‘The Hobbit’ Cast Talk ‘There and Back Again’; Jackson Reveals Original Two-Movie Plan

Published 1 year ago by

[Warning: Spoilers for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ahead!]

Now that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has hit theaters, Peter Jackson has one film left before he’s finished with Middle-earth (ostensibly) for good; that would be There and Back Again, the capstone of the trilogy where all of the events we’ve witnessed across the preceding entries (beginning with 2012′s An Unexpected Journey) will come to a head. But wherever you fall on the franchise to date – love it, hate it, or something in between – two big questions hang over it: what can we expect from the third movie, and what would the series have looked like in a two-picture format?

If these queries haunt you, then you’re in luck: Jackson, as well as his cast, have answers to both of them. In the above Yahoo! Movies clip, Jackson and his immense (and immensely talented) troupe of actors each weigh in on the shape and tone of There and Back Again, well in advance of the film’s premiere next Winter (contrary to its original July 2014 opening date). The shortened version of their combined thoughts on the movie is that it’s going to be, well, big, and certainly the most emotional of the three; if you saw The Desolation of Smaug, then you should – in the words of Luke Evans – get an idea of the “enormity” of what’s coming up next.

The most telling testimony of the bunch (which includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Martin Freeman, and Richard Armitage), though, comes from Jackson himself, who hits the nail quite bluntly on the head: There and Back Again is going to be filled with action. That should be immediately apparent even to people who haven’t read J.R.R. Tolkien’s original novel, which ends with a massive clash between Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Goblins on the footsteps of the Lonely Mountain; The Desolation of Smaug sets up that conflict and more in its final moments before leaving its audience on a cliffhanger note.

We know that a wrathful Smaug is headed toward Lake-town with vengeance in mind, and also that an army of Orcs is on the move out of Dol Guldur as Gandalf watches helplessly, caged in a tower. So, perhaps, it goes without saying that There and Back Again should be an absolute smorgasbord of big-scale action. What may be less obvious is how Jackson intended on fitting all of this material into two films, as originally planned, before turning his duo into a trio; when was the decision made to stretch the text into a third installment, and where would Jackson have split the story if he’d kept it as a two-parter?  the hobbit desolation smaug bilbo thorin The Hobbit Cast Talk There and Back Again; Jackson Reveals Original Two Movie Plan

The answers to both questions might surprise you; speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Jackson quite happily divulged the truth behind the trilogy’s inception, and also pinpointed exactly where An Unexpected Journey would have ended had The Hobbit been cut in half instead of thirds. As it turns out, the decision to turn the project into a trilogy came from him and his screenwriting compatriots, Fran Walsh and Philipa Boyens; as for the location of the split, well, just have a look at the quote below:

The split was going to occur where Bard [Luke Evans] appears on the river bank as a silhouetted figure with a bow. So the whole barrel sequence was going to be the climax.

That’s an interesting thought: given where that scene takes place in The Desolation of Smaug, bringing An Unexpected Journey up to that point would have resulted in an enormous theatrical cut. That said, it’s very possible that, kept to just a pair of movies, Jackson could have cut down on a lot of the arguably extraneous content in An Unexpected Journey to bring it in line from 4 plus hours of footage to a more acceptable two and a half (thereabouts) hours, but that kind of editing would have resulted in a very different set of movies than the ones we’ve actually gotten.

Which just raises the question of whether Jackson was right to expand The Hobbit this way at all. For the diehard Tolkien fans, there’s no question at all, of course, and whether we like it or not, There and Back Again is coming in less than 365 days, but it’s still a thought well worth pondering.

Where do you stand, Screen Ranters? Did Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens make the right move, or would The Hobbit have been better-served kept as two pictures?


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is now playing in theaters.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again arrives in theaters on December 17th, 2014.

Sources: Yahoo! Movies, Entertainment Weekly

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. I’m fine with it being stretched into 3 movies, because there’s more than enough big set pieces for each, but so far the way they have adapted the movie and the things they have decided to prolong and focus on (favoring epic action sequences over intimate character moments) have really disappointed me. It’s like someone drank half my whiskey and filled it back up with water and presents it to me all like “look, there’s more there than when I started drinking!”

    • I’ve got to agree… there’s things I really like, but I find the replay value being pretty nil. I wind up skipping huge chunks of the movie.

    • I agree, they’re all spectacle with little substance to invest the audience. When I watched An Unexpected Journey, I kept wanting the story to slow down for a minute or two to actually develop the characters.

