New image arrives from The Hobbit

Still reeling from the brilliance of Martin Freeman’s performance in last night’s Sherlock finale, we woke this morning to be greeted by a new image of the star as The Hobbit ’s Bilbo Baggins. And this time, he looks like he means business.

The new snap shows Bilbo clutching Sting, the magical blade that glows blue when orcs are in the area. Fortunately for him, the blade isn’t getting its glow on, although judging by the cave-like surroundings, it won’t be long before Bilbo is joined by another kind of antagonist…

Meanwhile, Peter Jackson and screenwriter Pippa Boyens have been discussing the production, with Jackson describing the experience as the most pleasurable of his career.

“This is the most enjoyable filmmaking experience of my career, by far, which is interesting since I came into it slightly reluctantly,” said Jackson in an interview with the LA Times . “It’s all unexpected.”

And according to Boyens, the biggest challenge has been how best to address the tonal differences between the prequel story of T he Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings proper.

“The story is very much a children’s story so deciding how to tell this was one of the first things we had to do,” she says. “It is very distinctly different, tonally, to Lord of the Rings until the very end and then you begin to see the world of Middle-earth opening up… but, having said that, we felt that it is the same audience [ who will come to see the films ] and then you start to worry because it is easy to repeat yourself. It is quite a similar journey - you’re going from the Shire to a large, dangerous mountain.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in the UK on 14 December 2012.

George Wales

George was once GamesRadar's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it. But now he's working at Stylist Magazine.