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The bold ‘Hobbit’ trilogy decision and what to expect

August 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm by MrCere  - 

We all listened to and read Peter Jackson’s words from Comic-Con about three possible “Hobbit,” movies carefully. But we didn’t listen to all the words and we missed a few things.

He told us. He told us — he did.

He said exactly what he meant, he said it plainly and the media and fans (and me) tried to figure out what he meant when he told us in plainness. Monday, Jackson dropped an atomic bomb of news and fandom reacted accordingly.

“The Hobbit,” adapted for the screen from the 300-page, 75-year-old book by J.R.R. Tolkien changed from from two movies to three in the blink of a Facebook post.

AMBITION
More on the words we ignored in a minute. We need to figure out when these films break, what it means for fans and websites and studios and cinema and the director, but lets not rush past the size and scope of this news. Lets not walk around Paris admiring all the cafes and churches without also pausing and noticing the big tower in the center of town.

We witnessed, the last few weeks since Comic-Con, something monumental, unprecedented, unparalleled and a little bit crazy. Jackson (and when we say “Jackson” we always mean the director and Walsh, Boyens and a team of others supporting their vision) is in unchartered territory here.

Before we examine what just happened, lets review to make sure we have the big picture in perspective:

  • Jackson, once best known for horror and inappropriate muppets, has built a filmmaking empire in what was once considered the more unlikely of spots in the world.
  • He delivered an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of The Rings,” that previously was thought to be “unfilmable.” It was highly successful.
  • He made fantasy films that went mainstream and became part of popular culture. (See “Dungeons & Dragons,” from 2000, just months before “Fellowship of The Ring,” to see how that usually turns out.)
  • He won Academy Awards for a genre film, including Best Director, immortalizing him.
  • He is a “Sir.”
  • He doesn’t go to Hollywood, Hollywood comes to him — 15 hours away by air.
  • He helped build what is currently considered the best, or at least among the elite, special effects house in the world.
  • He reluctantly took on a pair of films based on “The Hobbit,” after initially deciding not to direct them.
  • He decided to film in 3D and at 48fps when most theaters couldn’t (can’t) even exhibit the film at that rate. Hello boundaries? Meet Peter.

 

So this guy, already walking a tightrope and telling the media, “I’m very happy to be the guinea pig,” while the film industry watches his exploration of groundbreaking storytelling, decides to take on a little extra challenge.

Oh and by the way, it is August. Let that sink in: It . . . Is . . . August. With “The Hobbit,” world premiere scheduled for late November and world-wide screenings set for December, there are approximately three months (or 90-days if you prefer) for Jackson to deliver a finished film complete with special effects, color timing, a score and marketing.

So with all of this in mind, Jackson takes an in-progress look at his films and decides three films would really be better than two. So he says, “Hey studios: We want to make three films, not two. I know we have them already named and a marketing plan is in place and all — but three would be better. By the way, we are going to need to shoot more footage for a couple of months (many complete movies only ever shoot for a couple of months — or less) and that is going to cost more money. We better have the behind-the-scenes team along too.”

And the studios, well, they said yes. Eventually we will hear if they said, “YES YES YES!” or if they said, “Well, uh, hmm, well, urrrr, yes.”

Look, this stuff just doesn’t happen. Big epic movies don’t get upsized and especially not months before release. “Ben Hur,” didn’t. “Apocalypse Now,” didn’t. “Lawrence of Arabia,” didn’t. “The Ten Commandments,” didn’t. And don’t tell me about “Twilight,” or “Harry Potter,” because they were planned as such.

Jackson is Christopher Columbus here, sailing right off the edge of the map.

Whatever else happens, however these movies succeed or fail artistically and financially, nobody can ever claim the powers behind them didn’t swing for the fences. Mark this down and I sure hope somebody is taking notes, because the events of the last couple of weeks are going to be legendary. Soar or sink, the ambition at work here just boggles the mind. If your mind isn’t boggled a little, you aren’t fully grasping what happened. Also, how good are these behind-the-scenes stories going to be?

FOR THE STUDIOS

Large professional movie studios (big businesses) like MGM and Warner Bros. spend a lot of money but the do so by making smart risks and minimizing exposure. They plan and they execute the plan and they market and the have a lot of moving parts to make that happen.