    • Interesting, because I thought most of the extended sequences in An Unexpected Journey were the intimate character moments. The entire dinner sequence at Bag End was pretty complete and at no point did I feel like they rushed through it to get to the next action set piece. Nearly an entire hour transpires before they even reach the three trolls. And the “Riddles in the Dark” scene played out almost identical to the book showcasing a fantastic moment between Bilbo and Gollum.

      Granted, the action sequences were grand and often over the top, but I never felt as if they overpowered the small moments.

      • Unexpected Journey was better in that regard, but even so, PJ has this tendency to turn everything possible into a chase scene. He created a character out of thin air for the sole purpose of chasing the Dwarves and Bilbo from the Shire to Rivendell. He did the same thing with the barrel scene in Desolation of Smaug (I didn’t mind most of the barrels, it just got absurd after about 15 minutes).

        The Unexpected Party, Riddles in the Dark, and Bilbo vs Smaug are the best executed scenes so far.

        • At first I didn’t like Azog, either, but in retrospect, every party of orcs needs a leader. It has been consistent in every film, and it gives a reason for the chase that occurs in the book. I am liking these movies, but I still think the first trilogy was better. I must, however, see There and Back Again to make a final judgment.

          • When I read the books I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings much more than the Hobbit. It was just not as entertaining. I think the Hobbit movie series is a good series in my personal opinion because I think the action sequences and character development is well balanced. I think that the added material adds to the series and turns it even more into a prequel, but the Lord of the Rings is indeffinantly going to be better in my opinion.

        • If by made up you mean he wasnt in the actual hobbit book, then yes. But Azog is in the appendices and the whole back story of him killing thorin’s father/grandfather (i dont remember which one) is in the appendices too. So PJ didnt entirely invent the character just placed him in the story instead of those events happening off page. As a side note I thought Azog looked much better this time around than Unexpected Journey. I just hated all the CGI in that movie but I was happy that they went back to more practical orcs and effects and blended in the CGI better. I didnt like the Goblin town goblins at all

          • Azog dies long before the Hobbit happens per appendices, so yeah, a similar character with that name existed, but the point is the Dwarves were not hunted all the way to the Misty Mountain. PJ turns everything into a chase scene. He does this with just about every movie.

            • “He does this with just about every movie.”

              “Every movie”? Really? Which chase scene did he put into “The Fellowship of the Ring”, and was it a bad scene? Which chase scene did he put into “The Two Towers”, and was it a bad scene? And which chase scene did he put into “The Return of the King”, and was it a bad scene?

              • Well, Fellowship has the multiple scenes with the Nazgul chasing Frodo and co, as well as the Uruk-Hai chasing them after Lothlorien. Then, Two Towers has the Wargs chase scene, and Merry and Pippin being chased by that one Orc. Return of the King has the Shelob chase scene and the scene when Faramir is chased by the Nazgul. Those were all good scenes, but I thought I’d just point those out…

      • Thanks for the thoughts. I’ll agree with you to a point: I thought the first third of AUJ was intimate and well done (with the notable exception of Sylvester McCoy’s cartoon character). Once they get to Rivendell, though, the only legitimately interesting scenes are Riddles in the Dark, the White Council (for the future events it foreshadows) and the Moon Runes. I’m all for a good action sequence, but I didn’t see one in this film aside from the Dwarves’ battle against the orcs at the gate of Moria and the climax (and even that had its problems). The rest were tensionless CGI-fests filled with stunts impossible even in Middle-Earth.

        We got to know Bilbo and Thorin well enough, but the rest of the Company were flat at best. AUJ’s considerable running time could have been better spent investing us in this group of 13 dwarves, a wizard and a hobbit than by failing to wow us with the spectacle of a bunny sled chase or a preposterous run through goblin town. Thorin tells Balin he would “take each and every one of these dwarves over an army from the Iron Hills” and so far, other than the fact they showed up, I have no idea why.

  2. The more Middle-Earth the better.

    • I agree! And considering how much money these films are making, plenty of other people agree as well! These are truly epic movies, along with LOTR.

  3. Could someone point me in the right direction here? Haven’t read the books, but if I remember the first LOTR correctly, Gandalf found out for the first time then that Sauron might be on the rise and didn’t act as if this was knowledge he already had from his time with Bilbo on this particular adventure. So where does introducing Sauron and his eye (or his silhouette, haha) in The Hobbit stand? The way Sauron has come forth in front of Gandalf, the latter’s behavior in the first LOTR upon seeing the ring would feel very odd.

