Even though it has been expected for months now, and with official word merely a formality, Peter Jackson has confirmed that Ian Holm is indeed returning for his two-part "The Hobbit."
In a Good Friday Facebook posting, the director said: "One comment that came up from the recent video blog was the Bilbo voice at the end—many of you assumed it was Sir Ian Holm. Whilst Ian will be returning as the older Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit,' that recording was actually Martin Freeman's voice, taken from a script read through we recorded when the cast first arrived. I have to admit, I wasn't sure who it was when I first heard it, either. Cheers, Peter J"
Of course, that comment opens up the doors of speculation once again as to how Peter Jackson will extend the branches of "The Hobbit" to bridge to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Early word had it that the script set up a framing device that will have Frodo appear in the opening sequence of the film. As Tolkien fans know, “The Downfall of The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit or There and Back Again,” are contained in the fictional “Red Book of Westmarch.” In “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Bilbo and Frodo both write in the ‘Red Book,’ later handing it off to Sam Gamgee. So with that in mind, the plan is to open “The Hobbit” with Frodo either reading from or telling the tale from the ‘Red Book’ as he—and the viewers—experience Bilbo’s story. Presumably, the older Bilbo will factor in that framing as well.
The film is just at the beginning of a 14-month-long shoot with the first entry slated to arrive in December 2012. In case you missed it, here is the video blog entry Jackson was referring to below. We only wish that more behind-the-scenes videos were as genuinely interesting and exciting as this one.