Peter Jackson has acknowledged that his upcoming Hobbit movies will have a vastly different mood than previous films set in Middle Earth.
"The Hobbit is very much a children's book and The Lord of the Rings is something else; it's not really aimed at children at all," the acclaimed director told Total Film.
"I realized the characters of the dwarves are the difference. Their energy and disdain of anything politically correct brings a new kind of spirit to it."
Jackson apparently feels this spirit significantly changes the way the movie has to be approached, which also makes it an interesting challenge for the veteran filmmaker.
Frankly, my expectation was that the film would be a more mature version of the tale told in the novel so as to match the first three films in the franchise - but this seems not to be the case.
Jackson will obviously attempt to maintain the immature levity of the dwarves, inevitably providing the film with a more childish hue to balance against the somber LOTR trilogy. According to Jackson, "The dwarves give it a kind of childish, comedic quality that gives us a very different tone from The Lord of the Rings."
A further consideration for the production was the sheer variety of characters. The novel follows thirteen dwarves, a wizard, and a hobbit. Fifteen characters is quite a lot for a single film to successfully capture and portray.
"I imagined 13 guys with long hair and beards and I thought, 'How are we ever going to know which dwarf is which? It's an ensemble from hell really," he said.
Despite these hurdles, Jackson is confident that he’s found the right ways to fit the film sinto the Middle Earth he’s already created, saying "I want it to seem like we've gone back on location into Middle-earth; that these two movies feel like they belong at the beginning of the other three. We're the same filmmakers going into the same world."
The official synopsis for the film is thus:
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.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters Dec 14 , 2012. The follow up film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, follows on Dec 13, 2013.