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The Hobbit movies given official titles

‘The Hobbit’ movies have officially been titled.

The first film – which is currently being shot by director Sir Peter Jackson in New Zealand – will be called ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ and be released in December 2012, while the follow-up is named ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ and will hit cinemas in December 2013.

Both of the monikers are in keeping with the original books by JRR Tolkein, with ‘There and Back Again’ being used for the alternative title of the 1937 tome and ‘An Unexpected Journey’ taken from the first chapter of ‘The Hobbit’ entitled ‘An Unexpected Party’.

Meanwhile, Peter has confirmed the White Council – a group of Lords and Wizards of Middle Earth who are formed to contest the power of Dol Gulder – will be appearing in both of the films.

He said: “I will confirm that both the White Council and Dol Guldur will feature in the movies. And not in just once scene either. Just how to visualise it has been a challenge.”

Martin Freeman is playing the titular character in the movies, with a supporting cast including Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Stephen Fry and Elijah Wood.