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Faces & Names: Colbert the spy hosts ‘Hobbit’ panel

Stephen Colbert surprised the crowd at Comic-Con by taking the stage in costume to host a panel for Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” films. Chris Hardwick had been hosting the panel, but told the crowd he had to give way to something much better.

The crowd quickly turned from disappointed to ecstatic, as Colbert appeared first in video form and then on-stage dressed as a lake-town spy, the same role he has for his cameo in the film.

“I cant believe I get to do this,” Colbert said in the video, before taking the stage. Colbert is an ardent fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, and introduced the panel by making jokes about his own geekdom and the excess of Jackson’s work.

“Rumor came to us that director Peter Jackson would be making an adaptation of the trilogy, and at the time many of us knew him for adaptation of ‘Heavenly Creatures,’ ” Colbert said.

“The only problem as I saw it, with a total running time of 11½ hours, they were too damn short.”