    Unless that was a separate revelation he had because he actually saw a ring this time, something he didn’t when he was with Bilbo all those years ago?

    • In the book, Gandalf never really encountered Sauron and the One Ring, so I don’t really know where Peter Jackson is going with this. But what I can deduce is that, 50 years later in Fellowship, when Gandalf discovers that the ring has been found, that’s the only time his encounter with Sauron in this movie will make sense to him. For all he know, Sauron’s spirit has just been summoned by the Necromancer back from the dead, but then it turns out there’s no Necromancer and it is Sauron’s spirit who can’t form physically lurking in Dol Guldur, already preparing for an eventual war. He doesn’t know about any magic ring or that Bilbo has it. Remember he researched for it? I think?

      • Yes, he did research it, it’s why he then sends Frodo to Bree so they can take the ring onwards to the elves from there. What happens is that when he tries to touch the ring he sees Sauron’s eye for a second before pulling back, which causes him to research about the rings and find out it belongs to Sauron. But since Gandalf already proclaimed it’s Sauron in The Hobbit: DoS, I’d still think his behavior in the first LOTR would not exactly match his experiences in the Hobbit, experiences Jackson has added of his own accord, haha.

        P.S: Did love how the scene with Sauron and Gandalf was done in the movie though.

      • I assume they will resolve the continuity issue by having Sauron and his forces seem utterly destroyed at the end of There and Back Again.

        This isn’t so far off from the books as the White Council, if I remember correctly, felt that the threat in Dol Guldur was eliminated when actually it just fled to Mordor. So they were all surprised (well, some less than others) when Sauron returned and at that point Gandalf appreciated that the ring was the One Ring and, once they got to Rivendell, they finally concluded that it was the thing preventing Sauron’s destruction.

        I’m no fan of these “Hobbit” movies (which don’t seem that interested in the titular Hobbit) but I think they’ll resolve continuity by having Sauron “die” in There and Back Again. Simple enough, I think.

    • In the original book it does mention Gandalf’s confrontation with the Necromancer (which is explained further in the Appendices of Return of the King and revealed that this is indeed, the Dark Lord Sauron).

    • I rationalize it like this. Gandalf as been around for a long time, a long time. The last alliance of elves and men happens before the Hobbit so Gandalf would know about Sauron and that he is supposedly dead after losing the ring. So when he sees him in DOS he knows who he is but still believes the one ring is gone. In LOTR he sees bilbo use it and thats when he goes to research if this ring is the one ring and then we have our movie

  4. I hope they film another trilogy after this. A prequel that ends with the scene of Sauron getting his fingers chopped off by Aragorn’s descendant King and losing the ring.

    I can’t get enough of these movies.

    • I disagree with you completely. I love the movies, too. But I think 6 movies in total covers it pretty well.

      • Well its better if they adapt the silmarillion and children of hurin

  5. I’ve read the books, and all I can say is, the movies are way better than them. As most of you know, The Hobbit was written way before the inception of the LOTR and as a children’s book, and Peter Jackson has made it more interesting by making it the prequel to the darker LOTR that it should be. I, for one, can’t complain that it was stretched to three films, for I am a big Middle Earth fan and the more Middle Earth, the better. I don’t even get why some people complain about it.

    The only thing, the ONLY thing I had a problem with is the “unnecessary” love angle between Legolas, Tauriel, and Kili. But seeing Evangeline Lilly on screen makes me forget that problem.

    • The 2nd movie is a horrible failure. It lacks everything other than action scenes. I only paid $3.00 for my ticket, but it was about $2.50 too much :P

      • LOL try reading the book. It is way more lacking and less detailed. At least the movie explains where Gandalf has been spending his time away from the Dwarves. There are too much action scenes, yes, awesome action scenes, but the 3rd act with the encounter between Smaug and Bilbo completely makes up for their redundance.

  6. Honestly, if you asked me, the only reason they made it a trilogy was because three movies make more than one or two.

    • @Matt Keith He’s not splitting it to make more money. He has enough money as it is.

      • Then why make them at all? He’s definitely not making them because he has a passion for the story.

        • Because basing it solely from the book alone won’t tie it to the LOTR trilogy that’s already made. The Hobbit was originally written as a stand-alone children’s book that’s why it never mentions anything about the LOTR saga, only when the LOTR books are written that the ring from the Hobbit was made out to be the One Ring. So basically, Peter Jackson is binding those elements together so that the ending to the Hobbit trilogy will coincide to the beginning of the LOTR trilogy. Try fitting that into one or two movies.

