Peter Jackson Clarifies ‘Hobbit’ Trilogy Talk; Third Movie Based on Tolkien’s Notes

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 23rd, 2013 at 9:26 am,

peter jackson hobbit Peter Jackson Clarifies Hobbit Trilogy Talk; Third Movie Based on Tolkiens Notes

Comic-Con 2012 continues to churn out surprises – and one of the show’s most intriguing pieces of information wasn’t announced on the Hall H floor, it was dropped during the post-panel press line. While fans were scrambling to grab seats for the Marvel Studios panel, Peter Jackson was across the street (winding down after his own Hall H panel) discussing the upcoming pair of Hobbit films – asserting that there were quite a few scenes that the filmmakers didn’t have room to include.

Now that principle photography on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again is complete, Jackson is considering extending the set of prequels into a full-blown trilogy.

HitFix was the first to report the news of a potential Hobbit trilogy – snagging the following quote from Jackson:

“We’ve been certainly talking to the studio about some of the material we can’t film. And we’ve been asking them if we can do a bit more filming next year. Which I don’t know what would come of that, whether that would be extended additions or not. But those discussions are ongoing [...] I’d like to shoot a bunch more material that we can’t shoot. There’s so much good stuff in the appendices that we haven’t been able to squeeze into these movies. That’s a discussion that we’re having.”

The news was so compelling that it didn’t take long for the topic to resurface during the film’s press conference – where the fan-favorite director had more time to clarify his earlier statement. Responding directly to whether or not he’d use the additional material for a third movie, Jackson said:

“It’s very premature. I mean we have an incredible source material with the appendices because ‘The Hobbit’ is obviously a novel but we also have the rights to use this 125 pages of additional notes where Tolkien expanded the world of ‘The Hobbit’ published at the end of ‘Return of the King’ and we’ve used some of it so far (and just in the last few weeks as we’ve been wrapping up the shooting) and thinking about the shape of the story. Fran and I have been talking to the studio about other things we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we could persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting. Probably more than a few weeks actually, next year, and what form that would actually end up taking. The discussions are pretty early. So there isn’t really anything to report but there’s other parts of the story that we’d like to tell that we haven’t been able to tell yet.”

There’s no doubt that another film would bring in big money for Legendary Pictures – and please a lot of fans who can’t get enough of Jackson’s adventures in Middle Earth. In addition, prior installments in the series have shown that the director is capable of both trimming and stretching different story beats in the Lord of the Rings trilogy to translate the narrative into the best movie experience possible. It’s certainly possible that he could do the same thing with an additional tale of Bilbo Baggins.

However, some fans already felt that two prequel movies would be a stretch - given the size of the original Hobbit novel – especially when compared to the much larger-scale Lord of the Rings movies. This isn’t to say that the final act in a potential Hobbit trilogy would be overdrawn and hollow but “more” isn’t always “better” and it does raise questions about whether another film could work in harmony with the movies that are about to be released.

That said, while Legendary has little reason to say no to Jackson, it’s extremely unlikely that the director would force a third movie just for the sake of adding another installment in the series – since, as he indicates in the quote, the idea stemmed from seeing an opportunity to bring even more of Tolkien’s creations to the screen. There are few filmmakers that wield the same level of creative control as Jackson – so fans can take comfort that, should the director choose to move forward with a third entry, it’ll be a worthwhile pursuit.


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more Comic-Con and Hobbit coverage as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

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

Source: HitFix

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  1. So are they seriously considering cutting up the Hobbit (and then adding in the expanded material) into three pieces? I think it might drive more than a few fans absolutely nuts to think they had to wait 2-3 more years to see Smaug and the battle of 4 armies play out.

    The other possibility would be to actually use the background material to do what they had originally proposed, to create a bridge movie about the years between the Hobbit and LotR.

    To be honest I don’t know how I feel about either one.

    • The impression I got from the panel was that this would be more of the “bridge” movie concept you mentioned – though he doesn’t explicitly clarify that point.

        • Note that they don’t have the rights to the full Silmarillion, and the current Tolkien Estate are really unlikely to ever license those, at least as long as Christopher and Baillie Tolkien are around.

          A “bridge” movie would have to be derived solely from material found in the Hobbit and LOTR, including the précis of the Silmarillion found there. This makes it quite hard to do, as it’ll need to be fleshed out to film, but they’ll need to invent their own fleshing out, rather than just putting back stuff Tolkien omitted for brevity.

    • I think the bridge movie is what’s being discussed here. Or, rather, something that happens after the book ends.

    • Please don’t tell what’s going to happen to the people that haven’t read the books yet

    • I agree. I want the Hobbit to have extended cuts like LOTR! And then give us a bridge movie too. You can’t get enough of middle-earth.

  2. As long as the climax with Smaug is at the end of Hobbit 2, they better not drag that out. What am I saying? of course they’ll drag it out.

    It’s a cash grab, film a little extra footage for another few million and bam! another whole movie to make 300+ mil.

    Fortunately I trust Jackson to at least make them quality films.

