Well, the walls of silence have come down at least briefly. Guillermo del Toro has been talking with TotalFilm in a very candid discussion about “The Hobbit” that finally reveals some of the long-awaited details.
He confirms that Gandalf will be more prominently featured in the movies than in the book, which makes sense to me.
The monsters in “The Hobbit” will speak, as in the book, and some of them will be majestic (presumably including Smaug).
The spiders may not look like Shelob in “The Return of the King”.
He is not going to do a CGI battle the way “The Lord of the Rings”, “Narnia”, and “Troy” did them. He wants his Battle of Five Armies to stand out.
No word on what Rivendell will look like.