For their 20th birthday, Empire was given a few world exclusives including a chat with Guillermo Del Toro and Peter Jackson to discuss and confirm some details surrounding the upcoming pair of Hobbit films.

In the interview, Del Toro and Jackson confirmed that both movies will focus on the story of The Hobbit and that the second of the two would not be a “bridge” film – an idea which had been long-speculated and apparently planned prior.

Del Toro explains how the films will now be organized:

“We’ve decided to have The Hobbit span the two movies, including the White Council and the comings and goings of Gandalf to Dol Guldur.”

Jackson followed up by adding a little explanation for why the story needs to be split up amongst two feature films:

“We decided it would be a mistake to try to cram everything into one movie… The essential brief was to do The Hobbit, and it allows us to make The Hobbit in a little more style, if you like, of the [LOTR] trilogy.”

In October of last year, Del Toro revealed where they were (at the time) in writing the scripts and planning the structure of the pair of movies. At that time, he said the first of the two films would end (story-wise) around the 14th chapter of the 19-chapter novel. This meant that the second film would only have five chapters to cover and the rest could be used to tie the story into the trilogy. Del Toro explained that the idea was that after it was all said and done, all five films would flow perfectly together and that the two hobbit films would essentially be one big movie.

“We all agree that if we do our job right, it should all feel like a continuous journey. That’s what we’re striving for….You should see a movie that’s five pictures long. If we do our job right, you put in ‘The Hobbit’ and you wind up watching the entire Pentology!”

I suppose this news dampens the possibility of seeing other familiar faces from The Lord of the Rings trilogy returning. We had heard previously from Viggo Mortensen and Dominic Monaghan that there was strong interest in bringing many characters back to their famous roles for scenes in the second Hobbit movie – a movie that would be focused on bridging the gap between The Hobbit and the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring.

While excited, I’m slightly disappointed. I was really hoping to see them spend time filling in some of the 60 years between the stories and more importantly, to see many familiar faces return in some way, shape or form, to the character roles they perfected in the trilogy.

Who knows, maybe a third film can be made to act as a bridge movie? Doubtful considering story implications and how busy the two masterminds behind this project will be by then, let alone the cast.

What do you think of this news and which format do you prefer?

The first of The Hobbit films is due out in December, 2011 and the second in December, 2012.

Source: Empire