Update: Jump to the bottom for possible third film subtitles.
Confirming rumors from last week, Peter Jackson has announced that his two film adaption of J R R Tolkien’s The Hobbit will be expanding to three films.
Here’s Jacckson’s announcement from 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.”
The first two films are already scheduled for this December and December 2013. The third film will follow in the summer of 2014.
As I noted last week, this will be an enormous undertaking for Jackson and his crew and not just in terms of the additional shooting that will need to be done in order to expand the films. It is also going to involve a massive resturucturing of the story from essential a two act structure to a three act one. I have my reservations about this but given Jackson’s success at the herculean task of adapting Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings, I am inclined to trust him on this.
Update: Slash Film is reporting that recently domain names were registered by the same company that appears to be managing the website for the upcoming movie New Line Cinema that suggest that the third film’s could either be The Desolation of Smaug or Riddles in the Dark. Currently the first film is subtitled An Unexpected Journey and the second titled There And Back Again. however, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson drops the second title and names the second film Riddles In The Dark and the third The Desolation Of Smaug. This would also definitely give us a clue as to how he is restructuring the films.