So, by now we’ve all heard that the rumors are true. Peter Jackson confirmed via Facebook that The Hobbit is now going to be three movies instead of two. I for one am excited by this news. The expected complaints have already been flung all around the web and people are certainly entitled to their opinions. The “more money to be made” issue is certainly a huge factor for anyone who stands to benefit from the sale of movie tickets, DVDs and Blu-rays–heck, even movie posters. However, there are a couple of reasons that I think this is a good thing.
Firstly, if you are the kind of person who reads books before going to see a movie, you are also probably the kind of person who knows that the movies never–or to be fair, rarely– live up to the books. Given the length of Peter Jackson’s previous movies, I’m guessing that this gives him somewhere around three more hours to flesh out the story. Yes, even a book that is only 3oo some odd pages could benefit from the extra time.
Then there is the fact that Tolkien wrote The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings series. Where The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and Return of the King are incredibly detail oriented, The Hobbit is a much simpler story. He did write it for his children after all. But, then he moved on to LOTRs, developing his fictional world and its history even more. That is where the appendices come in. We’ve already been told that PJ and the writers were incorporating the appendices into the movies. This takes that 300 some odd pages of The Hobbit and adds hundreds more pages of source material.
A third reason I’m hopeful about this development, is that I’m hoping that the addition of this third movie will provide a nice segue into the LOTRs trilogy. After all, there were something like 50-60 years between the stories. This kind of makes me think of what Richard Armitage said at the Dwarf press conference when he said, “Would you like to be a little more specific? I’ve got 40 years to talk about.” Fifty to 60 years is a long time, and a lot took place. Since I’m incapable of summarizing this well, I’m going to quote from a great website I came across:
The years between Bilbo’s return from Erebor and the events described in The Lord of the Rings were years of cautious but open expansion by Sauron and slow but continual decay on the part of his opponents. Just ten years after Thorin’s quest, the Black Lord declared himself openly and set out to rebuild his great fortress of Barad-dûr. He also sent his agents, the Nazgûl, to reoccupy his former stronghold, Dol Guldur in Mirkwood, from which he had been driven the year of Bilbo’s adventures.
At the same time, cracks were beginning to show in the ranks of Sauron’s foes. The White Council, an organization of the Eldar (elven lords) and the Istari (wizards), had been watching for the reappearance of the Great Enemy for years. The Council included both Gandalf and Elrond, but its leader was the most powerful of the wizards, Saruman the White. Saruman had made the study of the Rings of Power his specialty, and after many years he came to desire possession of the One Ring himself. He made no sign of this to his fellow council members, but quietly watched for the discovery of the lost Ring. In 2953, the White Council met for the last time. Here Saruman reported that the Ring had been washed to sea, lost forever. Meanwhile he fortified his dwelling place at Isengard and accelerated his own search for the Ring.
Gandalf was next in power to Saruman, so he attracted the traitor’s jealousy and fear. All his movements were watched by Saruman’s spies. In the years that followed, Gandalf kept a lively interest in hobbits in general and Bilbo in particular, for he had always doubted Bilbo’s tale of winning his ring as a prize. Thus Saruman’s attention was also attracted to the Shire.
By now Saruman had been overcome by his own lust for the Ring. Daring to look into one of the Seeing Stones of Gondor (the palantíri), he was ensnared by the more powerful will of Sauron, who also possessed one of the stones. It was in this way that the Dark Lord probably first heard of the Shire. Gandalf, in turn, began to fear for the safety of the Shire, and so he persuaded the Rangers of Arnor, descendants of the kings, to keep watch over the borders. The chief of these Rangers, Aragorn, was the heir to the thrones of both Gondor and Arnor, and had become a close friend of Gandalf.
That, in and of itself, is enough story to make an entire movie! Don’t mistake me, I don’t think PJ and company are going to dedicate and entire film to the between years. But surely part of it. Again, more reason to think a third film isn’t a bad idea or that there is a lack of story to tell.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts. I’m just a simple fan, not an expert. But in my book, if they want to go with three movies instead of two…right on!