The two “Hobbit” movies had titles and marketing plans and product tie-ins like toys and books and all manner of things. By now items are well in the pipeline. Licensing and marketing and publicity are working hard to make sure things go right in December. They don’t leave it to chance or wait until the last minute.

When Jackson wanted to change and when he convinced studios to do it, the ground shifted under the feet of hundreds and maybe thousands of people. Film 1 books for example are well into production with those now dated movie titles in mind. Consider how complicated this becomes for book publishers who feature certain characters from Film 1 that might not be in the film any more. The same goes for action figures. The same goes for publicity tours and what if marketing laid plans to have support characters at premieres or press junkets when they no longer even appear in the film? I am sure I am missing a lot of people and plans that were disrupted on Monday.

To Jackson’s credit, he just wants to make what he feels is the best possible movie and he is willing to stick his neck out to do it.

Don’t think for one second that the studio just ships out a shorter movie and calls it a day. A gigantic machine, imagine the one that carried the space shuttle to the launching pad, was in motion with all its moving parts and the studio was willing to put it to a stop, change its direction and start it up again at a quicker pace than it is used to. This wasn’t done lightly and multiple studios had to sign off on it.

This is a big deal.

WHAT JACKSON SAID AT COMIC-CON

“It’s all very premature. We have got incredible source material with the appendices. The Hobbit is obviously the novel, but we also have the rights to use this 125 pages of additional notes that Tolkien expanded the world of The Hobbit that’s published at the end of Return of the King. We’ve used some of that so far, just in the last few weeks as we’ve been prepping out the shooting and thinking about the shape of the story. Eventually Philippa [Boyens] and Fran [Walsh] and I have been talking to the studio about other things that we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we could possibly persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting. It’ll be more than a few weeks actually, a bit of shooting, additional shooting next year. What form that will end up taking, the discussions are pretty early so there isn’t anything to report. But certainly there’s other parts of the story that we’d like to tell that we haven’t had a chance to tell yet. So we’re just trying to have those conversations with the studio at the moment.”

He said some pretty interesting things in there about appendicies and confirmed that he wanted to do more shooting. Its no wonder everybody focused on those things but he was dropping some other big clues and doing it repeatedly.

In Hall H in front of 6,500 people Jackson talked about the process of cutting films.

“ . . . it’s not until you get to the very end and you can start to look at a “cut” assembly of the film . . . Look, at the end of the day, you end up with a film that’s too long. And so for purely, for what the studio and the distributors need, you need to trim it down a little bit. Which we try and do. We’re not very good at making short movies, unfortunately.

In the international press room, TORn staffer Quickbeam related (not quoted) that Jackson said virtually the same thing. In answer to a question about the length of the first film he quipped that it would be maybe two hours, two-and-a-half, (noticeable giggles in the room), two forty-five, three? (more laughter) followed by the same message. “Really, we’re not good at making short films.”

I heard him say the same thing to a different audience.

There it is. Twice — or thrice. Once to a room of 6,500 and then again to a potential video and television audience of millions: They were making longer films than the commercial ideal. Jackson not only said he wanted to make three “Hobbit” films, he said why, in detail.

SO NOW WHAT?

Now we can plan on three movies. We can still count on December 14th for the first film’s release, December 13th 2013 for the second film release and we confirmed “Summer 2014” with two sources for the final film. Warners gets a big tent-pole summer blockbuster out of it. Just a guess, but I bet that was part of the negotiations.

Details will unfold in the days, weeks or months ahead, but many or all of the cast and crew that just finished shooting on the two films will return to participate on the now three films. Again, Columbus sailed off the map. And the revelation and answer to all the flying rumors just creates a whole lot more questions. Because this is turning into a novella, we are only going to tackle one of these burning issues for now.

ADAPTATION

Jackson never said “bridge film.” I got that one wrong last week but I wasn’t alone.  That idea never quite went away and all the talk about the appendicies, made it seem likely. But Jackson said three “Hobbit” films and that is just what he meant. In the process of adapting the book to a film, in the tradition of Tolkien, it was “a tale that grew in the telling.” (And hey! This article too!)

