The news that no one in fandom wanted to hear has been confirmed: Peter Jackson’s two-film adaptation of The Hobbit has now grown another appendage and will be spread over the course of three movies. Yes, it’s a Hobbit triple-play.
It was surprising enough when the 310-page novel was split into The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, but now, with three movies (no, there was no name announced), Jackson plans to incorporate much of the reams of extra material J.R.R. Tolkien included in various appendices alluding to action that didn’t take place in the novel.
I’ll quote Jackson’s release at length after the jump…
Jackson’s statement is long and involved, and I don’t want to misrepresent any nuances, so here it is, as posted on his Facebook page…
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.”
Wow. Jackson seems to be saying that the impetus for the extra movie was when he and his collaborators realized how much footage they’d shot. It sounds to me like some judicious editing could negate the need for another flick!
I know Jackson is spinning it like it’s what’s best for the story, but c’mon… This has more than a whiff of the mercenary, doesn’t it? Another movie means more ca-ching! And, based on that, why not make it four movies? (And, just incidentally, force fans to make four trips to the box office instead of merely three…) Where does it end?
Fortunately, I think fans are savvy enough to recognize a shameless, brazen money-grab (I’m looking at you, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — parts 1 and 2!), so Jackson better really break his back to give the fans something very special, or else his loyal army of acolytes is liable to turn on him.
However, I will say this: Jackson has earned our trust. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was just as magnificent as it should have been, in every way possible. So while I am skeptical of the motivations behind this decision, I am willing to give Jackson the benefit of the doubt — and thereby enough rope to hang himself.
After all, one does not simply make a trilogy in Mordor…
ETA: This just in — two possible titles have been registered on behalf of the producers: The Hobbit: Riddles in the Dark, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Of the two, I’d have to favor the latter.