There are so many classic examples of film and literature that involve threes:. Three stooges, three wise men, three blind mice, three breasts on that prostitute on Mars. Peter Jackson already has his own “three” with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and clearly he has no intention of upsetting the Karma gods now.
After weeks of whispers on the net, Jackson has finally made it official: There will be a third Hobbit film. Now to just choose a name!
For those of you who don’t recall, the rumblings began at Comic-Con when Jackson indicated that there was so much material – either in The Hobbit novel itself or in the myriad appendices Tolkien created for it – which they never got to do in either The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey or The Hobbit: There and Back Again, that he would ask Warner Bros to allow him some more filming time to shoot them. At the time, it was uncertain just how much extra time Warner Bros would allow him, and whether this could just be for an Extended Edition of the planned two films, similarly to what he did with the LOTR trilogy.
Well, turns out that it was a lot more than just some extra scenes, as Jackson revealed 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.”
And here’s a snippet from the official press release also confirming Jackson’s announcement:
Peter Jackson will make a third film in his upcoming adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, it was jointly announced today by Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Operating Officer, New Line Cinema, Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officers, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.
Emmerich stated, “We completely support Peter and his vision for bringing this grand adventure to the screen over the course of three films. Peter, Fran and Philippa’s reverence for the material and understanding of these characters ensure an exciting and expanded journey that is bound to please fans around the world.”
“With the abundance of rich material, we fully endorse the decision to further develop what Peter, Fran and Philippa have already begun. We are confident that, with the great care the filmmakers have taken to faithfully bring this journey to the screen, the film will be welcomed by the legions of fans across the globe,” said Barber and Birnbaum.
Robinov added, “Peter, Fran and Philippa have lived in this world and understand more than anyone its tremendous breadth and scope, and the relationships that bind it together. We strongly support their vision to bring this great work fully to life.”
The first film in the trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” will be released December 14, 2012, with the second film releasing on December 13, 2013, and the third film slated for summer 2014. All three films will be released in 3D and 2D in select theatres and IMAX.
I’m quite happy with this news, especially the fact that we wouldn’t have that long to wait for an additional movie. And as somebody who has read some of Tolkien’s accompanying texts, like The Silmarillion (not a task for the faint of heart, or short of patience, I tell you) I know just how much additional story there is to tell that may not have been in the pages of The Hobbit itself. My only concern is that Jackson introduces too much story, dragging the focus away from the central quest itself.
As a hint of what that extra story may entail, Fusible have uncovered a couple of domain name registrations made by WB in the last few weeks, and they all seem to hint at two possible titles for the third film: The Desolation of Smaug and Riddles in the Dark.
The latter refers to a memorable encounter between Bilbo Baggins and Gollum, but since it should occur in the first film already, that may not be such a good fit. The Desolation of Smaug sits much more comfortably though, referring to the path of destruction left behind by Smaug, the dragon that Bilbo has set out to slay. It fits in nicely thematically and narrative-wise, so my money is on that one.
The only problem now, is that the title for the second film, There and Back Again, suddenly doesn’t make much sense, as Bilbo won’t be coming back till at least close to the end of the third film. Note how in the press release WB has not referred to the film’s title in any way, but rather just as “the second film”? Could it be that it’s actually film no.2 getting the new title, and that the final installment will now wear the moniker of There and Back Again?
Either way, I’ve already begun a strenuous regime of butt-cheek hardening exercises, for when I eventually do that inevitable 6 movie, 24 hour long LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies marathon.
Last Updated: July 31, 2012