This feels like the kind of story that's gonna end up being "updated" a bit, but here's what we know at the moment.
THIS article at Deadline first insinuated that Elijah Wood might return in some capacity to THE HOBBIT; the same article also indicates that Warner Bros. will pay "the entire cost" of the $500 million + film (can that number be right!? Wasn't the cumulative budget of all three LORD OF THE RINGS films approx. $300 million? Or, am I missing something?)
So, the big question becomes: how will Wood's Frodo...who wasn't a player in THE HOBBIT book (which precedes the events of the RING trilogy)...get shoehorned into this movie?
THIS report over at TheOneRing says they now know how Frodo/Wood might be/will be integrated into the new picture.
As readers of “The Hobbit” know, the tale of “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 Peter Jackson’s LOTR films, the book is shown on screen and written in by Bilbo and Frodo and handed off to Sam Gamgee. (Not explained on film are Sam’s progeny later having the book and being Wardens of the Westmarch — hence the book’s title.)
The fictional book, and either the telling from it or the reading of it, will establish Frodo in the films experiencing Bilbo’s story. Viewers are to learn the tale of ‘The Hobbit’ as a familiar Frodo gets the tale as well.
Since the speculation is now everywhere around the interwebs, TORn can confirm that as of now, the plans are to feature Frodo in the opening sequence of the films. It is unlikely that studio Warner Bros. or Team Jackson would change the script at this point in response to the web buzz so we may have just “spoiled” December 2012 for some, but we warned you. (And, sat on the spoiler until leaks started to appear!)
As I said, I'm guessing more information about this will be coming along in fairly short order, so stay tuned?
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