This past weekend Peter Jackson was on hand at Comic-Con to unveil The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the sixth film in the franchise that he has been the steward of for more than fifteen years. To introduce it he began with a reel that showed everything that had happened in war-torn Middle Earth in the prior movies, and seeing everything unfold it's hard to deny this is probably the most epic cinematic series we've ever seen. They've retained such a visual consistency and general quality (even the maligned first 'Hobbit' movie is very well-made) that it's easy to take a film like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies for granted, but now the first trailer is here to remind you why that may be a mistake.
Reuniting Martin Freeman as young Bilbo Baggins, Luke Evans as the heroic Bard the Bowman, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, and of course Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug, this film wraps up Jackson's epic run (for now, anyway) with one gigantic war. And this trailer would be sewing the sides for that battle, showing the colorful faces involved and hinting at the conflicts that will erupt amongst them when honor and treasure are the spoils. There will be orcs, goblins, dwarves, and everything else Jackson can throw into the mix for his final blow out, and yes it looks incredible. This is the same footage he unveiled to an awed crowd at Comic-Con, leading to one fan who pondered if The Silmarillion is next.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens December 17th. Check it out and if you're interested in watching the Comic-Con panel where Jackson and much of the cast field questions from the audience simply go here. An even longer cut of The Lord of the Rings on Blu-Ray? It's seeming likely.