Jackson, thankfully, promised to do one thing differently than the book: He needed to flesh out the Dwarf characters. Dwarven culture, character and history needed to be revealed here; Each of Thorin’s company needed to have dialog and motives and story arcs and character development. This would take time, screen time and then whatever starts in the establishing film then needs to be finished in what comes next.

From my time on set, I cannot provide any details, but I can say it was my impression that the actors and the writers wanted fully realized characters on screen and not caricatures. This, for my movie-ticket-money, makes for a much better but longer film.

Other features besides Dwarves we already know about from the media that could chew up screentime:

  • Evangeline Lily’s character of Tauriel
  • Ringwraiths in tombs
  • Radagast The Brown
  • White Council
  • Galadriel and Gandalf
  • Dol Guldur
  • Bilbo telling Frodo the story

 

There are others, but the point is, this isn’t a direct translation of “The Hobbit” but an adaptation. The above is a list of major, and in my view appropriate, additions.

Another potential problem with the story from the beginning was Smaug. This creature should be the most magnificent dragon ever put to film. And while he isn’t on screen that much (unless there are major revisions) his looming presence is enormous from the moment Gandalf, Thorin and Bilbo discuss a map and a key. His storyline threatened to also be giant and magnificent and disruptive. In fact, way back in May 2008, I wrote, in an article called “The Dragon Problem,” that Smaug’s story was a threat to feel like a climax.

Jackson handled a somewhat similar problem in “Fellowship of the Ring,” with the Balrog, but that creature didn’t talk or have much depth and wasn’t haunting the company from the first moment. Anyway, Smaug was always going to be a big challenge for these films. Three films is a definite solution to that adaptation problem.

As the reality of two films became three in the minds of fans and casually-interested-parties across the social media universe, it was astounding to me how many people who were okay with a two-part adaptation were adverse to a three-part revision. Why? “Because it could never work.”

It may be an assumption on my part but I don’t think most of them have ever written a screenplay, much less adapted a book and know next to nothing about the process or what would work or wouldn’t work. Nevertheless, there was a reaction among many that “The Hobbit” could fill two films but never three. Since this belief is held by consumers, the perception matters even if it isn’t founded in any sort of experience or understanding of the adaptation process.

TORn staffer Kristen Thompson points out that The unabridged audio book is about 11 hours long.

I am no expert either, but it seems clear to me that not only does it have a chance to work, it has a chance to be better, partly because of Smaug. It could end with his * SPOILER ALERT * death but it could also end with his departure from The Lonely Mountain leaving the next film to focus on the battle at Laketown. If Smaug isn’t a big part of the finish, I agree to shave my head and skip the third film entirely.

HOW WILL THE THREE FILMS BREAK?

After years of speculation, the two-film break was absolutely locked when Entertainment Weekly released “Hobbit” images just before Comic-Con. The barrel escape from the Elves was the end of the first film.

How cool! How dated.

The evidence above, along with a collection of other hints and comments, make it clear (at least to me) that Film 2 was Film Too Long. Isn’t that just what Jackson was telling us at Comic-Con? I hear him saying that this collection of characters were compelling and busy and he couldn’t find a good way to keep the film to a manageable length without shortchanging the story. Just a stab here but I bet it was not a little bit long but significantly lengthy.

Whose lines and arcs are you going to clip? Dori’s? Nori’s? Bifur’s? Bofur’s? Fili’s?

And the writers didn’t flesh out the story and then want to cut all the flesh.

I risk sounding like a Jackson fanboy here but what I believe is what I believe.

This change is not only bold and daring, it is coming from the right place. This isn’t a money grab. This isn’t the studio stretching out a franchise. This is team Jackson feeling that a story, a complicated one with multiple threads and characters, needed more time to tell.

Now, my inner devil’s advocate would say that Jackson is so powerful now that nobody can say NO to him and even if it is a bad creative idea, the studios involved want another movie. He, that inner devil, even fears that we could end up with films padded with invented extras instead of material adapted from the original source. I confess that the Gollum and Sam and Frodo conflict on the stairs in ROTK not only didn’t work for me, it still bothers me. Every viewer has his or her own taste and I still cherish the film. In this case, I think my inner devil’s advocate is wrong.

But I digress.

The ending of Film 2 is, I think, settled. So where will Film 1 end now? I took a TORn staff poll. Here are the responses in the order I received them.

