So Peter Jackson finally wrapped up The Hobbit after a 266 day shoot, and took a triumphant victory lap at Comic-Con, where he was welcomed like the geek god he is.
Now as we all know, the first part of the Hobbit is slated to hit theaters on December 14, while part two will go live on December 13, 2013.
However, there may be one more release date in the future because The Hobbit might become a three-parter. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news first, and indeed Peter Jackson is thinking about shooting more footage next summer back in his native New Zealand. Jackson first mentioned the idea of shooting additional scenes at Comic Con, but now he's apparently talking with his peeps about actually following through.
As Kim Masters writes, "talks have accelerated in recent days," and if the new material can be done for the right price, it could soon be a go. New deals will have to be made for the actors, and there's also rights issues that have to be worked out again if there's going to be a third installment. And if there's going to be a third film, the decision's got to be made quick as well.
Deadline chimed in on all this, with reporter Mike Fleming, being a big fan of Tolkien, having his doubts. "As a LOTR fan, I'm concerned. I read The Hobbit numerous times and I don't think that Bilbo Baggins has three films in him."
As Fleming continues, "When I spoke with Peter in San Diego, he was very excited about the 125 pages of notes in an appendices that Tolkien wrote and included in Return of the King," and apparently this may now be worked into The Hobbit.
Those notes were meant to be incorporated into The Hobbit, and it could be interesting to see another Tolkien epic the way the author originally intended it, but there's also the cynical concern that it could all be a big cash grab.
Again, a decision's got to be made soon if all of this goes forward or not, and it could also make a really fascinating DVD/BluRay extra to have the notes like the pages of a script you can keep referring back to.