The two quotes that I am most excited about are the following:
Del Toro: We've decided to have the Hobbit span the two movies, including the
White Council and the comings and goings of Gandalf to Dol Guldur.
Jackson: We're developing a lot more character and personality in the villain side of the story, too. We are having to deal with Sauron a little bit more specifically in this; how exactly he manifests himself and what form he's in, and how that is ultimately going to lead into what he becomes in the trilogy - and what he has been in the ancient past. That is something we are absolutely dealing with, much more so than what's in the book.
I'm glad that GDT and Jackson have confirmed that THE HOBBIT will include not only Bilbo's journey, but Gandalf's as well. For a good portion of the book, Gandalf is out of the picture, investigating disturbing events in Dol Guldor. This is Sauron's first attempt at manifesting himself as the Necromancer.
Sauron has a very complex backstory. Telling Sauron's history and exposing his intimate threat will be a great sideplot. The details of the backstory are familiar to die-hard Tolkien fans - they are spelled out in THE SILMARILLION.
I am more excited about this part of the story even moreso than the prospect of seeing Smaug onscreen for the first time - I think the theatrical potential is rich. The Middle Earth story elevates to a cosmic level when we start to learn about Sauron and the origin of the White Council.
Its not LOVECRAFT cosmic (that wouldn't be appropriate), but Sauron's story certainly is on the same level as the spiritual works by Milton or William Blake. I can only hope that GDT, Jackson and the rest of the writing team take the opportunity to tap into the celestial elements of Tolkien's mythology.