Third Hobbit confirmed. What now?
Peter Jackson has confirmed his earlier suggestions that The Hobbit would be made into three films instead of two, surprising considering that both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again have both been filmed and are in post-production. Mind you An Unexpected Journey is due for release this December with There and Back Again not due until December 2013.
The plan is unclear but release dates appear to be unchanged for the first two films and when the first is released we should find out that writing will begin again, more filming completed, and the second film edited to include a lot of this new footage where upon work will commence on the third film.
It does seem strange that one book which is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings series (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) could be split into three films when each of the three Lord of the Rings books themselves made one film each. You would think that in the three Lord of the Rings books there was material galore that was left to the side and yet so much is being squeezed out of The Hobbit (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com).
According to Peter Jackson's previous comments when he was discussing his hopes of expanding The Hobbit into three films instead of two, before the studio agreed, he revealed that it wasn't just The Hobbit book itself that they were looking into but the appendices and over a hundred pages of notes expanding the story from The Hobbit which were published with the Return of the King novel. There's a lot of information there which fills in gaps in The Hobbit story which Jackson says are darker than a lot of the rest of the tale, his hope was to carry out more than a few weeks of filming to add these sections into the second and third film.
Speaking about the announcement on his own Facebook page through The Guardian Peter Jackson said that he was delighted New line, MGM and Warner Bros. have all agreed to allow the additional filming and the third film:
"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...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."
So those are some of the key areas we will see added, and considering the additional material that there is over and above The Hobbit novel itself then perhaps this is a good thing, but who would have thought that it would have stretched to three films? Does this mean that if the studios had put enough faith in him with Lord of the Rings that might have seen five or six films from the three works? Perhaps not, after all they are more complete in themselves than The Hobbit appears to have been.
The good news is that there's more to come from The Hobbit, but it does seem a tight timeline to get the second film made into two as the original December 2013 release stands with an additional summer 2014 release date for the third. Jackson does have his work cut out.
I do hope it all works out, but it does leave just a pang of regret for The Lord of the Rings. Could there have been more films in there, and if there could have been does it mean there should have been? I guess we'll see with the quality of the three Hobbit films.