Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey finally held its highly anticipated New York City premiere Thursday night, where its stars reflected on the differences between the new film and the critically acclaimed The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as what it was like returning to the world of the intense franchise.
"I had so much fun. It's a much lighter and more comedic film than The Lord of the Rings because The Hobbit was written by [J.R.R.] Tolkien 20 years earlier and [it's] more of a children's story," Jackson told ET. "So, for me it was great to go back to Middle-earth and have a new tone and a new take on a great story."
According to Sir Ian McKellen, who reprised his Screen Actors Guild award-winning role as Gandalf the Grey, shooting The Hobbit felt like "going home."
"[It was] more of the same -- like going home after the holidays, the vacation -- and it even feels like home. It feels like Middle-earth, so you know, I really had a good time," he smiled.
And what's the big difference between shooting The Lord of the Rings almost a decade ago and shooting The Hobbit now?
"Probably that there are more openly gay members of the cast than there were when I was playing Gandalf way back," he said. "Another is that Peter Jackson now wears shoes when he's directing -- he didn't used to -- and the technology, the brilliant shooters they have now."
"It's fantastic, we really had a great time -- really amazing," added Andy Serkis, the voice of Gollum. "Brand-new bunch of really exciting characters. … I reprised the role of Gollum, got to direct the second unit, what's not to like?"
Check out the video to hear about Elijah Wood's experience returning to the New Zealand set, how Martin Freeman (who plays Bilbo Baggins) felt stepping into such an iconic role and The Lord of the Rings super-fans Josh Elliott and Sam Champion on the book's importance to them growing up --plus, an update on their Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts' health.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters December 14.