If you know anything about the movie industry then the latest news from Hollywood that Peter Jackson is hoping to turn The Hobbit movies into a trilogy will not be a complete surprise; when there is the smallest chance of further income, they’ll jump at it like a fat kid on cake.
According to three people who were not authorized to speak in the matter, Peter Jackson has determined that there is enough material from ‘The Hobbit’ and the appendices from the original J.R.R. Tolkien authored The Lord of the Rings for a third movie.
And considering that Warner Bros. would love another franchise series of movies, pushing such a beloved series into another movie makes a lot of financial sense; which is really the biggest issue when we come to adapting literature to movies. Literary faithfulness is thrown out of the window in favour of financial benefit.
Several years ago when I was covering movie news for a modest living I kept a close eye on news of the Hobbit. The original details had originally been planned as two movie; one movie for the whole story in the Hobbit, and a second movie to fill in the gap between the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings based on information gathered from the appendices published in the third book, The Return of the King.
If I was to plan a third movie in a franchise based on the Hobbit, that’s how I would go about it. The appendices hold quite a lot of potential story.
There you have a chance to tell the story of Aragorn as he fights the dark forces with the Rangers of the North, the Dunedain. It is mentioned in the books that Aragorn, or Strider as he is known to the Hobbits of Bree, has guarded the boundaries of the Shire.
On top of that you have the chance to introduce female characters that Tolkien actually wrote, rather than introducing new characters or creating stories based on characters barely referenced. He romance between Aragorn and Arwen takes places in the appendices and, chronologically, between the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.
Further, the appendices cover stories for the elves of Mirkwood and the Dwarves following on from the finale of the Hobbit.
Lastly, there is the story of Gandalf, the White Council, and their confrontation with the Necromancer. This story eventually dovetails into the story of Sauron returning to Mordor and his renewed search for the One Ring. For you see, the Necromancer that Gandalf goes to “visit” during the middle of the Hobbit is actually Sauron. Spoiler.
However there is thought that the third movie would in fact encompass a mixture of the final battle from the Hobbit and a smaller amount of material from the appendices,
Given how Peter Jackson has marauded through the source material, picking and choosing where he wants and ignoring that which doesn’t please him, extending battle scenes for the sake of entertainment, leaving the story behind, I’m not holding out much hope.
Ok. I might be a little angry on this score.
So here we have our dilemma. Extending the movies based entirely on the Hobbit source material – a much limited quantity compared to Tolkien’s other works – betrays a disregard for the story. On the other hand, turning the material from the appendices into a movie actually strikes me as rather interesting.