With production already completed on a large portion of "The Hobbit" films, director Peter Jackson and his wife/creative partner Fran Walsh have cast Scottish comedian Billy Connolly in the role of dwarf warrior Dain Ironfoot, a character who appears briefly in the book as well as in Appendix A of "The Lord of the Rings".

The news was broken by Deadline.

Known as "The Big Yin" by many of his fans, Connolly started his career as a folk singer/comedian in the 1960s. He has appeared in many films throughout the years including "Muppet Treasure Island", "The Impostors", "The Last Samurai" and the two "Boondock Saints" movies. He was presented with a BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Jackson resumed production on "The Hobbit" in New Zealand following a trip to Sundance last month for the premiere of "West of Memphis", an Amy Berg-directed documentary about the West Memphis Three.  

Principal photography on the pair of fantasy epics should be completely finished by the summer. The films also star Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Graham McTavish, Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is slated for release on December 14, 2012 and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" hits theaters on December 13, 2013.

Any Connolly fans out there excited by his casting? Sound off in the comments!