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Update: Images now link to higher res versions (click to view).

Six new images posted on USA Today online showing the dwarves, Bilbo, Gandalf, Gollum, and Radagast!  Is this a peek at what’s in the upcoming trailer this week??

Boyens feels The Hobbit is as much the story of Thorin (Richard
Armitage) as it is of Bilbo Baggins. “You want him to inherit this
 kingdom. You want to feel that if he can take back his homeland,
he’ll rule for a good many years.”

Ian McKellan reprises his role of Gandalf, one of the key characters in The Lord of the Rings. “He is much more of a worldly character, a little bit more of a tramp, whereas Gandalf the White was more regal.”

Writer/producer Philippa Boyens has good news for fans of the Hobbit named Smeagol, who is twisted by the power of the One Ring (and is played by Andy Serkis in motion-capture): “You get to see more of him, and that’s never a bad thing.”

The Hobbit’s dwarf crew includes, from left, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, Adam Brown as Ori, Mark Hadlow as Dori, Jed Brophy as Nori and Peter Hambleton as Gloin. Boyens quips: “I think they’ll all be sex symbols. Seriously.”

The wizard Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) is only mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit book once, but Boyens had enough to go on to boost his role in the new movie series, and she feels he’s going to become a well-loved character. “He’s not at all like Gandalf,” Boyens says. “There’s a power and danger and sharpness and wits and cunning even about Gandalf that you sense immediately, whereas Radagast is much quieter and gentler. You could mistakenly think he’s not even a wizard or that he might not have any powers of his own, and then you discover that he does.”

Martin Freeman is Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book.