The-Hobbit:-The-Desolation-of-Smaug-Empire-CoverPicking up where An Unexpected Journey left off last year, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is just weeks away from hitting the big screen, marking the second instalment in Jackson’s new trilogy, which has already taken north of a billion dollars at the box office with just one movie.

As you can imagine, the film is front and centre of Empire’s December issue, and as such, the magazine has released not just the main cover, but also four limited edition versions, teasing a look at Thorin Oakenshield in the webs of Mirkwood, Gandalf in the ruins of Dol Guldur, Bard the Bowman on the rooftops of Lake-Town, and Bilbo in the dragon’s lair of Erebor.

Exciting times. And as if that wasn’t good enough, two new TV spots have landed online to tease more of the action.

The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece “The Hobbit”, by J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” continues the adventures of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

Martin Freeman is naturally reprising his role as Bilbo Baggins once more, starring alongside Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Sylvester McCoy, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, Stephen Fry, and plenty more faces, new and familiar alike.

Jackson is directing from a script he co-wrote with past collaborators Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, based on the original novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, using his various appendices to expand the original source material.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released in 2D, 3D, HFR 3D, and IMAX 3D on December 13th in the UK and US, so be sure to mark your calendars for round two.

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Since graduating, I spend as much time as possible watching films/TV shows, reading books, and listening to music. So getting to write about what I love is nothing short of awesome. Biggest film-related hope for 2014/ever: Guy Ritchie announcing the RocknRolla sequel is finally moving forward.