"We could not think of a more fitting actor to play Dain Ironfoot, the staunchest and toughest of Dwarves, than Billy Connolly, the Big Yin himself," Jackson said in a statement issued to The Hollywood Reporter. "With Billy stepping into this role, the cast of 'The Hobbit' is now complete. We can't wait to see him on the battlefield!"
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is set for release Dec. 14, while "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" will open in theaters Dec. 13, 2013.
The movies are prequels to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which also were directed by Jackson and were based on fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien.