Breaking News, Peter Jackson announced on his Facebok page this morning that he will officially be splitting The Hobbit into not two, but three films. There were rumors that this was being discussed in the last two weeks, but I guess I didn’t believe they would really do it. I’m not even sure how I feel about it; am I thrilled that there will be one entire year longer to anticipate a third film, one more premiere to dress up and go to, that much more footage to swoon over? Or am I annoyed that they are just trying to make more money, or that they can’t edit things down, or…I don’t know! I don’t have enough information to form an opinion! Since there will be three movies instead of two, does that mean each segment will be shorter than Jackson’s typical 3 hours? And how does a 300-page book get extended into three movies?! I mean, I know they had already said there would be additions from the Simarillion…does this announcement mean they are adding even more, or is it just that when they finished filming they looked at what the had and realized it was too much material to fit into two movies, so they’re splitting it into three?
Here’s part of the statement:
We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. 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, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of “The Hobbit” films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three.
I would really like some more information. I’m equal parts excited and angry, but mostly confused. I mean, there is a lot of stuff that happens in the short book The Hobbit that is glossed over or summarized, that could easily be drawn out and dramatized at length. I don’t know what all they are going to put in with Gandalf, but as far as Bilbo’s plotline, here’s my guess at where they might break it into three parts: part 1 could end when the dwarves are escaping the elf king via barrels in the river. It’s a good ending because the audience would know they are safe from one danger, but hurtling towards another. That guess is also based partly on “The Scroll” promotional art for part 1, which features several scenes from the story in chronological order and ends with the dwarves in barrells. So then for part 2 they would arrive at Laketown, where they stay for a few weeks in the book although it’s only a few pages. Then they go to the mountain, spend several days looking for the secret door, have the whole drawn-out confrontation with the dragon, the dragon attacks Laketown, the dragon dies. That might be a good place to end the second one. Then in the third one you could have all the set-up of Thorin suddenly being very greedy and irrational about the treasure, the almost-battle between the men, elves, and dwarves, and then at the end the Battle of Dol Guldur of everybody against the goblins and wolves. I guess I can see how that could be drawn out…but you’d need a lot of other things happening in the meantime to cut between. And the movies would have to be shorter, like an hour and half each.
I have a lot of faith in Peter Jackson. So I want to be optimistic about this. But I’d really like some more assurance that it isn’t just a money-grab, that it won’t be completely unnecessary, that these films will be on par with the LOTR trilogy and not an embarrassment. Everything about the production videos so far made me think the two films were going to be awesome. So I really, really hope that the same will be true of the now-three movies. But I’m just not so sure yet.
What do you think?