  3. Am I missing something? I don’t see him quoted as referencing a possible “trilogy”. Is this just fan speculation? Perhaps he just meant that he wanted to film some more material for the two movies already planned…

    • I agree! Sounds like a big jump to the conclusion of a third film.

    • The question was in direct reference to a third movie. It might not be immediately apparent by the words alone but it was clear in the press panel that they’re thinking about how to use the material – as extended Hobbit content or a third “bridge” movie.

      • I was under the impression that the second part of The Hobbit was also going to bridge into Lord of the Rings. Again, I’m guessing that he just meant that he would like to include more material in the two movies already planned. If you were actually there, however, and heard the reference to a “trilogy”, then I’ll concede the point…

  4. Shooting all three LotR back-to-back-to-back is one of the greatest filming achivements ever. Respect.

    • @ Ignur
      I couldn’t agree more. Even though Return of the King was bombarded with Oscars I still don’t think Jackson and Company gets enough credit for what they accomplished with those films. And to do it again with The Hobbit is just insane. That’s why IMO what Jackson has done with these films is the most daring, outstanding and amazing series in film history. I can’t imagine anything of this scale ever happening again…

    • None other than Christopher Nolan agrees with you.
      And how about doing all three with tight budget management
      for effectively a very modest cost for such a large scale of production.

      • as a person who didn’t like the first lotr I still appreciate the effort put in. Most people will consider it the best trilogy of all time and that’s understandable. To each there own.

        • A great filmmaking achievement does not necessarily mean great films.
          I tend to agree with you, Trey, I am impressed with the effort and
          management involved but the LOTR trilogy I consider very good
          for what they are but I would not label them great films.

          • Well, I and a legion of fans, as well as total of 17 Oscars, disagree with you…

            • Well, alrighty then. I prefer the books.

              Jackson thought his King Kong was
              much better than LOTR and I agree.

  5. The more movies Jackson makes about Middle Earth the better as far as I am concerned.

  6. Is he talking about the Scouring of the Shire or am I hearing what I want to hear?

  7. I’d like to see Jackson move on with something else after The Hobbit. There is so much great Sci-Fi and Fantasy literature besides Tolkien.

    How about Steven Erikson’s Malazan books?

  8. I think it would be nice if they actually left something for the fans to discover themselves by reading the books.

    • If they haven’t bothered reading them yet…. they aren’t going to.

      • I guess that’s true. I’ve read “The Hobbit” and the three “LOTR” books, but find the appendices hard to get through. The same with “The SilmarilLion”, just couldn’t get into it. I’d rather they made a documentary series about it than making films too flabby squeezing in every detail.

        But I suppose I’m just a casual Tolkien fan and not particularly hardcore when it comes to the histories of Middle Earth.

  9. The way I’m reading it, it’s looking like the second movie might get stretched into two movies to make a trilogy?

    Jackson is stating that it’s only towards the end of the principle photography that the appendices were starting to be used, so he possibly wants to extend this?

  10. I think it’s bad enough that Mr. Jackson is breaking The Hobbit to begin with since it’s the shortest of any of the books!! But three parts??? Really?! And based on notes? Sorry but notes are just that and aren’t a story. The second half of Hobbit IS the bridge film for Mordors sake!! Please Mr. Jackson, say it ain’t so!!!

  11. I think it would be amazing if Jackson would film the Quenta Silmarillion. That is IMO some of the best writing Tolkien did and would look phenomenal on the big screen.

  12. Can you say 11 ACADEMY AWARDS???

  13. Can you say 11 ACADEMY AWARDS??? Can you say 2 billion dollars??

    • It was actually a total of 17 Oscars, including all three films.

  14. I hope the studio lets PJ and crew film more from the appendices. Either a third film or extended editions would be great. The more Middle Earth the better.

  15. I’m all for a “bridge” movie connecting The Hobbit to LOTR, but I’m not a fan of dragging out the 2-part story into three parts…
    If this extra footage is just going to be in the extended cut, I’ll be happy about that as well, but I don’t think they should make a Hobbit trilogy (especially since The Hobbit was the shortest of all the books).

  16. Peter Jackson + Doctor Strange

    We know he can do the magic and wizards beautifully.

    • I’m down.

      • Me too.

  17. I’m all in for this. The Hobbit could easily be split into three parts. The book covers a huge amount of material.

    The first already looks to end with them coming to lake town
    The second could end with Smaug and Gandalf’s struggle with the necromancer
    The third could be about the purge of the the necromancer and the battle of the five armies.

    I really hope they add the third movie so we can enjoy as many aspects of this story as possible (as so much had to be left out of LOTR).
    This is truly going to be something special, and could very well be the best any of us will see in our lifetimes (when it comes to the high fantasy movie genre). In my opinion this is one of the greatest fantasy stories ever told, and I am incredibly thankful that it gets to be told in such a respectable fashion.
    I am in no rush for it to be over quickly.

  18. Somewhere in all this will be a great Hobbit movie pleading to get out from under all this. Call it “Mr. Underhill.”

  19. From the looks of Peter in that photo The Hobbit is not the only thing expanding.
    Peter Jackson looks well on his way to regaining the weight he once famously lost.

