'The Hobbit' to become 3 films?
What began as a comment by Peter Jackson at Comic Con a few weeks ago now seems to have picked up steam, even after Warner Bros said their whole intention was just two films for Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit. Will the two films become three?
Jackson told Mike Fleming at 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.”
Warner Bros seems now to be warming to the idea. While I know that turning a two films into three would make the bean counters happy, the logical question is (to paraphrase Jurassic Park), just because you can make three films, does not mean you should. While I’ll grant you this could be the last trip into the world of Tolkien for a long time (The Similarion remains entrenched with the Tolkien Estate and who have, at this writing, no intention of selling the rights –as Jackson pointed out, the Estate was none too pleased with his Lord of the Rings trilogy), can he take a novel he’s already stretched into two films by stretching into a third without risking the magical aspect of the series just for, what it would amount to, a larger payday for Warner Bros?
Yes, Tolkien created a magical world, and seemed obsessed with expanding it. But do we need to see every bit he wrote, mashed with a narrative where they’ve already created a new character to help move the story forward? Plus, since TLOR, Jackson has shown what happens when he’s given a large budget and creative control -the unnecessary remake of King Kong and the uneven The Lovely Bones.
Still, I do trust him with the material. Then again, I would have been happy with just one film of The Hobbit.