          • Agreed. Jackson wanted, for a while, to have The Hobbit becoming an intro for LOTR. The children’s books isn’t really a prequel and has no ties to LOTR. With this movie you see his ideas in which it starts tying into the LOTR universe. I personally have no issues with it because I love all things Middle Earth. Could they have done all of this in 2 movies? Probably but I am also okay with 3

          • I’m in full support of 3 movies. The problem is not that it’s 3 movies. The problem is that there is too much fat, the pacing is off, and the movies are entirely unbalanced. If they don’t drastically cut significant elements from the third movie (obviously Dol Guldor is extrapolated in), it’s going to be way too much.

          • He should have left it as a stand alone movie. He sacrificed everything good about the Hobbit to make it bind to his other work.

            • I thoroughly disagree. I actually think he hit the high points, the very essence of the story as one world-encompassing epic, by expanding upon the basic details of THE HOBBIT. Not only did Jackson maintain what is great about Middle Earth (yes, there are changes, and yes, some are not particularly necessary, but they don’t detract from the overall tale); he even smoothed out some of the rough edges of the original works. Tolkien’s stories compose a brilliant fantasy world, BUT they are NOT perfect.

            • Everything good about The Hobbit is that it led to creation of the Lord of the Rings.

        • no passion for the story? he only devoted 5-6 years of his life to these films. please explain.

          • It was in response the the statement that he’s not making it for money. If he was doing it solely to satisfy a passion that he has for the source, then he wouldn’t change the nature of it so much. This movie resembles the source less than any other LOTR movie.

            • It is because of his passion for the source material that he made those changes, for the source material he is passionate about is not the Hobbit book on its own, but the legendarium as a whole. When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit he did not have a complete idea of the world and it’s history, not like what is shown throughout The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and the other Middle-earth books, so in his later life he tried to expand upon the original story and try and tie it more deeply into his other works through short stories, family histories etc. Why would Peter Jackson make the same mistake when he not only knows what the world is like, but has also realised some of that world on film already? He is taking advantage of the fact that he knows the world, the back-story, and so-on, as well as the fact that these Hobbit films are prequels to The Lord of the Rings films, whereas The Lord of the Rings book was a sequel to The Hobbit book (these are not the same thing) to create something new and awesome that, in the end, should feel more fleshed-out and complete than it otherwise would have, while staying true to the essence of Tolkien and what he has masterfully created.

              • People are throwing around the words “fleshed out” and “expanded” and “appendices” as if it explains what Peter Jackson did. Dol Guldor and the Necromancer – that is fleshed out and expanded. I like that. Legolas is fleshed out and expanded. I don’t mind that. Azog is modified, expanded, and fabricated a little. He’s ok. I like him better in DoS than AUJ.

                Orcs vs Legolas in Laketown? Thorin and Co. Vs Smaug? The Morgul arrow? The Love triangle with Kili? That’s all fabricated. It’s 100% original and did not improve the story. Riding a wheelbarrow in a river of molten gold? Most absurd BS ever.

                Tauriel was also fabricated. I liked her felt they used her to effectively round out corners of the story. Her crushing on Kili was awkward and extraneous and awful, though.

        • 5aucy – Get over yourself. Jackson has -immense- passion for the story, or ‘The Hobbit’ wouldn’t have ever hit the big-screen in the first place. Your claim is pretty ludicrous. Most of your posts here have been critical of the franchise – which is fine – but silly claims are just that: silly. The story Jackson is presenting is Tolkien at heart, with his own twists to not only bring it into a modern frame of mind, but to also include the notes and appendices that Tolkien himself created. A “word for word” retelling of the book would have been insanely boring, and would have left out a lot of detail that Jackson is including. If you don’t like it – don’t go, it’s simple. But personally, I am enjoying the trilogy very much, whether it’s a ‘word for word’ retelling of the book or not. Is it ‘perfect’? Of course not, perfection simply isn’t possible because no matter what Jackson creates, someone, somewhere, will whine about this detail or that left out/added in/modified. But as a fan of Tolkien myself, in all 5 movies so far I -see- and -feel- the spirit of Tolkien with virtually every scene, and in the end that’s really all that matters.

          • peter jackson only reason for making 3 movies is to make money. i am not an idiot to not see this. and the movies are bloated sh*t.

