Striving to contradict the rumors that production of The Hobbit is in trouble, Guillermo Del Toro went ahead and made the big announcement today.

Lord of the Rings fans had been anticipating that the lead role of Bilbo Baggins would be drawn from a short list of names, including Tobey Maguire and Martin Freeman. Some were still hoping that Ian Holm would take the role, and that special effects could make him look younger than he did in The Fellowship of the Ring. (Remember how Gandalf visits Bilbo in Fellowship and tells him, “You haven’t aged a day…”)

But today’s announcement has come as a shock to fans, and Shia Labeouf will have a tough time proving that Del Toro hasn’t made a terrible mistake.

Asked to comment, Lebeouf just shook his head in disbelief and said, “I’m as amazed as anybody else. It’s disorienting. I just keep saying, ‘What day is it?'”

In other news: I made a very big announcement on my Facebook page today.

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