Why have two movies based on a single book when you can have three?
That seems to be the basic reasoning behind “The Hobbit” director Peter Jackson‘s statement Monday (July 30) that his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s novel, which was initially conceived as two films, will now be a trilogy. Jackson made the announcement on his Facebook page, and the third movie is set for release in summer 2014.
Jackson says he started thinking about a third “Hobbit” film after watching a rough cut of the first movie and “a large chunk of the second” with his co-writers and producers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.
“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,” Jackson writes. “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.'”
“The Hobbit” is not just and adaptation of Tolkien’s novel, but also some of the appendices he added to “The Lord of the Rings” that fill out the story of Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman of “Sherlock”). Deals are in place with the cast, but it’s not certain yet how much more Jackson needs to film to fill out three films.
Part one of “The Hobbit,” subtitled “An Unexpected Journey,” hits theaters on Dec. 14, while part two, “There and Back Again,” is set for release on Dec. 13, 2013.