“My vote for the ending of #1 is the dwarves getting captured in Mirkwood. – deej

I think it will be the capture by the goblins — Entmaiden

When they are captured by the wood elves after mirkwood — Linuxelf

I think the first movie now ends with them captured in Mirkwood. That allows for the second film to start with them escaping and ending with the death of Smaug. The third film dealing with The Battle of Five armies and some more background information type stuff. — Elessar

Where will the first film end? In the past, my best guess for the “split” was between “Flies and Spiders” and “Barrels out of the Bond”. But now I’m not so sure! Either way, the film could very well close with the greater goings on with The White Council and the Necromancer. — Celedor

I’m a bit torn on where the first film would end. My personal preference would be when Bilbo, the Dwarves and Gandalf are stuck up the trees with the Wargs and goblins getting the bonfire ready. — kelvarhin

As for where the first movie will end, Mirkwood seems the most logical, but I think that’s too far into the book to be able to stretch out the Hobbit plot for two more movies. So, I’m with kelvarhin, (wargs and burning trees), or it will be a climax drawn from sources outside The Hobbit story proper (Gandalf in Dol Guldur, etc.) — Altaira

I believe that the end of film #1 will get pushed back as far as
Riddles in the Dark now. Probably up until Bilbo escapes through
the back door of the Goblin town and rejoins the rest of the
fellowship. There’s another two to three hours to film, and with no
bridge they’re not going to push much past Bilbo’s return to Bag End.
So they need to push a lot of material from #1 into #2, and from #2
into #3. — Demosthenes

When I spent five weeks on “The Hobbit,” set, I was never given a script to read. I consider that a stroke of good fortune. Had I read one and after signing a NDA, I would be handcuffed to speculate on a lot of matters, including this one.

Instead, just like any person anywhere, I have evaluated the book carefully and the appendices. I have read Jackson’s quotes over and over. I have daydreamed about scenes I hope are included in the films. I have tried to think cinematically. I have spent an absurd amount of time coming to a conclusion I trust.

I think I have an answer.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” will end (at least in my mind until the cinema shows me otherwise) at the conclusion of a major conflict and a narrow escape. You can see it on the chart above. My conclusion is that it goes something like this: Frodo frames the story for Bilbo. After a good deal of setting the table in Bag End (savor that pun), the journey begins. We meet trolls. Before long bad luck and Goblins show up, combat mayhem ensues, Bilbo is lost, he Riddles in the Dark, by luck he joins Thorin and Company again but pursued by goblins and wolves, they get out of the frying pan and into the fire. The rescue from there makes a grand film ending for me, grand indeed. Audiences will feel satisfied but also hunger for more. The first six chapters of “The Hobbit,” along with considerable historical background make for — at least in my mind — a really strong trilogy opening.

The second film, Smaug’s conflict, seems most obvious and agreed on by the whole of the internet. Others have claimed the final film will not have enough material. I see heaps of book content; There are politics, the aftermath of destruction, race tension, the antics of a certain burglar, the gathering of troops from regions of Middle-earth, secret bird messengers, intricate and highly personal character conflict, a big magnificent battle and finally, the wrapping up of all the loose threads. It feels to me like it works very well as a closing to three films.

If nothing else, Warner Bros., MGM, New Line Cinema and Jackson have given us six more months of fun anticipation. If you read this whole thing, I should probably buy you a soda.

Larry D. Curtis is a senior staff member at TheOneRing.net but his opinions are his own. The website, established in 1999, remains not-for-profit and is run by its all-volunteer staff.

Posted in Blu-Ray, Books Publications, Cast Q&A, Character Q&A, Collectibles, Director news, Director Q&A, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, LEGO, Location Q&A, Merchandise, MGM, MrCere in New Zealand, New Line Cinema, Other Merchandise, Peter Jackson, Rumors Spy News, Sideshow Collectibles, Studios, The Hobbit, Toys, Warner Bros., Weta Collectibles, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop on August 2, 2012 by The bold ‘Hobbit’ trilogy decision and what to expect | Discuss
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127 responses to “The bold ‘Hobbit’ trilogy decision and what to expect”

