Production on The Hobbit is paused for the moment, as star Martin Freeman returns to the UK to film the next season of his BBC series Sherlock. But to fill the break in shooting and Peter Jackson's not-frequent-enough updates on his Facebook page, Entertainment Weekly has something that more than makes up for it--three official images from the film, including our first look at Freeman in costume as Bilbo, plus Ian McKellen back in costume as Gandalf the Grey. Check out smaller versions of all three below.

The pictures come along with some quotes from Jackson about his actors and the film-- he says of Freeman, "'I think he's got the biggest hobbit feet we've had so far. They're a little bit hard to walk in, but he's managed to figure out the perfect hobbit gait.'' He also drops a fairly amazing stat: "When we were going through the schedule for The Hobbit, I felt a terrible drop in my stomach when I saw that we'd be shooting for 254 days. We're only 12 days short of The Lord of the Rings even though we're only doing two movies. When I saw that, I had to sort of pick myself up off the floor and carry on.''

What I'm really dying to see about The Hobbit is how they manage the trickier stuff-- the regular-sized actors playing dwarves, the dragon Smaug, all the adventure stuff. But it's undeniably great to see photos from The Shire once again, and to get a look at just how well Freeman fits into those large Hobbit ears. Tolkien faithful, let me know in the comments if you're as charmed by this as I am.

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