      • Well, my problem is that the films are way too long (I mean, Bilbo doesn’t go on his journey til 45 minutes into the first film) and that a lot could be cut down to make it just two movies.

        • The movies are too long? What are you, 15? If your attention span is so short that you can’t sit and watch a masterful work of art you should have never bought a ticket to begin with. Read a book for once in your life and you would know that most of that first 45 minutes was needed.

          • The 2nd film is far from masterful. It’s just a montage of action sequences with as little depth and dialogue as possible. Except the dialogue that helps usher in some abomination from PJ’s brain. So sad to waste this chance to make the Hobbit and instead make a prequel to LOTR.

            • Sorry, gotta disagree with you there. The only ‘abomination’ I’ve seen so far, is the one you’re imagining in your mind. The story is progressing as expected, with the added dimensions that PJ has added. I think most parts have been pretty true to form, and especially the last third of DoS with Smaug himself -are- masterful. Smaug came alive even better than I had expected, and the more scenes PJ created with him in them, the better. It built up the proper tension in regards to Laketown, and added more reason to become attached to and interested in Bard then the novel itself did. For those expecting a word-for-word rendition of the book, well – I feel badly for them, but it was never advertised as such, just as the LotR trilogy was never advertised as such. These moves are written in the spirit of Tolkien, by people who are -every bit- as much fans of the work as you or me.

              • Lmao at these people thinking the hobbit movies are the best thing on earth, they are about a 3 when lotr is a 9, its pathetic, jackson is lieing he did it for the money and thats all or he wouldnt have ruined the story by adding crap to it for no reason. Sure ive came around more now that smaug came out but still its no where near what it should be. He used his greed and ruined a master piece.

                The hobbit was 90% perfect in book form all it lacked was where gandalf went, thats all that needed fixing nothing else, i mean orcs chasing them from the shire till the mountain wtf is that that is so retarded. No need for it at all. Granted im glad he did it instead of del toro i think it woulda been 100x worse.

                • We’re supposed to take an opinion about how good a book of literature is from someone who cannot spell the word lying correctly? (hint: its not lieing).

                  He didn’t ruin a masterpiece. You can’t ruin the books, they are still the same books no one changed them. It’s a freaking movie. If you don’t like it then move on, nothing is ruined. The book is still awesome because it’s still exactly the same. It’s not like someone ripped up all the copies of the Hobbit, then rewrote it. Someone just made a film and used that as source material and that was how he imagined it. Is it how you would of? Clearly not. Not me either. and thats the point, everyone would make a different movie. It’s about enjoying someone else’s imagination and you do not enjoy it. Interestingly Jackson is more faithful to the Hobbit than he was to the lotr trilogy. Read the books. Which I am willing to bet you haven’t or havent for some time as you have proven. You’re not a tolkien purist so don’t act like one.

      • @Robert of course! Peter Jackson only made three movies to bring more money to New Zealand. the movie is loooong, boring, without substance, full of pathetic CGI action like video game, is a joke compared to LOTR Trilogy. period!

        Shame on you Peter Jackson

        • If by “Shame on you”, you mean “Congratulations for the excellent work”, then I agree. The film IS long (but the time flows wonderfully forward), not in the slightest bit boring (IS quite exciting, in fact), substantive (in certain regards, even more than the book upon which it is based), full of incredible imagery, action, and camera work, and an excellent companion piece to the LOTR trilogy.

          Keep it up, Peter Jackson.

  7. Desolation of Smaug is in my top 5 movies of 2013

  8. It was a nice move. however, The Hobbit saga has not been all that good for me.
    I liked Cumberbatch as Smaug though. wow f*ckin great voice he has!… he would be a fair decent Darth Vader´s voice.

  9. 2 would have been better imho. Cut out radagast, Pale orc drama, tauriel/kili (or was it fili?) subplot, make Gandalf’s quest less intense (for continuity as mentioned in the previous comments and the sake of making the movies shorter) and you’re good to go.

    Also did anyone notice Smaug knew about Thorin’s nickname (Oakenshield)? Unless Smaug has a subscription to the Lake Town gazette there is no way he would have known that.. Thorin got his nickname in battle, years after the whole Smaug fiasco. And ever since then Smaug has been holed up in the mtn.

    Anywho… just a minor issue I suppose. Still bugged me.

    • Smaug has little birdies that tell him of all the goings on in Middle Earth.

