Yes, we're still eighteen months away from "The Hobbit" hitting theaters but the fever for the films directed by Peter Jackson is already running very high. Last week, fans got a very early treat when the first official stills from the film hit the web and it looks like the filmmakers aren't being shy about showing off a little bit more.

Empire now has two looks at the movie, and they are more or less variations on what we saw last week, but should still please the faithful. The first is a closer look at Ian McKellen as Gandalf, while the second is pretty much the exact same shot of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, just with a slightly different pose. We really hope this isn't the sign of a trend to come with different outlets receiving slightly different versions of the same picture, but we'll take what we can get for now.

Rounding up new faces, and old friends, Jackson and company continue to shoot in New Zealand. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” arrives in theaters on December 14, 2012.