  1. RMM says:

    People often say that the Silmarilion
    is unfilmable, but they do not explain why. Yes, it would stink as “a film,”
    but it could be positively brilliant as a series of ideally around five films
    (although probably anywhere between four and eight films would be reasonably
    possible–and keep in mind Harry Potter’s success with eight films before
    dismissing the viability of this). Obviously, all the unnecessary details and
    the minor stories must be shorn away, but the major narrative stories are every
    bit as filmable as LOTR or The Hobbit–in some ways, even more so in my
    opinion. Of course, the entirety of the Bible would be unfilmable, but that
    hasn’t stopped numerous filmmakers from making an extraordinary number of
    Biblical films. It’s just that they film narrative things like the story of
    Moses and the Ten Commandments, Samson and Delilah, the story of Jesus, etc.,
    and not the “begat” lists or more philosophical elements. Naturally, the
    Silmarilion could be dealt with in the same way.

    Some of the stories in
    the Silmarilion are excellent and more nuanced and on a larger scale than
    anything in the LOTR. Most people focus on the key three, most detailed stories
    in the book (Beren, Turin, Tuor), but just seriously think about the potential
    for even a “lesser” main story such as that of Feanor’s, which is absolutely
    necessary to set up the larger connecting story of the Silmarils and the battle
    against Morgoth:

    The elf prince Feanor
    creates the phenomenal Silmaril jewels. Tolkien’s Lucifer/Satan character
    Melkor/Morgoth tricks his way out of the captivity of the god-like Valar and
    then allies himself with the unbelievably powerful and monstrous spider
    Ungoliant. Together they steal the Silmarils from Feanor and destroy the Two
    Trees of Valinor, which provide light for the world in lieu of a sun and moon,
    thereby temporarily plunging the world into a twilight darkness. Feanor
    obsessively wants to do absolutely anything to recover the Silmarils and pushes
    almost his whole family into a horrible quest to fight Morgoth for the
    Silmarils. Many of his family members would also make great characters
    (including his niece Galadriel, whose character and history could be much
    elaborated on in films of the Silmarilion), and their arguments and
    deliberations and divisions have the potential to outweigh the later White
    Counsel in interest and importance. In defiance of the gods (who could also be
    brilliant secondary characters), Feanor convinces his people to flee the holy
    land of Valinor and to pursue Morgoth into Middle Earth. This leads to the
    chaotic, violent Kinslaying at Alqualonde, which has great cinematic potential,
    and the backstabbing ditching of more of his kinsmen, as Feanor sails to Middle
    Earth in the stolen ships from Alqualonde, leaving his left-behind, now
    god-forsaken kinsmen to essentially cross the deadly, frozen north pole of that
    world to finally reach Middle Earth on their own. Once Feanor and his sons
    reach Middle Earth in the stolen and quickly destroyed ships, they soon become
    embroiled in the already ongoing wars of the elves of Middle Earth against
    Morgoth. In one of these great battles Feanor meets his end fighting balrogs, while
    still trying to defeat Morgoth to get the Silmarils back (this could be a fine
    climax). However, his sons have already vowed to recover the Silmarils or to
    die trying and Feanor reminds them of this oath as he dies, so we know that the
    quest will continue, even as Feanor’s personal story ends. This would lead
    right into a second film, which could particularly focus on Beren’s exciting,
    action-packed recovery of one of the Silmarils from Morgoth. How can you
    possibly claim that this is not a legitimate narrative story that could be made
    into a movie (and even more so in regard to some of the later stories in the
    Silmarilion)? This has *excellent* cinematic potential in my opinion.

    In fact, there are a
    lot of parallels with the LOTR here: the Silmarils for the ring, Morgoth for
    Sauron, Ungoliant for Shelob, the Two Trees of Valinor for the White Tree of
    Gondor, multiple balrogs, and some big battles. The difference is that
    everything here in the Silmarilion is on a much bigger or more important scale.
    The War of Wrath at the end of the overall Quenya Silmarilion positively dwarfs
    any other battle that Tolkien wrote about. The Two Trees of Valinor are the
    great progenitors of the White Tree of Gondor, and the latter certainly pales
    in importance to the Two Trees of Valinor. Morgoth is a Vala god/fallen angel.
    He is Sauron’s master and mentor and a far more powerful figure than Sauron.
    Ungoliant makes Shelob look like an ant.

