Ever since Peter Jackson signed on to direct a two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, there was question about how the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings filmmaker would split the Hobbit book into two feature-length films. That question was answered with the announcement that Jackson would use Tolkien’s extensive appendices about Middle-earth as his source for additional Hobbit movie material.

Well, apparently that appendix material really was quite extensive: during Comic-Con 2012, Jackson stated that he was thinking of making The Hobbit into a trilogy. Today, we have new information that suggests that  The Hobbit 3 is one step closer to becoming a reality.

THR reports that they have sources close to The Hobbit telling them that Jackson is indeed pushing forward with his intention to turn The Hobbit into a trilogy – a plan that would require the cast and crew to reconvene for additional shooting (which, it is speculated, would take place next summer). The report also states that “Warner Bros., Jackson, producer Fran Walsh and writer-producer Philippa Boyens” began talks after Comic-Con to see if The Hobbit 3 is a feasible endeavor; those talks are said to have accelerated recently, with the studio giving its blessing on the new addition – if a reasonable budget can be worked out.

Said one source: “If we’re going to do it, we have to make a decision soon…It’s strongly driven by the filmmakers’ desire to tell more of the story.”

There was already a fair amount of controversy amongst fans in regards to Jackson planning to stretch The Hobbit out into two films – not doubt, there will be renewed controversy when it comes to light that a trilogy is becoming a distinct possibility.

Then again, all of the Hobbit trailer footage and images we’ve seen so far has given fans chills in all the right ways; point being, it seems as though Jackson has managed to bottle his magic lightning twice. While we all have to wait and see if his 48 frames per second filming technique truly delivers an unprecendented digital 3D experience, in terms re-creating the world, characters, and intrigue of Tolkien on the screen, Jackson has seemingly hit the mark once again.

So, if The Hobbit films turn out to be as good (if not better) than Lord of the Rings, who WOULDN’T want that journey to continue? And with The Hobbit 3 it would not just continue – it would continue into unexplored territory. That would definitely be interesting to see.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in U.S. theaters on December 14th, 2012.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again opens a year later on December 13th, 2013.

We’ll keep you updated on the status of The Hobbit 3 as more information comes to light.

Source: THR