The Hobbit movie adaptation has been through a real baptism by fire this year.
But with Peter Jackson finally officially confirmed as director, and the two-part project gifted a green light despite MGM’s crippling financial situation, the ball can really get rolling.
Thanks to all of the stops and starts the films have had to dodge all year, it’s been a long, long time since we first started talking about who might be jumping for a part in the Lord Of The Rings prequels.
Now, though, Deadline have confirmed that Martin Freeman is officially in talks to play Bilbo Baggins – an older version of whom was portrayed by Ian Holmes in the LOTR films.
It seems his casting generally depends on the film's shoot dates.
Meanwhile, other actors on the menu are former Who David Tennant, who is talking with the studio about an undisclosed role, and James Nesbitt, who has also been offered yet another undisclosed part.
Rounding out a potentially very European cast is Michael Fassbender, who is apparently high up on the producers’ wish list.
Of course, the only confirmed returnees are currently Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum.
Jury’s still out on how fire-breather Smaug will get up there on the screen – though we’re sure Serkis is chomping on his mo-cap hat to have a go...