In Imagining Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, guest writer Eric M. Van draws together the threads of known facts, and add a dash of logic to speculate on how Peter Jackson and his crew may have imagined their version of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

This second part of the series examines the unique adaptation challenges for Jackson and his fellow screenwriters that come from a sequel that’s a prequel — and whether they’ve had a six-movie Ultimate Edition in mind from the very start.

Imagining Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit

Part 2: the initial challenges

In the first installment of this series, I tried to solve all the mysteries regarding An Unexpected Journey that have been created by the many available clues: a host of questions concerning the revised history of Sauron’s return to Middle Earth, the invented Radagast storyline, and the film’s ending.

What has been largely overlooked amidst this orgy of clue-driven speculation is that from the beginning The Hobbit has posed a set of unique adaptation challenges for Jackson and his fellow screenwriters. And I believe it is impossible to get a firm grasp of what the overall Hobbit trilogy might be like — what tales it might tell, and where it might tell them — without understanding these initial challenges.

So my humble entry in the great Predict-the-Hobbit-trilogy sweepstakes will not continue with a simple chronological rundown of further plot points. Rather, I want to take a detailed look at each of the major adaptation challenges — I count eight — arranged more or less in the order they’ll be encountered. I’ll even interrupt the survey for an appreciation of the unique world of The Hobbit, which underlies one or two of those challenges (it all does come back to the books, after all!). I’ll continue to make plenty of specific and sometimes bold guesses as to what we might see, but my chief goal is to give readers a sense of just what has needed to be done to turn The Hobbit into a companion to the existing film trilogy. And thus, when my guesses prove to be wrong (as I’m sure many will be), I will still hopefully have cast some useful light on the different choices made by Jackson et al.

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