There had been rumors that Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, which had already been split into two separate movies, might even become a trilogy. We even asked Peter Jackson all about it in our exclusive Comic Con 2012 interview this year. But nothing was official… until now. Jackson has announced on Facebook that The Hobbit is taking what he calls "an unexpected journey."
"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," says Peter Jackson. "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.'"
The news is a little surprising, despite the rumors, since The Hobbit is actually the shortest of all the books in the Lord of the Rings cycle, and yet will now take as much screen time – unless the Hobbit movies are very, very short – as the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy proper. Granted, Jackson always had to cut something out of the lengthy tomes, but the adaptations were still critically-acclaimed, even winning Jackson and his co-writers Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens an Oscar for their screenplay for The Return of the King. The storyline of The Hobbit is also comparatively straightforward, leaving many to believe that the book could successfully be adapted into a single, albeit lengthy, epic motion picture.
Peter Jackson claims otherwise, stating, "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."
We expect extended reshoots, like those used to expand upon the intial production of The Lord of the Rings, to be announced fairly shortly. The first film in the prequel trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opens in theaters December 14 of this year. The second, and formally final film in the saga, The Hobbit: There and Back Again was scheduled for December 13, 2013, and may still hit that date, although we may learn that it will receive a new title, since as the middle part of the Hobbit trilogy, it's unlikely that Bilbo's just going to go "back again" in the climax.
CraveOnline will be back with more The Hobbit news because the greatest adventure… is what lies ahead.