Comic-ConIt is official, has been officially invited to present a panel at the 2009 edition of Comic-Con in San Diego on its first day of programming on Thursday, July 23 at 10:30 a.m. in room 7AB. That great news gets even better because we can announce that Weta’s own Richard Taylor is very likely to join in!

The official announcement (found on Thursday’s programming page), says the following: The Hobbit— With Middle-earth returning to the big screen in December 2011, will take you behind the scenes of the latest news, announcements, and rumors pertaining to the Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro production of The Hobbit. Chris Pirrotta, Larry Curtis, Cliff Broadway, and others from crew offer this early look at making The Hobbit happen! Room 7AB.

But the folks at Weta were eager to speak to fans as well and Taylor accepted the invitation from TORn to come and speak to fans. While the head of one of the best special effects houses in the world will have plenty to say, he will not be able to join the TORn staff while we speculate about “The Hobbit.” He will however update us on what Weta has been up to, including realms not in Middle-earth.

Last year’s TORn panel turned away, by modest estimates, over 400 people and one disgruntled fan was so angry he was taken away by police officers, so get there early TORn readers.

Expect regular updates here before now and the start of Comic-Con about where to buy the exclusive shirts, what other LOTR and Hobbit-related people and events will be on hand and check back during the week of one of the biggest pop-culture events in the world for regular updates.