As Director Peter Jackson began to make the trek back to his daring version of Middle Earth, he never imagined that journey would be multi-pronged.
Yet with Warner Bros. Studios in need of a new tent pole franchise, Jackson has announced that his latest J. R. R. Tolkien romp, The Hobbit, will be grown into three cohesive films — much like his initial The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
With the help of Tolkien’s notes and various appendices, Jackson is aiming to re-shoot new material and extend the contracts of his cast and crew in order to grow the relatively short LOTR prequel to larger scale. The film, which is as of yet unnamed, will be released in the summer of 2014.
In relation to the short nature of the book itself, and with the originally planned installments set for December release dates in 2012-13, it seems that both Jackson and the studio could be spreading the tale too thin.
However, Jackson took to his Facebook page to reassure wary fans that the challenge of doing so could reap unexpected and exciting outcomes.
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.”
The news shows surprising and refreshing faith from a director who originally signed on only to move the production forward out of development hell, where it resided with the unlucky aid of director Guillermo Del Toro before it could be fully funded.
With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey less than five months away from release, only time will tell if the additional film will help or hurt the narrative in which Jackson is so zealously eager to tell.