Ring mania is set to descend on the internet this evening with the first official images from director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit being unveiled via Entertainment Weekly.

The scoop by EW consists of three pictures from the set of the Lord of the Rings prequel and more importantly gives us a first glance of Martin Freeman in the converted role of hobbit and adventurer Bilbo Baggins.

A second image portrays Sir Ian McKellan back in thoughtful wizardry mode as Gandalf the Grey whilst a final snapshot has the New Zealand director conversing closely with Freeman on set.

In addition to the recent confirmation that Benedict Cumberbatch is now on board to provide vocal duties for the fiery dragon Smaug, fans of the Middle Earth saga will no doubt be pouring over the new images to compare the set and costume design with that of the existing movies.

The full article, images and commentary can be found over at EW.com.

The first instalment of Peter Jackson’s two part adaptation of J.J. Tolkien’s novel commences in December 2012 with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and continues with The Hobbit: There and Back Again in December 2013.

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