    Beyond this, the
    Silmarilion is much darker and more mature. It deals with deeper, more
    disturbing issues and has the potential to be more profound than the LOTR or
    esp. the Hobbit. Feanor, for example, is a very ambivalent character and really
    a true anti-hero (and the same goes later for Turin too to an extent). And what
    about Feanor’s family members, like his brothers, nephews, and Galadriel, who
    although good themselves, get sucked into Feanor’s violence and evil? These are
    far more nuanced and ambivalent characters than any purely third-age character
    that Tolkien created. The religious angle with the Valar gods and the holy land
    of Valinor in the West also has the potential to add more depth and meaning to
    the story.

    Is the Silmarilion
    filmable? As a series of films focusing on key stories, the answer has to be
    absolutely yes.

  2. Goldsmith says:

    Gud on yer m8
    Like many dwarves, I await the fate of the many.

  3. StriderIsMyDog'sName says:

    Yay! I read the whole thing…. Now I get a soda. It was SO good!

  4. Jaspisstone3 says:

    I eat my shoes if “The Desolation Of Smaug” will be the second movie title. It just doesn’t fit the triology! And the others New Line considerated (“The Battle Of Five Armies” and “Riddles in the Dark”) are just more worse. These are great chapter titles (or geographic places) but they aren’t worth to be the title of the second movie.
    Pls everybody, comment and reply, like someone, who suggested The Hobbit: “The Road Goes Ever On” for the 2nd or third movie.

  5. thomasmonteath says:

    There is only one place at which to end film one, and that is with the Dwarves internment by the Wood-elves. If it had remained a two film adaptation, then it perhaps made sense for the first film to include Barrels Out of Bond. But the escape is likely to be an elaborate sequence, as Bilbo springs the various dwarves from their cells and evades the guards. Thus it fits better as an opening ‘James Bond’/ thriller style first scene for the second film.

    The notion that the films should break after ‘riddles in the dark’, or even the escape from the wargs, or even meeting with Beorn, simply holds no water. Bear in mind that the progression from Bag End to Goblin Town, and even the escape from Goblin town, is virtually identical to the first half of FotR (hobbiton; wild lands; rivendell; climb into the mountains; moria; balrog; escape to the forest). But FotR had another hour or so of screen time thereafter. In other words, ‘riddles in the dark’ is simply too early in the story. It would mean the film has a beginning, a middle, but no end.

    I suspect the first hour will be the first act, which is the setup: from the establishment of the Company and the stakes at Bagend, through the journey to the Trollshaws; encounter with trolls; arrival in rivendell and the meeting of the White Council, and Elrond’s outline of the history to the Swords they find in the trolls’ cave (including a flashback to the history of Dwarf/ Goblin antagonism). This first act will be the setup both for the rest of the film and for the whole trilogy.

    The second hour will be the second act – the conflict that must be resolved in the story. This will include the climb into the misty mountains and the storm and stone giants; to the incident in the ‘front porch’; to Goblin town; Bilbo meeting Gollum; him being reunited with the dwarves; being chased up trees by wargs. This second act will be the conflict at the heart of the film because the Company is in peril throughout, threatened with being killed/ eaten/ divided (Bilbo is treated with disdain by the dwarves, and in Goblin Town actually divided from them physically), and there is the threat that the quest could be brought to a premature and bloody end.

    The third hour will be the third act, the resolution, as well as set-up for the next film. This hour will include their escape from the wargs via eagles; the eagles aviary; the introductions to Beorn; beorn’s house; the road to mirkwood and gandalf’s departure; the Company’s walk into mirkwood (including Bombur’s incident at the river); the spiders; capture by the elves (and no doubt a couple of scenes at the end of Gandalf, having visiting Radagast, deciding on the need to attack Dol Guldor). This third act will have a resolution of the conflicts of act two (the threats to their lives, and the beginnings of a change in the Dwarves attitude towards Mr Baggins), a reunion of Bilbo with the Company, and then a necessary recuperation at Beorn’s to allow the audience to catch its breath. It will then have the final scenes that both throw them all back into the fire, and in doing set up a cliffhanger (incarceration by the Wood-elves) to draw the audience back for film two.