    • Didn’t he say something about being in “touch with the dark forces” or something to that nature? If so, then I can see him knowing about Oakenshield

      • No I think he gets the gazette. I’d hate to be that newspaper boy!

        haha no but it was good. I just wanted them to do the Bilbo/Smaug conversation verbatim like the Riddles in the Dark sequence in the first Hobbit (which was my favorite scene in the movie) The conversation they have in the book is so great.

        The way they did it was ok. I liked it until all the dwarves started messing with Smaug and then the gold bath thing. I thought that scene was pretty ridiculous. Still, Smaug looked amazing!

        • Yeah, I was thinking it would go the route of the Riddles in the Dark scene but I get that they want to make Smaug more “fearful” character than that of Golium. I loved the end scene of Smaug though. That got me excited for the next film

          • Dude I’m not saying make Smaug more like Gollum.. like at all.. I’m saying the Gollum scene from Hobbit1 was awesome because it was literally WORD FOR WORD the exact scene from the book, all the same riddles and everything. The conversation between Bilbo and Smaug in the book was equally as awesome. I wanted them to use more of what’s written there.

  10. “Jackson could have cut down on a lot of the arguably extraneous content in An Unexpected Journey to bring it in line from 4 plus hours of footage…” you forgot to put extroneous content in An Unexpected Journey AND Desolation of Smaug. Also, combined they are over 5 hours, not 4.

    • I mean to say that if you watch Journey and then watch Smaug up until the point Jackson references, you’re looking at around 4 hours of footage. Not that both movies combined are just 4 hours.

      I don’t know if I articulated that all that well.

      • And if you cut all of the actual plot elements from the book that have been in the first 2 movies you couldn’t stitch together anything resembling the book up to this point. I haven’t been this disappointed in any movie in my life.

        • After all 3 movies have been released I want to cut together a version with just the essential stuff from the book. It’d just be for myself of course as distributing something like that would be crazy illegal.

          • That’s the crazy part, you could literally hack massive chunks of the movie away and probably improve the cohesiveness of the plot. It was just that bloated.

            • Funny…I not only did NOT find it bloated; I thought it progressed quite smoothly and effectively.

          • if you do send me a copy lol

  11. If you think about it, even if they cut all the extroneous stuff, 3 movies is still needed.

    They could’ve cut at least 15 minutes from the 38 minute beginning of Journey. Another 5 from the 17 minutes they spent at Elrond’s. Another 10 from the sequence leaving Elrond’s place to when they fall in the Goblin dungeon. And then the last 15 minute chase scene with the orcs at the end. That’s 45 minutes shaved off a 2H 50M film.

    In the second film, all those 15 or so minutes involving Legolas’ and Tauriel. Another 10 from the time spent in Lake Town, and then another 20 from that 40 minute sequence with Smaug. Again, just a smudge over 2 H. Add in 15 minutes to when Smaug destroys lakestown and then gets killed…another film would still be needed for the Battle of the Five Armies

    • That’s exactly how it should have been paced.

  12. Judging from the content of these films, probably shouldve gone with two.

  13. I too felt that two films would’ve been enough.

    The problem lies in the concept of the Hobbit itself. It is essentially a chase picture concerning Bilbo and the dwarves against Smaug. That’s the core of the story. Everything else surrounding that isn’t or shouldn’t be as important. It’s hard to stretch out that story and keep it compelling.

    With LOTR the whole of Middle Earth was under threat from the power of the ring. So whilst Frodo was the main antagonist – it still felt right to concentrate on other characters and how the struggle affected them. Everything and everyone was connected to unify against Sauron.

    The dwarves quest doesn’t have that same sense of importance. There’s no consequence if they fail. If Smaug was randomly terrorising all parts of Middle Earth then fine, but all he’s doing is sleeping amongst all the gold. The heroes actually cause more damage by awakening him.

    But especially with Desolation, the deviations with the Elves & Gandalf didn’t feel crucial or pivotal. At one point Legolas is fighting two to three orcs in the street and you’re thinking ‘why is this important?’ It has no impact especially when u know Legolas will not die.

    Sticking with Bilbo, Dwarves & Smaug and two movies would’ve been more than enough.

    • I feel the same way. I’ve liked the movies fine but I dislike many individual scenes in both films thus far. There’s too much filler in there. They’re trying to make the films epic on a LOTR scale. The Hobbit was never intended to be that way. The end product ends up feeling very uneven and just too long.

      • “They’re trying to make the films epic on a LOTR scale. The Hobbit was never intended to be that way.”

