Confirmed: The Hobbit will be a trilogy
Veteran genre director Peter Jackson has officially confirmed that The Hobbit is being re-cut as a trilogy rather than the originally planned dilogy.
Filming has already completed on what was to be two films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, the classic novel which kicks off the events of The Lord of the Rings. Jackson had made the call early on that, meaning, he would retell the story the way Tolkien subsequently imagined it while he was writing The Lord of The Rings. During this time Tolkien compiled dozens of pages of notes about what was going on during the time of The Hobbit, which the audience did not see (because Tolkien had not yet invented it), making The Hobbit into a sort of retroactive prequel, if you consider the notes part of the story.
So, the films were written and shot with all these additional scenes based on the notes, and now that they're done, there is enough material for three films.
As you may recall, rumors have been floating around since Comic-Con San Diego about the possibility of a Hobbit trilogy, but no one would confirm the claims. Indeed, at one point, Jackson himself insisted there were "no plans" to split the films up further.
Now, however, it's been officially confirmed.
"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 [writer] Fran [Walsh], [writer] Phil [Boyens] 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," Jackson explaind in a press release.
"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."
He followed this with the simple announcement that "two films will become three."
The titles and release dates have not changed for the first two films - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on December 14, 2012 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again on December 13, 2013. A rough date has been set for the third (Summer 2014), but a title has yet to be announced.