In case you missed it, there was an online chat earlier today where Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro fielded an assortment of questions regarding the two upcoming Middle Earth-based films (The Hobbit and follow-up) from fans. Here are a few main highlights:

  • Both films (The Hobbit and its Untitled Follow-Up) will be shot back-to-back in 2010, with the first arriving December, 2011 and the second in December, 2012. As far as rating goes, they're shooting for "an intense PG-13."
  • They will not begin casting until the scripts are written, but said Ian McKellan will "absolutely" return as Gandalf and Ron Perlman will return; most likely not as the voice of Smog.
  • Howard Shore will return to score the films.
  • On what exactly the second film will be about, del Toro said: "The idea is to find a compelling way to join THE HOBBIT and FELLOWSHIP and enhance the 5 films both visually an in their Cosmology. There's omissions and material enough in the available, licensed material to attempt this. The agreement is, however, that the second film must be relevant and emotionally strong enough to be brought to life but that we must try and contain the HOBBIT in a single film."
  • They're currently working on a Blu-ray version of all three Lord of the Rings films, but it won't be out this year.
  • No plans are being made to shoot the two films in 3D ... yet.
Head over to the Weta website for an entire transcript.