Update: Warner Bros. has officially announced a title and a release date for the newly added chapter to Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. Note the title swap for the second and third films:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - December 14, 2012
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - December 13, 2013
The Hobbit: There and Back Again - July 18, 2014
Back at Comic-Con Peter Jackson teased fans with the possibility of expanding his new pair of The Hobbit films into a trilogy just like The Lord of the Rings. Fans surprisingly seemed to be somewhat divided into two camps: Those who trust Jackson enough to let him make as many movies as he wants, and those who think The Hobbit is already being stretched thin and a third film would just be making too much out of too little.
Hopefully you were in the first camp, because Jackson has just made a third Hobbit film official.
Variety tells us production in New Zealand is currently restarting (the first two films wrapped not long ago after 266 days of filming), that everyone's contracts have been renegotiated and The Hobbit will once again go in front of cameras. The third film doesn't have a title yet, but it does have a release window of Summer of 2014. At least that last bit should be a bit of a consolation for everyone who doesn't want to wait yet another year to see Peter Jackson conclude his seemingly unending trip to Middle-earth.
Update: Here's a quote from Jackson about why they're going for three:
It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made. Recently Fran, Phil and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first movie - and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved "yes."
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.
It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, "a tale that grew in the telling."
So, what do you think? Now that it's official, are you excited for a third? Or was two movies out of one book already too much?
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