    The thing to remember is that adaptation does not focus on recreating blow-by-blow scenes of the source material. When doing an adaptation, the writers will focus on key themes and key characters (and their arcs). In The Hobbit, much is left to the imagination, but the film makers will have to fill in the gaps. Thus Riddles in the Dark will last about as long in the film as it took to read in the book, whereas some other scenes that are less dialogue focused will be hugely expanded, as film is a visual medium, and it takes time to show what Tolkien may have described in a sentence (he was notoriously abstract about battle scenes, probably because he was a First World War veteran who found himself keeping the scent of battle at arms length). So those who think Riddles in the Dark or the Wargs is a good place to end the film are focusing too much on ‘things that happen’ in the book, rather than what is much more important from a narrative perspective: character and its arc.

  6. Bròr says:

    Battle of Azanulbizar will be in the first or second Hobbit.

  7. Jaspisstone3 says:

    Good comment, but I don’t think that todays technology isn’t yet able to show Beleriand on screen (as it is even more legendary than middle-earth). It would be the same as filming middle-earth (LOTR and HOBBIT movies) in the eighties. So don’t spoil it by overhessitation, there will come a time that this epic boook will be set to the screen.
    Don’t worry, there still are many things that maybe could get into movies or series yet from middle-earth, I think about the second age, the last alliance, The war between the dunedain of Arnor and the witch-king of Angmar, the path of the Istari, Aragorns hunt for Gollem, The North during the war on the ring (Lotlorien, Rivendell, Mirkwood, Dol Guldur, The Dwarves of Erebor, Rhûn, Dale and lake-town), …

    One thing might be possible: animated sillmarillion movies…

  8. Jaspisstone3 says:

    At Dagor Bragolach and Nirnaeth Arnoediad to it and you got some epic seven movies. These two battles are rly essential for filming the first age and there can be easily made a movie about each one of them, but again, I think modern technology isn’t good enough to show Beleriand on screen! Patience my friend…

  9. Alan says:

    Definitely read the book, it’s an amazing story

  10. Alan says:

    If I remember correctly, Bilbo wasn’t exactly riding on the eagle’s back….

  11. Kaye E says:

    Thank you for the article. I also think that they have already filmed much stuff that they will use in the third film. By the way, I would have preferred the LOTR made for four films instead of three, because of the lenght and depth of the storylines and the last two missing a few interesting things that are in the books. But films are someone´s creations in many ways as are the books, so if the rights are alright, Peter Jackson is allowed to make the three films without everyone giving their blessings. I´ll give mine, still. Good luck to him. Looks interesting so far.

  12. Josh Randall says:

    Saying Peter Jackson is like Christopher Columbus freaked me out when I scanned this article – glad you meant a voyaging pioneer setting sail across the globe and not the Harry Potter 1 & 2 director (although Home Alone is quality)

  13. Kevint40 says:

    Gandalf, Gandalf, Gandalf. He disappears for 2/3 of the book. So, there is a huge story arch for PJ to play, otherwise why bother using Radagast but to flesh out the character of wizards and help set up Gandalf for who we meet in LoTR. There is the similar need to spend time dramatizing the ‘rise’ of the Necromancer and Gandalf’s spy mission to Dol Gundur (which by the way is in Mirkwood, which makes getting to Mirkwood key to film 1 so Gandalf can leave them their to go off in film 2 on his own journey). Gandalf and the Necormancer’s stories will tie these 3 films in with the LoTR trilogy as much or more than finding the ring does. We are going to get a good chunk (at least an hour over 2 films) of White Council and Dol Guldur, it will elevate and frame the central action of the Hobbit as part of the opening chess moves by Sauron as he plots his return.

  14. Ecthel1on says:

    Me as well! I have been naging about this for ages. Imagine how amazing to see the different houses defend gondolin. To see Rog and his comrades slaying balrog after balrog.
    And so many great characters. Turgon, Rog, Glorfindel, Tuor, Thorondor, Galdor. And yes, we would get to see the number one Evil. Morgoth.

    You could make a film company that specialises in Tolkien storys. You could make a movie about every short story there is.

  15. tolkien fan says:

    Yes Silmarillon would be epic. I think you would have to barrow from Lost tales as well.Imagine all the differnt elve races, fall of Numenor to many to list. I think there would have to be alot of creative ad-lib. It could be done though. It would have to be a long series like H.P. in order to do it justice. Just think LOTR was thought to be impossible to be done.

