When production ended last year on The Hobbit, we all assumed that it was the last time that Peter Jackson would be filming in the bounds of Middle Earth. The epic story was going to be told in two separate parts - An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again - and after months production it appeared as though they had absolutely everything they needed. But then the story completely changed. Reports came out announcing that the great J.R.R. Tolkien story would actually be split into three parts, the second being titled The Desolation of Smaug, and with that announcement came news that the production would be swinging back into full gear down in New Zealand during the summer of 2013. And when The Hobbit is filming, that means it's time for more video blogs.

This past weekend we learned that both Sir Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom have officially played Gandalf and Legolas this year, but now a brand new featurette has been posted on Jackson's official Facebook page taking fans back behind the scenes of both The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and There And Back Again. The video largely focuses on the challenges of pick-up shooting, which involves not only once again constructing all of the sets, recollecting the actors and bringing together hair, makeup and wardrobe, but also collecting a large number of extras in a small amount of time and making sure to keep continuity from the work that was already done (for example, the pattern of bird poop running down the sides of Radagast The Brown's face).

It's an entertaining video with some very strange moments - I didn't wake up this morning expecting to see an 80s-style fitness video starring a bunch of dwarfs - but sadly it also comes with some bad news. While Jackson has always been a big presence at San Diego Comic Con, this year he won't be coming to the festivities and we won't be getting an early look at the sequel. And his reasons are totally justifiable, as he still has a ton of work that needs to be done so that The Desolation of Smaug will be ready for theaters this December. Watching the video he actually looks surprisingly disappointed that he won't be able to attend the geekfest, which is easy to appreciate as a fan.

In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and the rest of the dwarfs continue their quest to the Lonely Mountain so that they can reclaim the treasure that was once stolen from them by the great red dragon known as Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Sadly we won't be seeing the movie until it's released on December 13th, but we do have the first trailer for the film, which came out a few weeks ago with Zack Snyder's Man of Steel.

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