If you thought the upcoming film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was overkill at two movies, it’s now three! Director Peter Jackson yesterday announced that Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, and MGM, which jointly are producing and distributing the film, have green-lighted a third installment. In order to stretch the story presented in The Hobbit, which in print is roughly 300 pages, material covering the same time period as The Hobbit plus the following 60 years leading up to the action of Lord of the Rings will be taken from Tolkien’s other writings.
The yet unnamed third leg of the now trilogy is scheduled for a summer 2014 release. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again will debut December 2012 and 2013, respectively.
I realize I’m in the vast, vast, vast minority here, but I think Jackson has gone a little bonkers. The guy can’t make a movie that isn’t three hours, and after the bloated mess of King Kong you’d think people would be more wary, but the geekosphere is buzzing with praise. Me, I think he’s out of control and needs to be reeled in, but the studio execs just have $ in their eyes and don’t care. He could put naked women cutting up babies with straight razors into The Hobbit and they’d okay it if it put an extra five bucks in their pockets.
Do we really need the extra stuff to tell the story of The Hobbit? Countless millions enjoyed the self-contained story in print for decades, so how necessary and useful is the incorporated material? I guess we’ll find out in a few years.