After many delays involving filming rights, unions, and possible directors, Warner Bros. has announced that filming for "The Hobbit" has finally kicked off.

The prequel, which takes place before the award-winning "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is being helmed once again by Peter Jackson and will encompass two films. Earlier today, the slimmed-down director released two official shots from the set of "Hobbiton," which fans of the first film will recognize as the starting point for Frodo's journey through Middle Earth. This time, the adventure will focus on Bilbo Baggins and his quest to "reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor."

"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. We're looking forward to re-entering this wondrous world with Gandalf and Bilbo – and our friends at New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers and MGM."

Check out the two pictures of Jackson below.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

First pictures of 'The Hobbit' set
Director Peter Jackson releases two photos from the set of the highly anticipated 'Lord of the Rings' prequels.