of Rivendell. Weaving portrayed Elrond previously in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and it had long been assumed that he would be returning to the role, but his return was not officially confirmed until this date (almost six weeks after principal photography had begun)
  • May 27, 2011: Peter Jackson announces via Facebook that Orlando Bloom will reprise his role as Legolas.
  • May 30, 2011: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM announce the official release dates for "An Unexpected Journey" (December 14, 2012) and "There and Back Again" (December 13, 2013)
  • July, 2011: Scenes from The Hobbit are filmed at Pinewood Studios, England using sets constructed on stages F, N, and P.
  • August, 2011: The second block of shooting in New Zealand begins.
  • October, 2011: Warner Bros. confirms that a Hobbit video game will be released in 2012, before the release of the first film.
  • December 16, 2011: Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Lego announce the development of figures and play sets based on the upcoming adaptations of The Hobbit as well as Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • December, 2011: The second block of shooting in New Zealand ends.


Production videosEdit

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 110:32

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 1

Production Video #1
The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 210:24

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 2

Production Video #2
The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 313:27

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 3

Production Video #3
The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 410:44

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 4

Production Video #4
The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 512:04

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 5

Production Video #5
The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 612:29

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - Production Video 6

Production Video #6

Promotional photosEdit


Character Posters Edit

Additional Posters Edit


Highly praised for his work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Howard Shore returned to compose the score for The Hobbit films.

The Hobbit movie trilogy

Movies in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movie trilogy
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug | The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies