The wait is over for Middle Earth fans - the first Hobbit trailer has been released. Now they just have to get through another 12 months until the first of the two films is out.

Sweeping panoramic shots of New Zealand landscapes and familiar faces from the Lord of the Rings movies featured as Sir Peter Jackson revealed his version of Bilbo Baggins' epic journey to the world.

Set in Middle Earth, 60 years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey tells the tale of the hobbit Bilbo as he journeys to the Lonely Mountain accompanied by a group of dwarfs to reclaim a treasure taken from them by the dragon Smaug.

Jackson first presented the idea to adapt the book in 1997 and, after a number of legal woes with New Line Cinemas, filming began in New Zealand in March.


Five hours after the trailer was uploaded to YouTube yesterday afternoon, it had 5.5 million views.

J.R.R. Tolkien and Jackson fans posted comments on the video expressing their delight that the trailer had "finally" been released and their anticipation for the film itself.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will premiere on December 13 next year in Wellington and the second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is set to be released on December 12 the following year.