CATEGORIES Movies
This summer may hold the official return to Middle-earth.

Variety reports that Gandalf the Grey himself, Ian McKellen, has announced that principal photography on the highly anticipated (and much-delayed) 'The Hobbit' will begin in July. However, New Line Cinema hasn't even officially greenlit the two-part film, much less announced a start date.

Peter Jackson is currently finishing the script with his partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and the film's director, Guillermo del Toro, who has relocated to New Zealand in anticipation of the project. The final script will trigger a calculation of budget and setting a start date. This summer may hold the official return to Middle-earth.

Variety reports that Gandalf the Grey himself, Ian McKellen, has announced that principal photography on the highly anticipated (and much-delayed) 'The Hobbit' will begin in July. However, New Line Cinema hasn't even officially greenlit the two-part film, much less announced a start date.

Peter Jackson is currently finishing the script with his partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and the film's director, Guillermo del Toro, who has relocated to New Zealand in anticipation of the project. The final script will trigger a calculation of budget and setting a start date.

Guillermo del Toro ('Hellboy,' 'Pan's Labyrinth') was announced as the director of 'The Hobbit' over a year ago, but the production has been delayed several times as work continues on the script and financing is negotiated. Everyone involved (including fans) hope to have Part I ready for a Christmas 2012 release.

Besides McKellen as Gandalf, other key players from 'The Lord of the Rings' are expected to return, including Andy Serkis as Gollum, Hugo Weaving as Elrond and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. Del Toro's frequent collaborator, Ron Perlman, has been rumored to play Thorin, the leader of the Company of Dwarves out to reclaim Lonely Mountain from Smaug the Dragon.