LOS ANGELES, June 12 (UPI) -- More than 1.6 million people have viewed the trailer for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" since Hollywood's Warner Bros. studio posted it online Tuesday.
The film is the second installment in writer-director Peter Jackson's three-movie "Lord of the Rings" prequel series.
The 2 minute, 9-second-long "Smaug" trailer shows the return of Ian McKellen, who starred as wizard Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and last year's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," as well as McKellen's "Hobbit" co-stars Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage as, respectively, hobbit Biblo and dwarf king Thorin. The preview clip also shows an appearance by Orlando Bloom's "Lord of the Rings" archer Legolas and the introduction of "Lost" star Evangeline Lilly's elf character.
Smaug is the name of the giant, red, treasure-guarding dragon the heroes will encounter in the next "Hobbit" movie. Benedict Cumberbatch, Freeman's co-star on the TV series "Sherlock," lends his voice to the fire-breathing monster, which has a cameo at the end of the trailer.
The film is set for release Dec. 13.