The first official The Hobbit trailer video has debuted online and the 30 second clip reveals some fun surprises for Lord of the Rings movie fans. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer video gives fans a surprise glimpse into director Peter Jackson‘s reworking of the original material, including the reappearance of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel.

If you’re not up on your Lord of the Rings history, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey follows young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) on a quest to help reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erabor — held hostage by the terrible dragon Smaug. In addition to a slew of new characters, fans will also be gifted with some holdovers from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, including the previously mentioned Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Sir Ian Holm as the older Bilbo.

The return of of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel is a nice nibble of foreshadowing for Lord of the Rings fans that new material will be included in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and not just in the forthcoming sequel. The material is based on other related Tolkien works and revolves around a side quest featuring Gandalf and Galadriel confronting an evil arising in Milkwood. The character of Galadriel does not appear in the book version of The Hobbit.

After the roaring success of director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, it was inevitable that a new film version of The Hobbit would end up in theaters eventually. The journey to translate J.R.R. Tolkien‘s book to film, however, faced a slew of obstacles before it finally bore fruit. One of the most significant speed bumps was the eventual replacement of former director Guillermo del Toro with Lord of the Rings trilogy director Peter Jackson.

While I’m sure the film would probably have been stellar under the hand of del Toro, I feel a bit of a relief at seeing Peter Jackson’s vision from The Lord of the Rings continuing to shine through in The Hobbit trailer video. The 30 second clip could have virtually been yanked right out of an extra reel from any of the previous three films, it feels so connected — like going home. Which is a fabulous thing really. After all, why mess with what obviously kicks ass?

Or, as Jen Chaney of the Washington Post said: “That noise you hear? That’s the sound of J.R.R Tolkien nerds and Jackson lovers weeping with joy.”

Sadly for Lord of the Rings fans, The Hobitt: An Unexpected Journey is not due to be released until December 13, 2012.

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