Last week, reports surfaced that Peter Jackson was in serious talks with Warner Bros. to expand his two-part film, “The Hobbit,” into a trilogy. Warner Bros. had to deal with financial obligations and contract extensions before agreeing to the third installment.
But today, it looks like Warner Bros. is making another journey to Middle Earth, and they will bring the rest of the world along during the summer of 2014.
Peter Jackson announced his intentions on his Facebook page earlier Monday morning, saying:
It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made. Recently Fran, Phil and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first movie – and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.’
We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of “The Hobbit” films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three.
It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, “a tale that grew in the telling.”
Tolkien fans are both excited and nervous about the upcoming films. “The Hobbit” is significantly shorter and less dense than “Lord of the Rings,” the original trilogy. But Jackson has assured fans that he plans to use material from the appendices and Tolkien’s notes, to give the films more depth and a wider scope.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is due in theaters December 14, while the second installment, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” will arrive December 13, 2013. No word is out yet on the name of the finale.