A few weeks back there were some reports out of San Diego Comic Con that Peter Jackson was considering expanding his two-part adaption of J R R Tolkien’s The Hobbit with an additional movie. Knowing that he already was pulling from Tolkien-penned supplemental material to pad out the adaption to a full two features and with principal photography wrapped, I didn’t see how the project could be expanded out by another 2 hours or so.
Well, it turns out that Jackson has apparently worked out a way to do so and is currently exploring the real world problems needed to be surmounted in order to make it happen. According to the Hollywood Reporter –
Sources say that studio Warner Bros., Jackson, producer Fran Walsh and writer-producer Philippa Boyens began exploring the logistics of what it would take to make another movie. Those talks are said to have accelerated in recent days, with the studio on board if the right financial arrangements can be achieved. That includes securing new actor deals for the expansive cast as well as shoring up certain rights associated with the property (The Hobbit has a long a tortured rights history.)
If this goes forward, it will certainly launch a lot of questions. Primarily, how will the story material be broken up to accommodate a third film? Will all the new material form a movie that functions somewhat separate from The Hobbit and serves to bridge the Hobbit films with Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy? It was an idea that Jackson had mooted before in the development phase of the films, though he eventually discarded it.
More likely, he’ll use the new material to pad out the story as it currently exists. This of course would necessitate a restructuring of the current two films, which could cause problems. Currently, the common assumption is that the break between the two films will be at the dwarves escape via barrel from the elves. I am not sure where there are two good places to break the story that would make cinematic sense.
And compared to The Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit is a fairly thin story and it was the addition of supplemental material that really helped grow the project out to two feature films. How much more material is there left to expand things to a third film? We’ll see.
The first installment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is set for release on Dec. 14. The second film, There and Back Again, is set to hit theaters on Dec. 13, 2013. December 2014 would be the presumable date for this possible third film.