Ten years ago this week The Fellowship of the Ring was released. Peter Jackson‘s first Tolkien adaption silenced a great many naysayers who said J.R.R. Tolkien‘s novels could never be properly translated to film. It also fostered a mainstream interest in fantasy movies that continues a decade later.

The development of a film based on Tolkien’s original Middle-Earth novel, The Hobbit, was the subject of speculation as soon as Jackson started work on The Lord of the Rings. Actually making the movie was a terrifically complicated process that involved rights deals, the financial solvency of MGM, a long period of development under original director Guillermo del Toro, and the eventual return of Peter Jackson to the director’s chair.

Now the first teaser trailer — a long teaser, at that — has been released for the first of two films based on the novel. Get the first look at footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, after the break.

If that embed doesn’t work, try this:

One word: singing! I love it.

You don’t see all of them in that trailer, but The Hobbit‘s cast is staggering: Martin Freeman, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Graham McTavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mikael Persbrandt, Lee Pace, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Jeffrey Thomas, Mike Mizrahi, Bret McKenzie, Ryan Gage, Barry Humphries, Conan Stevens, and John Bell.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released on December 14, 2012. Apple has the trailer, and we’ll get a better HD embed in place as soon as possible.

“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.

Martin Freeman, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Graham McTavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mikael Persbrandt, Lee Pace, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Jeffrey Thomas, Mike Mizrahi, Bret McKenzie, Ryan Gage, Barry Humphries, Conan Stevens, and John Bell

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