Peter Jackson announces Hobbit trilogy
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Peter Jackson announces Hobbit trilogy

2nd August 2012

Director Peter Jackson has revealed that his upcoming films based on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit will now form a trilogy, drawing extra material from the third Lord of the Rings book, The Return of the King.

Filming of The Hobbit recently ended after 266 days and the original plan was to split the film into two parts, with the first instalment due out in December this year.

Though the first film - subtitled An Unexpected Journey - is still scheduled for a 2012 release, Jackson has made the decision to flesh the adaptation out into a trilogy so that extra information he omitted from his original Lord of the Rings film trilogy can be included.

The New Zealander revealed that the decision was only made after he had the chance to look at the footage filmed so far and realised there was potential to tell the complete story of Middle Earth and finally complete a journey he began in 1999, when principal photography for the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings was undertaken.

'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? The answer from our perspective as the filmmaker, and as fans, was an unreserved "Yes",' Jackson added.

The director revealed that the new footage will focus mainly on the Appendices found at the end of The Return of the King, which detail Annals of the Kings and Rulers, The Tale of Years, the family trees of important hobbit families and the Shire Calendar.

'Extending the project to three films 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,' Jackson explained.

He added that the second film - subtitled There and Back Again - is still scheduled for release in December next year, with the third instalment in the new trilogy having a release date of summer 2014.

© W&G Foyle Ltd