Peter Jackson will be returning us to Middle-earth once more at the end of this year, and if all goes well, we’ve been hearing recently that he’s hoping to turn the two instalments into a trilogy.

Following on from that news earlier this week, we’ve now got two new images from the first instalment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, courtesy of E!, giving us a look at Andy Serkis, before and after the CGI that turns him and his motion capture suit into Gollum.

“The Hobbit follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.”

Jackson brings us a host of new and old faces alike, with Martin Freeman taking the lead as the young Bilbo Baggins, and starring alongside him and Serkis will be the likes of Stephen Fry, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, and Christopher Lee.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set to be released in 3D and IMAX 3D on the 14th December this year, and we await confirmation about whether we can look forward to one or two more instalments beyond it. For now, enjoy these two new images, which you can click to enlarge.