Peter Jackson has confirmed his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit will be in three parts, not two as was previously announced.
The original two movies were to be released under the subtitles An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again, with the first hitting the big screen later this year.
The films are set sixty years before The Lord of the Rings and follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who finds himself caught up in an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
The trilogy also stars Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.
The screenplay for An Unexpected Journey is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro with Jackson is also producing the film.
On Monday Jackson, New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros have now confirmed rumours that the book will be adapted as a trilogy.
In a joint statement Jackson stated, “Upon recently viewing a cut of the first film, and a chunk of the second, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and I were very pleased with the way the story was coming together. We recognized that the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, gave rise to a simple question: do we tell more of the tale?
“And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved ‘yes.’ We know the strength of our cast and of the characters they have brought to life. We know creatively how compelling and engaging the story can be and—lastly, and most importantly—we know how much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur would remain untold if we did not fully realize this complex and wonderful adventure.”
New Line President Tony Emmerich added: “We completely support Peter and his vision for bringing this grand adventure to the screen over the course of three films. Peter, Fran and Philippa’s reverence for the material and understanding of these characters ensure an exciting and expanded journey that is bound to please fans around the world.”
“With the abundance of rich material, we fully endorse the decision to further develop what Peter, Fran and Philippa have already begun. We are confident that, with the great care the filmmakers have taken to faithfully bring this journey to the screen, the film will be welcomed by the legions of fans across the globe,” said Barber and Birnbaum.
Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group added: “Peter, Fran and Philippa have lived in this world and understand more than anyone its tremendous breadth and scope, and the relationships that bind it together. We strongly support their vision to bring this great work fully to life.”
The first instalment will be released December 14th 2012, the second is due for release on December 13th 2013 with the third hitting cinemas in summer 2014. All three will be released in 3D and 2D.