‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Trailer Offers Recognizable, Epic Thrills (VIDEO)

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If you were worried that director Peter Jackson had abandoned the moviemaking magic that elevated his Lord of the Rings adaptations to epic art in favor of oversized apes and afterlife odysseys, fret not. His forthcoming trilogy, The Hobbit – or at least the first installment, An Unexpected Journey – appears to have all of the same sweeping energy as its predecessors.

Warner Bros. released a new theatrical trailer Wednesday for the film, in which Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and an ensemble cast embark on a magical, peril-fraught journey.

What other characters from the ‘Rings’ trilogy return for ‘The Hobbit’?

In addition to McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkis (as the iconic Gollum) are back for more adventures.

Jackson initially created his Hobbit adaptation as two films, but earlier this year the filmmaker announced that he would be expanding the series to three. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in theaters on December 14, 2012. The Desolation of Smaug opens December 13, 2013 and There and Back Again opens on July 18, 2014.

Below, watch the original trailer, which Jackson and Warner Bros. released in December 2011.

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