        You’re wrong. Tolkien retrospectively wanted “The Hobbit” to fit in the tone and scale of “The Lord of the Rings”. And although he didn’t finish his re-written version of “The Hobbit”, it’s quite clear, that he wanted to connect the two stories. He made a lot of additions in the Appendices, where he explained things and gave a lot of background stuff, that completely changes the perspective of “The Hobbit”. For example we learn, that Gandalf was afraid, that Sauron might use the dragon, and that it was one of Sauron’s rings, that caused the dwarves to be greedy. And we also learn, that Sauron was making his first attempt (since his defeat) to gain world domination. So actually there WAS much at stake, when the dwarves tried to take back Erebor.

    • Gandalf says somewhere that it’s important to retake Erebor and slay the dragon so that the evil that is growing in the world would not call it to it’s aid. Only imagine The Nine AND Smaug chasing Frodo, or Smaug in the Battle of Helm’s Deep or in the Pelennor Fields. The Flying Nazguls terrorized them, but a dragon would have ended the battle pretty quicly. I don’t know how Gandalf will escape, but it’s pretty obvious that whatever they do in Dol Guldur will buy him some time to prepare, even if no one believes Gandalf but Galadriel.

  14. Love the books. Love the movies. Peter Jackson probably takes a few liberties he shouldn’t but his take is oh so good.

  15. I for one am extremely happy that he included the extra material. We get that extra bit of middle earth lore that would have been lost if it was only two movies.

  16. My first point should be that I love that Jackson has made 3 films instead of 2.
    What can I say? I’m a greedy nerd that loves these movies.

    I’m also someone who has never read anything outside of The Hobbit and TLotR books so even though I know what to expect from the books I appreciate what has been added and changed because of either Jackson’s decisions or other pieces of Tolkien’s work.
    I also like the idea of seeing more about defeating Smaug. If I remember correctly we didn’t even get much of that in the book. We only found out after that he was “desolated” ;)

  17. I hope we get more long movies that are around three hours or more, complete with an intermission. Hopefully Wolf of Wall Street is a hit to help make it happen.

  18. I have absolutely no problems with them turning it into 3 movies instead of 2 (or just 1). What I DO have a problem with however is what I will call, “Jackson-Earth”. His frivolous and unnecessary additions/changes in the first one really bothered me. He should have stuck with the books where possible like he did with LotR but I guess he’s gotten so full of himself now, he knows better than the author himself what is best.

    • Those “frivolous and unnecessary” changes from the book either came about from Jackson trying to adapt a book to film, which is inevitable, and happened quite a few times actually in the LOTR films, or from trying to tie The Hobbit into the world we all know and love – like showing us things not from the book but make sense if you have seen the other films first. I do agree that a few of the changes do seem unnecessary at first (Azog, for instance) but we do have to remember that these trilogies are less like conventional ones, and more like one film split into several sections, so we should probably watch the entire thing before we come to a final decision on the how unnecessary they are (this is like film trailers – they give you an idea of whats to come, but you can’t decide whether you like the film based on just a few quick shots, you have to watch the whole thing first).

        • “Changing Thorin into a middle-aged Dwarf in his prime vs a gray haired and grizzled old Dwarf at the end of his life. Adding Azog (a Character who was actually a nemesis of Thorin’s grandfather), expanded Radaghast role (while interesting is some aspects was COMPLETELY unnecessary), the three stooges chase over ramshackle bridges in the Goblin caves, the stupid way the Goblin King was slain, putting the party in the middle of the Stone Giant’s game, turning Kili and Fili into human looking heartthrobs instead of younger Dwarves. I could go on and on but that’s a good start.”

          I loved all of those things. Nobody does it better than Peter Jackson and his crew. I really couldn’t care less about the differences between the book and the film. I just know, that I prefer Peter Jackson’s version.

  19. Saw this last night, great movie.

    But am I the only one who kept waiting for Smaug to say “it’s elementary my dear Bilbo.”

  20. Personally, I think Warner Brothers had a lot more to do with splitting it than Jackson and the others would admit. Their money issues and lack of tentpole features is a known issue of the studio, which is why they’re already trying to make new Harry Potter movies and shoehorning as many superheroes into Man of Steel 2 as possible. The studio is barely treading water as is, so they need as many guaranteed money makers as possible, thus, split the Hobbit into a trilogy.

    • @Korsgaard

      Very true, but Man Of Steel 2 is a notion that’s been tossed aside for some time now. We are getting a Justice League prelude movie in 2015 instead.

