At Comic-Con a couple weeks ago, Peter Jackson expressed an interest in splitting the two Hobbit movies into three and returning to New Zealand to film scenes from The Appendices of The Return of the King. Ten days ago, Warner denied they were planning to split the films into three. Their newest shipment of yayo must have arrived since then, because now THR says the studio is now much more excited about the idea.
Warner Bros., Jackson, producer Fran Walsh and writer-producer Philippa Boyens began exploring the logistics of what it would take to make another movie. Those talks are said to have accelerated in recent days, with the studio on board if the right financial arrangements can be achieved. That includes securing new actor deals for the expansive cast as well as shoring up certain rights associated with the property (The Hobbit has a long a tortured rights history.) [THR via /film]
Principal photography just wrapped on the two current Hobbit films. If they go ahead with a third movie, the plan is to shoot scenes for two months next summer for a film released in 2014. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in the U.S. on December 14th of this year and The Hobbit: There and Back Again is currently slated for December 13, 2013.
As for Peter Jackson’s reasoning behind filming the 125 pages of The Appendices to turn Hobbit into a trilogy, he tells Deadline:
“That goes back to JRR Tolkien writing The Hobbit first, for children, and only after did he develop his mythology much more over the 16 or 17 years later when The Lord of the Rings came out, which is way more epic and mythic and serious. What people have to realize is we’ve adapted The Hobbit, plus taken this additional 125 pages of notes, that’s what you’d call them. Because Tolkien himself was planning the rewrite The Hobbit after The Lord of the Rings, to make it speak to the story of The Lord of the Rings much more. In the novel, Gandalf disappears for various patches of time. In 1936, when Tolkien was writing that book, he didn’t have a clue what Gandalf was doing. But later on, when he did The Lord of the Rings and he’d hit on this whole epic story, he was going to go back and revise The Hobbit and he wrote all these notes about how Gandalf disappears and was really investigating the possible return of Sauron, the villain from The Lord of the Rings. Sauron doesn’t appear at all in The Hobbit. Tolkien was retrospectively fitting The Hobbit to embrace that mythology. He never wrote that book, but there are 125 pages of notes published at the back of Return of the King in one of the later editions. It was called The Appendices, and they are essentially his expanded Hobbit notes. So we had the rights to those as well and were allowed to use them.” Said Jackson: “We haven’t just adapted The Hobbit; we’ve adapted that book plus great chunks of his appendices and woven it all together. The movie explains where Gandalf goes; the book never does. We’ve explained it using Tolkien’s own notes. That helped inform the tone of the movie, because it allowed us to pull in material he wrote in The Lord of the Rings era and incorporate it with The Hobbit.”