Okay, a ton of various official news. First, let's start out with the biggest item. Yesterday at the San Diego Comic-Con LEGO announced the upcoming Bag End set (follow the link for a hi-res picture):
As you can see, this set will include the six figures revealed previously. BTW, someone put together this picture, which shows these figs to be quite movie-accurate. So any accusations of silliness (particularly with regard to Bofur) can be squarely laid at Peter Jackson's doorstep.
Ace from FBTB has lot of and an article. He reports this will be available December 1 and will cost US$60. I've seen this called 'An Unexpected Gathering' at multiple places online, so I assume that is the official name. Why not 'An Unexpected Party'? I have no clue, but again I'll just blame Peter Jackson. Anyway, on to the set itself. I'm pretty happy with this overall - as many have said it looks more like a MOC than a set, which is always a complement. Fully furnished interior is accessible from the back. I see some cool elements like a new pretzel and what I think is a new round plate with hole used for the windows. Also awesome new maps (of Mirkwood, the Lonely Mountain, and the Shire), Bilbo's diary and board elements, but sadly those are stickered. It may be that this is a demo and the ultimate set will have printed pieces, but given the Moria stickers I'm not going to hold my breath. Oh, I see Sting there, which is kind of odd since this is supposed to be set before Bilbo gets it,* but good for the fact that you can also use this set for the start and end of the Lord of the Rings scenes.
In other set news, Will from Lord of the Brick reports that the list of Hobbit sets has shown up on a German toy site. The list they give is:
Mystery of the Ring 12.99 €
Fleeing from the Mirkwood Spiders 29.99 €
Attack of the Wargs 59.99 €
Bag End 79.99 €
Cave of the Orc King 99.99 €
There is no confirmation on this, but it seems pretty reasonable. I'd like to point out that this is extremely close to my predictions. My speculation had combined their 'Cave of the Orc King' and 'Attack of the Wargs' into one set and I'd also suggested two other sets for the encounter with the trolls and a long shot set of Gandalf at Dol Guldur. I'm assuming here that 'Mystery of the Ring' will essentially be a small set for the Riddles in the Dark chapter. Given the report from Comic-Con that the Bag End set will be US$60, you can make estimations of what these may cost in the US.
Okay, back to San Diego. Yesterday at Comic-Con you could pick up a
map of 'ComicCondor' and pouch at the LEGO booth.
If you traveled around to the Weta, Mondo and Warner Brothers booths you could get the elements to build a Bilbo. Note that the head is reversible. This is the same fig that will be in the official sets, so I don't know why this is called an 'exclusive' (unlike the Super Hero figs, which reportedly (sadly) will not appear in sets), except, I suppose, that Comic-Con attendees get this five months early.
In other news from Comic-Con LEGO had two great Hobbit-themed displays. As part of the LEGO booth they have huge sculptures of Gandalf and Bilbo. Also, throughout the day, attendees could help assemble a mosaic that turned out to be a LEGO-ized version of the Hobbit movie poster.
LEGO had announced that they would also preview some Lord of the Rings videos that will air on the Cartoon Network. I don't know if these are the ones that you can see on the official site or not. Be sure to go watch those, if only to see what the Nazgul look like when Frodo puts on the Ring. If the videos turn out to be something else, I'll be sure to note that here (or if they go up on YouTube I'll embed them here). We were also supposed to hear about a contest to build any scene from the Lord of the Rings to win a trip to Legoland and Warner Brothers Studios, but I haven't yet seen anything from San Diego or on the official site. Also, no images of the Bilbo model that was supposed to be raffled off yesterday.
One last bit of official news. Over on the official site they've posted a Helm's Deep game (warning - performance seems to be a little browser-dependent). You control Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli to repel the hoards of Uruk-Hai.
*I just had a horrible thought - maybe in the movie Bilbo will already have Sting before the adventure begins. That would allow Peter Jackson to avoid the admittedly problematic questions of why some random trolls have a cave full of treasure from Gondolin, and also why Gandalf and Thorin seem to have no swords of their own before beginning the journey. But on the other hand, why would a respectable Baggins have something like a sword on display, and where would he get an elf sword in the first place? That would go very much against the character development of Bilbo as he gains and later names his sword. Not to mention the fact that he runs out from Bag End with not so much as a pocket handkerchief. I'm concerned that Peter Jackson will screw up the whole conflict between Bilbo's Baggins and Tookish sides. I promise, sometime soon I'll pull out the DVDs and rewatch the whole trilogy and then go off on a whole Peter Jackson rant on this blog. Short thumbnail: in every place PJ gets the 'look' just about perfect, but he constantly belies a complete befuddlement over anything deeper than the basic aesthetics of Tolkien's work.