Don't make any plans for Dec. 14, 2012 or Dec. 13, 2013. Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema, Warner Bros and MGM have announced those dates for the release of "The Hobbit," a two-part prequel to the celebrated "Lord of the Rings" films.
The first part, currently being filmed in New Zealand, will be called "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." The second is titled after the original book, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again." The story will follow Bilbo Baggins in his quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
The films have been long delayed due to funding issues, directorial comings and goings, and a frustrating labor dispute which nearly caused the production to leave New Zealand altogether. It was only in late March of this year that cameras finally started rolling.
"Exploring Tolkien's Middle Earth goes way beyond a normal film-making experience" Jackson said last year. "It's an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama."
Speaking of drama, it appears that some environmental activists are using interest in the film to throw mud at Canada's Alberta tar sands industry.
A video was recently placed online claiming to be a part of Jackson's popular video diaries that go behind the scenes of the film during production. The clip cleverly spliced together sound bytes from previous Jackson entries to make it appear as if the tar sands were going to play the role of Mordor — the wasteland where Lord Sauron works his evil.
Besides the crummy editing, fans immediately noticed one major glaring error with this video: Mordor never makes an appearance in "The Hobbit." Then again, with Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood and Ian Holm reprising roles from the previous films, enough doubt was cast to convince some.
Melissa Booth, a publicist for "The Hobbit," quickly put it to rest saying, "I can confirm that it is a fictional clip cobbled together from other things Peter has done. There is no truth to the claim that we plan to film in this area."
Check out the fake clip below: