Speaking to the Dominion Post‘s Lenna Tailor Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens speculate that the delay, during which they went on to shoot three wildly successful movies based on Tolkien Lord of the Rings, might have been for the best.
Jackson: “I remember in 1995 I made the first call to [Miramax’s] Harvey Weinstein and said we were interested in doing The Hobbit. The idea was, if it was successful, we would do Lord of the Rings. But Harvey said the rights were in a very complicated state — however, Lord of the Rings was potentially available. It’s strange how that call 17 years ago was the beginning of this whole process.”
“It was fate that we did Lord of the Rings first because it has made for a better Hobbit,” adds writer-producer Philippa Boyens. “It would’ve been a very different film if we’d gone the other way around. Maybe fate was also waiting for Martin [Freeman] to play Bilbo at exactly the right time and age.”