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Our popular blog The Geek Files sees David Bentley - sci-fi space cadet - exploring a galaxy of movies, mutants and monsters.

In one of his latest blogs he looks at what's happening in Middle Earth for The Hobbit. For more on this and other great blogs on the world of superheroes and aliens, visit The Geek Files at blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/thegeekfiles/or use the links from our home page.

GUILLERMO DEL TORO, director of the The Hobbit, has spoken to fans about the project, along with its executive producer Peter Jackson - just days before a court hearing could stop the movie being made.

Del Toro and Jackson plan to make a film adaptation of JRR Tolkien's classic and then craft a sequel that bridges the 59 years between The Hobbit and the first Lord of the Rings movie, Fellowship of the Ring.

The Hobbit sequel would be based on references and timelines in the literary material; there is no actual Tolkien book that tells the full story of that period.

The Hobbit itself follows the quest of hobbit Bilbo Baggins to win his share of the treasure guarded by the dragon Smaug.

Bilbo returns from that quest in year 2942 of the Third Age, and leaves the Shire in 3001 after passing on to Frodo the ring he had obtained in 2941. It's his leaving The Shire that is the start of The Fellowship of the Ring movie, the first of the trilogy helmed by Peter Jackson.

But the films face a new foe if Tolkien's son Christopher has his way at a court hearing in the US on June 6. It's been reported that Christopher Tolkien is seeking to terminate the film rights to The Hobbit in a dispute with the studios over earnings. He says the Tolkien family is owed pounds 80million from a deal for 7.9 per cent of the Rings trilogy profits.

If the films do go ahead, Ian McKellen would reprise his role as Gandalf (left), and it's understood that Andy Serkis would return as Gollum and that Viggo Mortenson would come back as Aragorn, a character who does not appear in the original Hobbit story published in 1937.

Ian Holm, who played Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings films, is in line to narrate. Liv Tyler said she would reprise her role as Arwen if asked.

In an online Q&A on Movieweb, Jackson says filming will take place entirely in New Zealand which is the 'perfect Middle Earth.' Jackson said: "The plan is to write for the rest of this year and start early conceptual designs - 2009 will be dedicated to pre-production on both movies, and 2010 will be the year we shoot both films back to back. Post production follows one film at a time with The Hobbit being released 2011, and the second film in December 2012."

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 29, 2008
Words:518
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