First off, I want to say thank you to everyone who read and commented on my explanation of why I physically can't go see "The Hobbit." I am thankful to live in a world where people can be open and want to learn about what makes everyone different, and how they can help those with physical (or any) handicaps.
That said, even though I probably won't be able to see the film for at least half a year...
I am extremely excited.
I was not yet 15 when "Return of the King" was released in theaters, and it was the only LOTR movie that I was able to see on the big screen (before captions were really available at all). It was an utterly magical experience...
I'd first seen "The Fellowship of the Ring" some 18 months previously, and fallen completely in love. I had, of course, read the book first, and scoured magazines for pictures to drool over the visual feast Peter Jackson and his crew had created. While there are places where the adaptation angers faithful fans of the book, I think it is hard for any of us to argue with the design decisions.
There were rumors about the "Hobbit" being translated to screen as well almost immediately, but a rights war started and for a long time we pretty much gave up hope that this film would ever happen.
Guillermo del Torro was signed on to direct at last, which was exciting news as his film aesthetic seemed like it would be a good fit. But the waiting got too long even for him, and he had to move on with other projects (for which none of us can really blame him, poor guy).
And then it really began happening. They wrote the script, which turned into two movies (and later, three), and started casting. We were thrilled to hear of all the returning actors, and book fans should even geek out over Legolas's reported appearance at his father's court in Mirkwood, a detail I was certainly hoping they would not overlook.
We worried about finding the perfect Bilbo (we shouldn't have), and how the dwarves would be portrayed, and whether the darkness of the films we already had would intrude on the more youthful tone of "The Hobbit." But we knew early on that Jackson would be including stories from the appendices, and though it will forever change how we view "The Hobbit," it is, in the end, I think a more faithful choice for translating the history Tolkien created in its fullness to the screen.
I could be wrong (and I'm sure there will be things that frustrate me), but all in all, the posters, trailers, and news stories seem to indicate that this is going to be a fantastic new trilogy. I am thrilled that eventually I will get to see it, and that tonight old fans will flock to the midnight opening with new, younger fans in tow, and a new era of Middle Earth love will begin.