  20. I would love to see the belgariad(david eddings) or the magician(r e fiest) made into moveie.

  21. I don’t think it’s very kosher to post a link to pull people away from this site and discuss the same things SR is discussing. ;)

  22. The problem I still have is that you can film as much of the stuff in between the Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring, but really it’s all setup for the Lord of the Rings. It’s like the Star Wars Episodes 1-3. We all know how it ends up. I guess it’d be neat to see some of the battles and the lead-up put on screen, but there’s a difference between whether it makes sense as it’s own film, or whether it’s just to satisfy our curiosity with how material would look on film. The latter is simply an exercise, an indulgence if you will. PJ, above everyone, should know that the first priority is to make a good movie with a good story that could potentially stand on it’s own.
    I read a lot of people here talking about different aspects of Tolkien’s works being adapted to film. Please bear in mind that PJ is only referring to, and can only be referring to, additional events that took place either contemporaneously to the events of the Hobbit, or in between the Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring. This is in addition to the extra stuff he has already added into the first Hobbit film and has written into the second one. So he’s already fleshed out a lot of stuff that was only mentioned in passing in either the Appendices or JRRT’s notes, journals, drafts, etc. He’s talking about even more stuff now.

    • I’ve never understood the argument “we know how it ends”. Particularly if you want to apply it to The Hobbit/The Lord of the Ring (or any movie based on a book series)…of course we know how it ends, or at least have the books to read. The movie is just an indulgance of curiousity of how it might of looked.

      Even in movies not necessarily based on a book – we usually know how it will end and we are ok with that. In fact you have to be a damn good storyteller for the story to not end the way you would expect.

      Setting that aside though. Why is there no value in the story before the beginning of the end? Personally if I’m really into something, I want to know how they got there in the first place. It doesn’t matter that I know how it ends what is important is that story, that journey. Personally I like the Star Wars prequels, it wasn’t the knowing how it ends that ruined it for most people. It was that the story could of been told better, more richly and most fans had their own conceptions on what that story was.

      Back to the point though – why does knowing how it ends ruin a prequel? Don’t you want to know how they got there to begin with?

      • Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for PJ doing more Tolkien stuff. My point though, is that it seems as if the planning is not as strong as obviously it was for Lord of the Rings. That was three books, three films, pretty straight-forward. There was more stuff in the books than could be put on screen, even with the extended versions, there was still too much. Now we have the opposite, where PJ and crew have to flesh out some pretty thin and sketched out material. Now we have them actually getting into territory where they are coming up with a lot of this on their own. That’s my only point really, that their ability as storytellers is really going to be tested. Also, it seems as if PJ is still somewhat unclear on how many movies there are going to be. Hopefully everything turns out great, but it does seem as they are kind of making stuff up instead of having a fairly solid plan with LotR.

        • Jeff, I must jump in here and disagree with you regarding the “planning is not as strong” comment, as well as the “coming up with a lot of this on their own” comment.
          Far more people have been hired on to deal with the hobbit then LOTR, they have four times the studio space with the latest technology, and some of the brightest talent in the film buisness today working on these movies. Watch Jackson’s film blogs for this movie and you will immediately regret that first comment.
          For your second comment that I have noted, their is a ton of material in The Hobbit for them to work with. He could probably fill four movies with the source materials alone. The LOTR movies were extremely watered down versions of the actual books and rightfully so.

          • Well, I would agree that my saying the planning is not as strong is probably not worded quite right. My point really is that unlike the Lord of the Rings movies, where it was very straightforward how the movies and schedule would be laid out (3 books, 3 movies, all 3 filmed consecutively, released every year), now it appears that they are changing the plan, or thinking about it at least.
            Also, it seems like PJ did just fine with the size of the crew, the studio space and the schedule that he had for LotR. I know that he asked a ton from his crew, they literally gave him something like three years of their lives, at the very least. I think the increase in resources was simply because he didn’t want to put his people through that again. I don’t know for sure, but if I were him, that’s what I’d do. But I don’t necessarily know that having more resources necessarily guarantees a better film.

            • Do not overlook that the LOTR trilogy started out as two films and was planned as such well into production. Most of helms deep was actually constructed for the first film before the two were split again in to a trilogy. So with that in mind I have to say I do not see at all where you are coming from saying that the planning on LOTR was “clearly laid out” (3 books 3 films)

              If anything this seems like history perfectly repeating itself.

  23. This sounds amazing, totally down for some more Middle Earth on the big screen.

  24. I think he could do a whole story on Tom Bombadill alone and It would be awesome. It is a shame that storyline had to be left out of LOTR.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. If anything, I wanted to hear what Bombadill’s little songs would sound like! I was so disappointed when Tom Bombadill was left out of the extended versions. Yes, he isn’t crucial to the story, but he is a perfect reflection of the genius that is Tolkien’s mind!

  25. So The Hobbit is to be three films? I know theta is a huge amount of different ‘adventites’. It will be amazing to see them on film. Can’t wait.