Almost two weeks ago at San Diego’s Comic-Con, director Peter Jackson teased fans at a panel by announcing that he wants to shoot more footage in order to turn his upcoming two-film “The Hobbit” adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic into a trilogy.
That would require additional shooting that sources say could take place next summer for about two months in New Zealand. Since his Comic-Con visit, sources say that Warner Bros. Studios, Jackson, wife/producer Fran Walsh and writer-producer Philippa Boyens began exploring the logistics of what it would take to make another movie. Those talks are said to have accelerated in recent days, with the studio on board if the right financial arrangements can be achieved. That includes securing new actor deals for the expansive cast as well as shoring up certain rights associated with the property (“The Hobbit“ has a long a tortured rights history.)
“If we’re going to do it, we have to make a decision soon,” says a source close to the production. “It’s strongly driven by the filmmakers’ desire to tell more of the story.”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is scheduled to open in theaters on December 14th, 2012. The film will star Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lily, Luke Evans, Christopher Lee, Stephen Fry, Lee Pace, Ian Holm, Aidan Turner, James Nesbitt, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Graham McTavish, Barry Humphries, Sylvester McCoy, Billy Connolly, Dean O’Gorman, Ken Stott, Jed Brophy, Jeffrey Thomas, Stephen Hunter, John Callen, William Kircher, Peter Hambleton, Adam Brown, Mark Hadlow, Michael Mizrahi, Ryan Gage, Renee Cataldo, and Ray Henwood. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro wrote the screenplay, which was adapted from the story by J.R.R. Tolkien. Peter Jackson directs. A third film would presumably follow in 2014, much the same way the films in Jackson’s“Lord of the Rings” trilogy unspooled over three consecutive years.
“It’s about taking the chance to tell more of the incredible tale with the cast we have assembled,” says a source.
Warner Bros. declined to comment.
For those of you who don’t know the storyline, here it is:
Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shape shifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities…