He already made a trilogy for The Lord of the Rings, but it’s becoming more apparent that filmmaker Peter Jackson — who just wrapped production on a two-part version of The Hobbit — may be returning to The Shire yet again. We brought news earlier this month when the director teased Comic-Con fans about going back to shoot additional footage for the movies, based on at least 125 additional pages of J. R. R. Tolkien‘s notes that expand the universe. But there was no indication how serious the studio (Warner Bros.’ New Line in this case) was about making a third film to expand it into a trilogy. That is, until now.
THR and LA Times both report that talks have begun with the cast the last few weeks, specifically Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, about returning for a third movie. The studio is intent on seeing it come to fruition, as after all, this could easily mean another $1 billion in just box-office receipts for them. While nothing is set in stone, due to the complex logistics it would take for all these actors to return, especially after most of them spent the better half of the last year-plus on the New Zealand set, it looks like we’ll get an answer soon.
One unnamed source from the studio said, “If we’re going to do it, we have to make a decision soon. It’s strongly driven by the filmmakers’ desire to tell more of the story.” But looking at WB’s future slate, it’s also clearly a monetary choice with Harry Potter and Batman franchises behind them, they have two major tentpoles next year in Man of Steel and Pacific Rim, but not else much beyond that. If Jackson went the trilogy route, it could buy them time to focus on other franchises to launch.
My major concern with this decision is having the necessary material to justify a third film, and not just on a basic level. The Lord of the Rings films worked so wondrously because despite being stronger together, they each worked greatly on their own. With Jackson shooting for just two parts, despite how much extra footage he has, I sincerely hope he can structurally pull off such a feat of making three compelling blockbusters. With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opening on December 14th, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again hitting theaters a year later on December 13th, 2013, the filmmakers do have enough time to presumably get a third film in by later 2014. With the studio wanting this decision in the very near feature, check back for an update soon.
Do you think Jackson could pull off a third film? Would you want to see a trilogy or just two parts?
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