  21. @LEBSTA no Man of Steel 2 a.k.a. Batman vs Superman is still coming out in 2015 the release date has already been announced as July 17, 2015 :)

  22. I’m perfectly fine with the films being split into three. It would’ve been a shame to have any scene cut from Unexpected Journey. Hell, with the lack of songs and fast pace, especially in the beginning of Desolation, I’d say why not four. I just hope the extended edition adds a lot more to the beginning.

    The biggest problem with PJ’s additions are that he only has the rights to the Hobbit and LOTR books. He has to be careful not to put things in that can be seen a being taken from sources he doesn’t have the rights to like Unfinished Tales or the Silmarillion. It’s a shame but I wouldn’t’ve trusted anyone else with pulling it off. Still there are things he did differently that he could’ve gotten more right. Like Thorin killing Azog instead of Dain. Sure he needed a good action scene at that point of the movie and it makes no sense to show Dain who wont be introduced till film three slaying the main foe but that scene could’ve been saved till film three giving a proper intro to Dain. It was a cooler way for Thorin to get the title Oakenshield than the book.

    • “Like Thorin killing Azog instead of Dain.”

      How do you know, that it’s not going to be Dain, that will kill Azog in “There and back again”?

  23. I love anything middle earth… But… I have a few issues with the film. At one point, I felt like I was watching Avatar. There’s such a thing as just way to much CGI. It ruined several of the scenes for me. Was it that bad in LOTR? Secondly, I actually still prefer the Rankin/Bass version. It was a cartoon aimed at children, and it had more character development, drama, and tension than PJ’s film. That being said, I think the new Hobbit can grow on me over time purely as a prequel for LOTR. It’s definitely PJ’s prequel more than it is “The Hobbit” as remembered by the fans of all things JRRT up until 2001. Although the following idea might have been a box office flop, I would rather see a one, maybe two episode film with more moments that “feel” like the tone set in the LOTR’s musical piece “Concerning Hobbits.” Our new “Bilbo” just isn’t that much of a Hobbit in this film. That’s the missing character piece. Bilbo isn’t the “Country Gentleman” who saves the day. The drawrves are much too heroic, becoming the stars of too many scenes. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the film, and I welcome it as a prequel to PJ’s LOTR. “The Hobbit?” No.

  24. The moment it was announced the films were to made in “3D”, you could have predicted the outcome. Heavy on over-the-top, lengthy action sequences that crossed the line into needlessness. Whenever a direction, including PJ here, makes the decision to film with 3D in mind, it influences the entire scope of the project. All shots are storyboarded & filmed that way. & most of the time…it just plain sucks. All for the almighty dollar.

    That’s not to say Jackson would not have made 3 lengthy Hobbit films…but the intimate moments & character development would have been given much more room to breathe. You don’t have look any further than the Lord of the Rings trilogy to see how he balanced the grand action sequences with characters you came to care about.

    • Peter Jackson has really succeeded in making us care about Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin and Kili among others. “An unexpected Journey” (extended edition) was filled with intimate, quiet moments and character developement. The theatrical “The Desolation of Smaug” has less of that, but I’m quite sure, that the upcoming extended edition will have a lot more of it.

  25. There is one thing in the debate about Sauron and the One Ring not being considered: they are separate issues. In Tolkien’s appendices, the White Council (led by Galadriel, not Gandalf), throw down the walls of Dol Guldur and it APPEARS that they have defeated the enemy. But Sauron only pretends to be vanquished, and flees to Mordor, and re-raises the Dark Tower, and declares himself openly only then as Sauron. This is probably what will be featured in There and Back Again. As for the ring, no one at this point knows it is The One, not even Gandalf. And even when Bilbo eventually tells Gandalf of the ring, which I assume he will do in There and Back Again, it is only clear that it is a ring of power. Gandalf had to travel to Gondor at the beginning of LOTR and search the libraries of Denethor to find the message that finally allows him to make the test that confirms his suspicions. So all this does in fact jive with what Jackson has presented so far.

  26. I thought Desolation was superb. It did appear to have more action and plot than the first. More characters and a variaty of locations. I’m excited to see there and back again and how it will all connect.

  27. well maybe Azog did die of his wounds? What would explain his relationship with the necromancer?

    • Well, we know that the necromancer is Sauron. And the orcs are Sauron’s servants, aren’t they? And since Azog is an orc …

  28. posso chiedervi ma il film e in uscita a summer 2014 in tutta italia