So the first set report from the Hobbit is here — and it’s from on location in Hobbiton (well, Matamata). If, like me, you want to know what the obscure (and not so obscure) hints mean for the script, this is the place for you.

If not, best go elsewhere — we’re about to delve headlong into SPOILER country!

So, start to get interesting when Quint starts talking about running into Elijah Wood on set.

Munching on jellied toast, Frodo Baggins sauntered out and hopped down the steps leading to the mailbox, grabbed some mail and headed back inside… I don’t want to spoil too much, but I can say that Frodo is part of the connecting tissue between The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring.

Now, we already knew that Wood was returning for The Hobbit. The following two snippets is where the gears started turning in my head.

…the next shot was an over the shoulder on Elijah Wood hammering a sign up on Bag End’s front gate: “No Admittance Except On Party Business.”

So we’re at the Long Expected Party, and Frodo is trying to keep all Bilbo’s unwelcome visitors at bay. So far, so easy. And then:

Their conversation is about Gandalf and if Bilbo thinks Gandalf will show up. Bilbo says “He wouldn’t miss a chance to let off his whiz-poppers. He’ll put on quite a show, you’ll see,” and Frodo grins, saying he’s going to go surprise him and bounds off down the path like a kid at Christmas.

Seems to be a prelude scene that leads up to the one in Fellowship with Frodo waiting for Gandalf to arrive in his cart full of fireworks.

How is this being used, though?

It’s my understanding this shot will transition to “60 Years Earlier” with Young Bilbo sitting in front of Bag End contently smoking a pipe and casually blowing smoke rings as Gandalf comes along and presents him with his adventure.

The Rings tie-in and the fact the link is occurring from the Long-expected Party back to An Unexpected Party is quite a neat piece of synchronicity. Thinking about this transition — and how it might work — triggered a very specific memory from Fellowship of the Rings.

It’s that initial scene where Ian Holm is sitting at his drawing table and making the front cover of his book. He writes “There and back again, A Hobbit’s tale, by Bilbo Baggins. By Bilbo Baggins.”

That’s the title of the second Hobbit film, not the first… but still pretty neat.

Now, all us massive Tolkien nerds (what do you mean you’re not one?) know that Bilbo had begun but not finished his book (how else could have Merry snuck a peek at it) at the time he left for Rivendell.

Still, I reckon that the transition will occur through that drawing of the title page.

Because in Fellowship, Holm’s very next line is “And now, where to begin?”

And I bet the answer will be perhaps the most important line ever written in fantasy: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

And then we’ll transition back 60 years…

What do you reckon? Share your thoughts and speculations on our message boards or visit our Hobbit chat!