Ever walk into a great buffet restaurant and realize that you should’ve worn your sweat pants instead of your jeans? In the classic case of more is definitely better, Peter Jackson has confirmed that adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit would be extended into a trilogy instead of the planned two-film experience. The decision came from Jackson sitting down with his creative circle and discovering they had an opportunity to tell more stories, and thus seemingly devoting his entire life to Middle Earth. Not really, but it certainly feels like it when you consider he first won the rights to film Lord of the Rings back in 1997 and Return of the King was released in 2003, all of the drama and torment getting The Hobbit made to today’s announcement.
Does anyone remember when Jackson did not want anything to do with New Line Cinema, and then was just going to oversee The Hobbit as a producer and Guillermo del Toro directing? All of that is a distant memory as Jackson embracing more responsibility in growing Tolkien’s legacy in film. The new release schedule for the three films is looking like December 14 for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, December 13, 2013 for the sequel, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, and a summer 2014 target release date for the third film.
Here’s Jackson’s official statement released 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.”
We can’t blame the powers that be for extending this franchise out. Jackson, Weta and company are the very best people to adapt Tolkien’s work and if there were 15 more stories that could be gathered from the appendices, then honestly, we’d see 15 more films. From a planning standpoint, Warner Bros. Pictures is looking for any no brain home runs it can knock out of the park with the Harry Potter franchise ending, as well as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy ending, resting the future of DC Comics film adaptations and a potential Justice League film on the success of Man of Steel. What’s that you say, Peter? You want another cash cow? [Cue in WB executives showering in dollar bills]. No, this is announcement certainly isn’t as unexpected as Bilbo Baggin’s big screen adventure, but it is certainly welcomed by many parties, including the fans.
As long as Jackson has the energy for it, and feels that the footage he has in addition to the footage he will have, gives him three strong films over two bloated ones, then sure, who are we to argue against it? Let’s just hope that the summer 2014 release date holds.