While speaking to fans during Comic Con, Peter Jackson revealed that The Hobbit is much farther away than fans have been led to believe: "Everyone assumes we're casting but we're not," he said. Recently rumors suggested that Jackson (who's producing this time around while Guillermo del Toro directs) would use this time at Con to announce who would play Bilbo Baggins in the much-anticipated double-feature prequel, though not only did he not reveal any names -- he claimed they're not even close to choosing one.

Jackson said that they're three or four weeks away from handing in the first draft of the script, and that the film isn't even really greenlit yet -- they still need to finish writing, get approval on the script, and have the budget approved before we will see any actual progress in the way of casting. While there is no doubt that the film will get made, it's still in that squishy working stage, and we shouldn't be scanning the trades for a Bilbo Baggins casting announcement for a few more months.

Hopefully, though, things will remain on target so that we'll all be able to watch the first Hobbit film when it hits theaters in December of 2011. We'll have more from Peter Jackson in a little while as Cinematical was one of a handful of sites who got to sit down for an intimate chat with the filmmaker. Stay tuned ...

Erik Davis contributed to this post