Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema put much speculation to rest today by officially naming and dating each installment of Peter Jackson's upcoming big screen adaptation of "The Hobbit."

The first installment has been christened "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and will hit theaters on Dec. 14, 2012.  The second film shall be known as "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" and will debut on Dec. 13, 2013.  

Currently, the only film set for an opening on either date is 20th Century Fox's "Life of Pi," but you can expect that Ang Lee adventure to quickly find another release window.  

Based on a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro, the beloved J.R.R. Tolkein novel will be brought to life by a stellar ensemble of actors.  Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, Martin Freeman takes over the central role of Bilbo Baggins from Ian Holm who played the hobbit in the original Oscar-winning "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.  The cast also includes ( Richard Armitage, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.

Production is currently underway in New Zealand.