At one point during the photo shoot for this week’s triple-cover Entertainment Weekly issue, which took place about a month ago, Stephen Colbert stepped through the doorway of a Manhattan studio. In full Gandalf costume and makeup, with a megaphone in hand, he tried to get the attention of folks streaming across the nearby High Line. “You shall not pass!” he exclaimed. ” Excuse me, excuse me… You, on the bridge. Read the sign. You shall not pass.”
For super fans of The Hobbit, the mission this week is clear. Starting Wednesday at newsstands in New York, LA, other major cities and airports, and by Friday in the rest of the country, three copies of the same EW issue can and must be purchased. (They are also available online.) Colbert revealed his Hobbit EW handiwork on Tuesday night’s Colbert Report. The fact that these covers, together with a cover story and interview of Peter Jackson both done by Colbert, are coming down the pike as his Comedy Central program wraps up only adds to the collector’s edition context.