Ian Holm Returns to the Shire as Bilbo Baggins

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Last week, we had our first look at the production of "The Hobbit" thanks to a video diary posted on Peter Jackson's Facebook. It was surprisingly emotional to see all the old sets from "The Lord of the Rings," and really exciting to see the new cast rehearsing scenes that will become just as iconic and beloved.

 

But even this late in production, there's still a few surprises to be had. Today, Peter Jackson posted on his Facebook wall that Ian Holm, who played Bilbo Baggins in the original trilogy, will be reprising his role.

Martin Freeman will be doing the honor for the majority of the film, but "old Bilbo" will have a few scenes to visually tie "The Hobbit" into "The Lord of the Rings." You may remember Holm's Bilbo is telling the story of "The Hobbit" to some little hobbit children at his birthday party. We expect his scenes will be something like that, or feature him at his desk at Bag End writing down the tale.

Jackson noted that many fans had already assumed Holm had returned -- or at least his voice had -- because of a moment at the end of the video blog:

"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."

If you had any doubts that Freeman would be the perfect Bilbo, they should vanish now.

Unfortunately, we still have a long time to wait until we hear Freeman saying the rest of Bilbo's lines. The first half of "The Hobbit" doesn't hit theaters until December 2012.