Hobbit stars past and present were reunited on the green carpet for the world premiere of the final film, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies.
Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Richard Armitage and Evangeline Lilly joined some of the Lord Of The Rings cast such as Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom and Andy Serkis in London’s Leicester Square to celebrate the third and last instalment of The Hobbit trilogy.
Thousands of fans, including some who had camped outside for five days, gathered to catch a glimpse of the stars at the premiere which was streamed live to over 160 countries.
The film, which stars Freeman as hobbit Bilbo Baggins alongside Sir Ian reprising his role as Gandalf the Grey, is the culmination of Sir Peter Jackson’s 14-year adventure in Middle Earth.
Sir Peter, 53, who finished editing the movie a week ago, said it was “emotional” saying goodbye to the cast but admitted the full impact has yet to hit him.
“I have a lot of memories (of these films) although the Lord Of The Rings are a fog now,” the New Zealand film-maker said.
“Saying goodbye to the cast was like this agonising long torture over 10 weeks. But on Sir Ian’s, I thought, ’He’s never going to wear that Gandalf cape and staff again’ and that was hard. To me, it wasn’t goodbye until then.
“But the real emotions will hit me in days to come,” he added, joking: “It’s all downhill from here. My career that is!”
Both Sir Peter and Freeman paid tribute to the franchise’s strong fan base with the director telling the crowds: “We hope you enjoy this film. We make it for you, for the fans and the people who enjoy these movies so I hope you like this one.”
Freeman, 43, added: “The reason I’m not sad is because we are handing it over to the audience and sharing it with you. You’re the best fans in the world - you’re loyal and mad – so thank you so much.”
Sherlock star Freeman revealed he wasn't feeling too sad over the franchise's end.
“This is nice. It has to end so why not enjoy the end? I really enjoy things ending actually because if we went on and on and on you’d soon hate us,” he said. “What a way to go out. It’s fantastic.”
His co-star Armitage, who plays dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield, agreed, saying: “It’s the most amazing feeling to be here when you step out of the car and the crowd erupt because they love your character. Tonight is going to be a party, a big celebration.”
Cumberbatch, who portrays Smaug the dragon and Sauron, said leaving a legacy with his dual role is “amazing”:
He added: “They’re two iconic baddies and they serve more than just stories. To get to play them on this kind of scale is just dreamy, it’s just amazing.”
The 32-year-old actor added: “Peter’s body of work is exceptional so to be part of that as well is very special.”
Other stars who attended the film’s premiere included Stephen Fry, James Nesbitt and Billy Boyd.
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies opens in cinemas on December 12.