A few days ago we reported that Peter Jackson was ‘deep in talks’ with Warner Bros about turning the two planned Hobbit movies into a trilogy. It’s now been confirmed that’s exactly what’s going to happen, with THR reporting that we’ll get The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and There & Back Again in December 2012 and 2013 as planned, with a third, currently untitled movie arriving some time Summer 2014.
While there’d been rumblings of discontent at the idea of turning it into a trilogy, especially as The Hobbit is a shorter book than any of the three Lord Of The Rings novels, Jackson is ready to defend the decision. He says in a statement, “Upon recently viewing a cut of the first film, and a chunk of the second, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and I were very pleased with the way the story was coming together. We recognized that 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, gave rise to a simple question: do we tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved ‘yes.’
“We know the strength of our cast and of the characters they have brought to life. We know creatively how compelling and engaging the story can be and—lastly, and most importantly—we know how much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur would remain untold if we did not fully realize this complex and wonderful adventure. I’m delighted that New Line, MGM and Warner Bros. are equally enthusiastic about bringing fans this expansive tale across three films.”
It’s unclear is this means more footage will need to be shot, although Jackson has previously said he’s always intended to include a lot of material Tolkien included in the appendixes to Lord Of The Rings and that he’s shot a lot of extra footage. We’ll reserve judgement, but it does seem a bit of a stretch to say we really need The Hobbit as a trilogy.