In a few short months, Bilbo Baggins will set off on the "Unexpected Journey" that will change his life forever. But for Peter Jackson, his days steeped in Middle-Earth lore have already reached an end, at least on one level.

The Oscar-winning visionary director of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy has announced the end of principal photography on "The Hobbit," his long-awaited prequel that tells its story over two films: "An Unexpected Journey" this coming December, and "There and Back Again" the following year.

"We made it!" Jackson exclaimed in a post on Facebook, accompanied by a photo of himself holding a film slate. "Shoot day 266 and the end of principal photography on The Hobbit. Thanks to our fantastic cast and crew for getting us this far, and to all of you for your support! Next stop, the cutting room. Oh, and Comic Con!"

Indeed, Comic-Con is very much the next step for Bilbo and the merry band of dwarves he's joined up with. "The Hobbit" will have a serious presence during the Warner Bros. panel on July 14, with everyone from Jackson to the film's leads — Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Ian McKellan (Gandalf), Richard Armitage (Thorin) and even Gollum himself, Andy Serkis — expected to attend. A sneak peek at footage is all but guaranteed, so make sure to line up early if you want a front-row look at Jackson's latest trip to Middle-Earth.

Of course, even with principal photography wrapped, there is much work to be done on the two-part "Lord of the Rings" prequel. "Unexpected Journey" lands this December, but with "There and Back Again" not hitting theaters until the end of 2013, it'll be a long wait before the full adventure of the little hobbit that could is fully told.

What are you looking forward to most in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"? Leave your comment below!

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