  16. GEOTEL says:

    SILMARILLION INTO FILMS??? SLLLLOURRRRP!!!! A DECADES DREAM.
    MY OPINION IS THAT IT IS EASIER TO BE FILMED THAN LOTR BECAUSE OF ITS OWN VOIDS AS BOOK. SO, AS IT IS UNDETAILED, IN FACT IT WILL HELP ON THE SCRIPT. AS I REMEMBER, THESE MANY MANY MANY DETAILS WERE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN THE LOTR FILMING, WEREN’T?
    IN ANY CASE, ELVE KINGS AND PRINCES, VALAR, MAIAR, AINUR, THE ULTIMATE EVIL AND NOT HIS… SERVANT, GLAURUG, THE BATTLE OF TEARS, BEREN AND LUTHIEN, BETRAYAL AND FALL OF GONDOLIN, EARENDIL, WHITE ELVES ARMY….THEY COYLD EASELY MAKE AS GETTING CRASY.
    AND THE BATTLE ON PELENNOR FIELDS WILL LOOK LIKE A LITTLE FAIRY TALE.
    MAYBE IN 2022??? WHO KNOWS.

  17. Matt Clayton says:

    I very much agree with the author of the article on the splitting of the films. The other people quoted in the article are definitely wrong. Not only does everything revealed so far in the behind-the-scenes footage and pictures HAVE to be in the first film (as stated by Peter Jackson), but the film would never end on a cliff-hanger.

  18. C. Bowen says:

    I read the whole article, and your opinions were pleasant, insightful and a good read. Thank you, and I’ll take a rain check on the soda.

  19. Ayup Mr Cere…
    It’s all well and good trying to convince us that ‘This ain’t a Money Grab and that Team Jackson wants to do the story Justice’ but you know it is, and we do too. If it isn’t then why then, when he had the opportunity, did he ignore ‘The scouring of the shire’ entirely in ROTK, and give us the Turkey we got instead ? Why weren’t the breaks ‘Jiggled’ there and then, and avery Important chapter in theBook dramatized to give us a book adaptation LOTR Fans recognise ? Plus Why was the atrocious Faramir sub plot added, and all the other Guff ? Warners and Jackson KNEW these films would be a Moneyspiiner, to bolster against most of the Guff that Warner make, so why are we getting stuff from the Appendices that the Author hiself rejected ? I’ll bet I won’t get an answer to THIS Question. You don’t know how much of a Fan of LOTR and the whole Saga I am. And I can’t believe I’m arguing in a way about LESS Hobbit, and not congratulating about MORE, but I want more of what’s IN PRINT in the book, and not what was discarded, with those stupid War Pigs and all… Yeah, and I know it’s too late now as well…

  20. Josh Randall says:

    the Bilbo telling Frodo the story will be the main backbone of the story – I feel a key point will be including him adopting him and a bit more of Hobbiton interrupting his book…

  21. Super Siblings says:

    They could make 20 Hobbit films and I’d watch them all. Go for it Peter and Co.

    I had a little fun with the announcement of a third Hobbit movie on my comic strip Super Siblings: http://www.supersiblingscomics.com/2012/08/02/second-ending/

  22. NahYoChill says:

    PLEASE DON’T MAKE THE ENTIRE MOVIE TEAL/ORANGE LIKE THE 2ND TRAILER MAKES IT SEEM

  23. Kev says:

    I still don’t know how I feel about the battle being the only thing left for the third film. Even if it’s the most amazing battle sequence viewers might feel underwhelmed with everything that leads up to it after all the action they experienced in the first two films.

  24. RAWR says:

    Did you even read the Simarllion? Rog did not slay Balrog after Balrog. The Simarllion only describes an elven king suicide-slaying a SINGLE Balrog through sheer LUCK by dragging both of them off a cliff and into a raging river.

  25. RAWR says:

    PJ directs his movies too lightheartedly for a proper Simarllion adaptation. The Simarllion is much darker & philsophical, and is more suited for someone like Christopher Nolan.

  26. RAWR says:

    Peter Jackson directs his movies too lightheartedly for a proper Simarllion adaptation. The Simarllion is much darker & philsophical, and is more suited for someone like Christopher Nolan.

  27. Kano says:

    the born character does not appear until film 2 so it must end after the wolves i think

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