Hobbit fans have finally met the trilogy's main antagonist, the mighty dragon Smaug, as the trailer for the second instalment hit computer screens around the globe.
Fans have taken to Twitter, Facebook and online forums to post their first impressions of the next chapter of Sir Peter Jackson's epic trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Jackson posted the trailer on his own Facebook page, attracting 3000 comments and more than 40,000 likes in three hours following its release online.
The trailer is the first time Hobbit fans get a glimpse Smaug - one of the last great dragons of Middle Earth.
The excitement of thousands of fans spilled onto websites on Wednesday, with some describing it as incredible, spectacular and amazing, while others appeared speechless with comments like omg, wow and hallelujah.
"You are the best this is the greatest birthday present in all my life!!!!!,'' Helen Maletsika posted on Jackson's Facebook site.
"That was spectacular!! Thank you for giving us 2 plus minutes!" Patricia Didelot wrote, while Natalie Smith said, "No words can describe how excited I am for this."
But along with thousands of posts celebrating Jackson and his latest epic, there were some doubters among the crowd.
"Am I the only one here who is 'disappointed' about the face of smaug? I've seen it multiple times and sorry, I don't like it," Vincent Noben said of the dragon.
Others were more concerned with the method by which Jackson created the instalment.
"Why so much CGI!?!?!" Nico Ferglez said.
"Sorry to have to say this, but CGI looks bad ... very bad. Especially the elves' movements! Reminiscent of the CGI in Harry Potter II. Hope the final edit will look a bit more natural," Maike Brauserausch wrote.
The movie is set for official release on December 12 and will not hold its world premiere in Wellington.
The films have been a boost to tourism, with 8.5 per cent of visitors to New Zealand between January to April this year saying the making of the Hobbit movies in New Zealand was a factor in their decision to visit.