Filmmaker Peter Jackson has confirmed has confirmed that “The Hobbit” will now be three films instead of two. The first installment “An Unexpected Journey” is set to be released at the end of 2012 with the second, “There and Back Again,” to come out in December 2013. There will be additional filmmaking done for the third installment, and Warner Brothers has said we can expect to see it in summer 2014.
The question is, will there be enough material for a third movie? While J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” was over 1100 pages long and divided into three books, “The Hobbit” is just one book that is 310 pages in length. Splitting it into two movies sounds needless when you take its length into account, but Jackson is convinced that a third movie can be made regardless. In an interview he had with Mike Fleming, Jackson explained how his adaptation of “The Hobbit” extends far beyond the pages of the book:
“It goes back to J.R.R. Tolkien writing ‘The Hobbit’ first, for children, and only after that did he develop his mythology much more over the 16 or 17 years later when ‘The Lord of the Rings’ came out, which is way more epic and mythic and serious. What people have to realize is we’ve adapted The Hobbit, plus taken this additional 125 pages of notes, that’s what you’d call them. Because Tolkien himself was planning the rewrite ‘The Hobbit’ after ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ to make it speak to the story of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ much more…”
“There are 125 pages of notes published at the back of ‘Return of the King’ in one of the later editions. It was called ‘The Appendices,’ and they are essentially his expanded ‘Hobbit’ notes. So we had the rights to those as well and were allowed to use them.”
Having said all that, it sounds like Jackson knows what he is doing and is not simply looking to take more money out of our wallets for no good reason. So on July 30 2012, Jackson announced on his Facebook page that the two “Hobbit” movies would now become three:
“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,” said Jackson. “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.”
The only unnerving thing about this particular development is that it continues a trend of Hollywood splitting up certain books into more than one movie. Despite a few exceptions, it tends to reek of greed and needless attempts to increase a studio’s profit margin. The last movie of the “Twilight” saga, “Breaking Dawn,” has been split into two movies with the second part coming out this fall. Lionsgate has also announced that “Mockingjay,” the final book in “The Hunger Games” series will be divided into two films as well. One has to wonder if either franchise is justified in taking this kind of action.
The producers of the “Harry Potter” movie franchise were smart to keep each book down to one movie, and they averaged around 500 to 700 pages per book. When it came to making “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” into a movie however, they said there was no way to fit everything in a single film. At first it seemed like Warner Brothers wanted to extend this box office bonanza for just a little while longer. But in the end the narrative was very thick, and it didn’t make sense to cut out too much story in its transition from the page to the silver screen. Turning it into two movies became justified, but it could have easily turned into a rip off if the filmmakers were not careful.
Basically, this trend of splitting up books into multiple movies is already overstaying its welcome, and many fear how this will make “The Hobbit” look even before the first film was released. At the same time, Peter Jackson is an exceptional filmmaker who gave us one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time with “The Lord of the Rings.” After hearing his reasons, he might just be able to find the same critical and commercial success with “The Hobbit.” Now we need to hear the reasons for the filmmakers of “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” as to why they are splitting the books and see if they are anywhere as justified as Jackson is.
The Endless Delays of ‘The Hobbit’