A host of hobbits, goblins and warriors dropped in on the San Diego Comic Convention today to premiere three minutes of a 12-minute preview of the third and final Lord of the Rings movie “The Return of the King”. The full 12-minute sneak peek will be featured on the August 26 release of “The Two Towers” DVD. Prior to the preview, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, Dominic Monaghan and others fielded questions from the crowd, then introduced a special taped message from Ian McKellen, Peter Jackson and Billy Boyd who are still in New Zealand filming pick-ups for the new film due in December. The trio expressed their regrets for not being at the Con, then introduced the new footage.

The footage begins where Two Towers ends. Gandalf telling the heroes that the battle for Helm’s Deep was over, but the battle for Middle-earth has just begun. Flash to Peter Jackson in the editing room discussing the battle that will take place on Pellenor Fields. Cut to several battle shots involving men on horses and orcs. Jackson then refers to Helm’s Deep as an ‘opening skirmish’ when compared to the battles on Pellenor. The last shot is one of Pippen and Gandalf. Pippen asks, “Is there much hope for Frodo and Sam?” Gandalf answers: “There was never much hope. Just a fool’s hope.”

Elijah told the crowd that Frodo goes through a quite a change during the course of ROTK. He described it as a complete deterioration of himself to the point where he really is no longer Frodo. Elijah added that the third film is ‘better than Fellowship and Two Towers combined.’

We’ll all get our chance to judge this December. —source: Blake Wright

Here are various descriptions of the event from around the net. There are spoilers!

Coming Soon! Comic Con: Return of the King Preview

Shirebound’s LiveJournal: Comic Con: Hobbits in Person!

Ian Smith’s Web Logs: Comic Con: Lord of the Rings

Bag End Inn: Comic Con Pictures