Pre-production of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” prequels — based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” — has been ongoing for years, due to many unforeseen reasons. Principal photography didn’t begin until March 21, 2011, and it ran through July 6, 2012. It made for an exhausting 266 days in which director Peter Jackson shot two films back to back.
The first part, titled “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” has been slated to hit theaters on Dec. 14, 2012, and the second half is scheduled to invade cinemas Dec. 13, 2013. However, as it turns out, we will have to wait even longer to see the end of Bilbo Baggins’s (Martin Freeman) journey.
Here is the announcement that Peter Jackson himself made this morning via his official 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.”
Now while this is both exciting and disappointing news to some, it isn’t very much information to gather about the change in the release of the entire chronicle of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a company of dwarves that lead him to discover the one ring of power. This is the same ring which will set into motion Frodo Baggins’ (Elijah Wood) own quest to destroy the evil that is Sauron in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”
At Comic-Con just a few short weeks ago, Jackson and company talked about “a wealth of story to tell” in “The Hobbit,” but fans — who were already concerned about two films being made out of the 297-page novel — are asking, “How can they possibly have enough information to make these complex characters seem whole if they are stretching the story out so much?” The answer is simple, according to studio insiders: Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have been studying J.R.R. Tolkien’s 125 pages of notes and have unearthed a multitude of additional story and details to add to the films.
So one question that still remains is which parts of the story will be elaborated on in the films to be able to sustain each of the three films and also keep the true Tolkien fans happy? Also, there is the question of financing an additional film — the first two have already been speculated to cost a total of over $500 million — and will more scenes need to be shot in order to fulfill the needs of three separate films? There are a lot of unanswered questions that I am sure we will have answers to in due time.
So now that we know there will be three films, the final question is when will we be able to see the finish to this journey? While there is no official release date as of yet, the third, as-of-yet-untitled film is expected to hit theaters summer of 2014. So stay tuned to It’s Just Movies for more updates on the ongoing epic trilogy that is “The Hobbit.”
What are your thoughts on this new revelation and are you in favor of splitting “The Hobbit” into three films? Leave a comment and let us know.