Empire Magazine is about to unveil their "ultimate issue" centering on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, where director Peter Jackson reveals the runtime is currently set for two hours and 40 minutes. The publication also revealed five special covers for the issue, featuring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis' Gollum, Cate Blanchett, and Richard Armitage. Take a look at these magazine covers, then read on for more details straight from Peter Jackson.

<em>The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey</em> Martin Freeman Empire Cover

<em>The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey</em> Ian McKellan Empire Cover

<em>The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey</em> Gollum Empire Cover

<em>The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey</em> Cate Blanchett Empire Cover

<em>The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey</em> Richard Armitage Empire Cover

Back in July, Warner Bros. confirmed that this Middle Earth adventure will be expanded into a trilogy, instead of the original two-part adaptation that was planned. Many wondered how this would affect the runtime, although the director revealed it will be just a bit shorter than The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.

"It's looking like it's going to be about ten minutes shorter than Fellowship was. So it's going to be officially our shortest Middle-earth yet. I mean, Fellowship was just under three hours and this is about 2 hours 40 minutes at the moment."

The filmmaker also added that the final credits have not been added and there are still a few effects shots left to be finished.