The Hobbit Will Finally Shoot in February 2011

The first three “Lord of the Rings” films are legendary, but they might be nothing compared to the behind-the-scenes turmoil that has gone on with the upcoming two “Hobbit” movies. After years of problems (and still more problems left to be resolved), Peter Jackson’s two “Hobbit” movies have now been given the official greenlight, with production set for as early as February of next year.

Jackson will once again direct both films with a combined budget of $400 million, with $30 million of that already sank into pre-production on the film’s New Zealand sets. Of course, whether the films will actually shoot in New Zealand remains to be seen given the labor issues the production is currently still mired in.

Of the cast, only Sir Ian McKellan is officially back as Gandalf, with Martin Freeman rumored to be the frontrunner for the lead, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. With the greenlight given, expect the first part of “The Hobbit” to land in theaters by December 19, 2012, followed by part two in the following year.

That is, unless something else comes up to sabotage the production. You know, like maybe meteorites from outer space, or mole men from the Earth’s core. Hey, this is the “Hobbit”, it could happen.

'It's about friggin time, I'm running out of tobacco for this here pipe.'