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By Andrew Sims (@sims) at 12:00 pm, December 11, 2013 | Reviewed by

Hypable attended The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug press day during which director Peter Jackson explained the need to cut the story into three films.

Those who’ve followed the production of the series know that plans for The Hobbit originally called for two movies, but last year Warner Bros. announced it would be a three-parter.

The need to be able to tell a real story and put it on par with The Lord of the Rings trilogy was what drove Jackson and his team to expand the world.

“What it does is allow you to let the characters drive the story. In a novel, the writer of the novel is often the person who narrates the story, the person who takes you on the journey,” Jackson explains. “Tolkien’s voice is obviously fantastic at doing that. You feel like he’s right beside you, telling you a bed time story. In the movie, you don’t want me on screen talking about what’s happening. So, in a film you have to have the story told through the dialogue of the characters, through the actions of the characters.”

Benedict Cumberbatch, who voices the dragon Smaug in the film, jumped in at this moment. “I do want you on screen telling everyone whats happening,” he quipped to laughter from the press.

Jackson replied, “We’ll just do that privately back in your hotel room, don’t worry. I’ll read you a bedtime story, no problem.”

Turning back to the question, Jackson emphasized the importance of putting The Hobbit story on the same level as The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“You want the narrative to be told either through the dialogue or the actions, so that’s really why we ended up with the depth and exploring the character depth that we had done on The Lord of the Rings.”

“I was also acutely aware that there was going to be, ultimately, when this cycle of releasing a movie each year is done, you’re going to end up with six films. The Unexpected Journey being the beginning and the Return of the King being the end. I did want to have a unity. I didn’t want to make The Hobbit feel any more simple. We wanted it to feel like it was the same.”

An Unexpected Journey is now available with an Extended Edition, while part 3 There and Back Again opens in December 2014.

The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters Friday, December 13.

  • CliveRogan

    ” I didn’t want to make The Hobbit feel any more simple. We wanted it to feel like it was the same.”

    But the story isn’t the same and is more simple. I’m not one of those who rages at the film being split, the more time spent in Middle Earth the better IMO but it’s undeniable that the story doesn’t need 9+ hours to be told.

    • Rach

      I love that it’s being split because the book basically has three sections: Bilbo leaving the Shire and finding the Ring, the group arriving at the Lonely Mountain and dealing with Smaug, and then the Battle of Five Armies. But I was just a little bit put off in the first part because of the whole “White Orc” business, which isn’t even a story to tell in the book because Thorin kills him off in the original battle. I think that’s what made the first movie so much more long, and Peter Jackson probably felt that would help keep people interested since the first third of the book is a bit slow. But that seriously could have been left out and I would be the happiest person, with absolutely no complaints. But then again, I’m a fan of the book, and Hollywood can’t make money unless they make a movie for everyone (or the series has a lot of fans).

      Still VERY excited for Desolation, and There and Back Again, because the Hobbit is a beautiful story that deserves its hours on-screen. Just maybe a few less of them.

      • 7Starrchasers

        Same…I’m SO happy he split it. Watching the first movie I just couldn’t imagine that book being made into one film! As for Tauriel I know people have a problem with her, but I’m really going to give her a chance, I want to see what she’s like before I hate on her. Part two couldn’t come sooner!!

      • Annie Knabb

        Does Bilbe leaving the Shire really need its own movie? I get splitting up Smaug and the war… but I feel two movies is good.

        The movies shouldn’t take longer to watch than the book does to read.

        • Shayan

          “The movies shouldn’t take longer to watch than the book does to read.”

          Why not?

          • Annie Knabb

            Because drawing out a story to the point you can read the book faster than watching the movie causes it to lose some of its magic.

            Don’t get me wrong, I love Peter Jackson’s interpretation. I just feel like two movies would’ve been more appropriate for the Hobbit.

          • Nebo

            Well, reading the book should be faster. I think its the same case as Mario Puzo’s The Godfather.

    • Annie Knabb

      The book doesn’t actually take 9+ hours to read

      • Phil Hartman

        No it doesn’t. I read it under that. I was thinking that exact same thing actually. That reading the book would be quicker.

  • Kit Cat

    Right and it has nothing to do with the fact that it is very likely each of the movies will make 1 billion dollars.

    • Jerry

      Peter Jackson is worth $400 million dollars, he doesn’t care to stretch the money out for a studio, he cares about making the movie he wants to make. He didn’t even want to direct the hobbit, he tried to find someone to direct it after Guillermo Del Toro left but he couldn’t so he decided to direct it for the sake of New Zealand’s film work force since millions had already been spent on pre-production.

      • Kit Cat

        It’s not so much Peter Jackson but the studio executives I’m talking about. Peter Jackson is an incredible filmmaker but studio executives just cannot pass up an opportunity to make more money. They saw it in Harry Potter with the split movie and now with Hunger Games. Why pass up more money while at the same time not having to rush the story? It’s an added bonus that Jackson is the one that will tell the story.

        • humanbeing

          But the execs didn’t make the decision to stretch The Hobbit into 3 films; Jackson did. Similarly, the execs didn’t make the decision to split the last Harry Potter film; the producer (David Heyman) and the writer (Steve Kloves) did (in fact Kloves at one point slyly suggested spitting it into three parts). As for The Hunger Games or Twilight, I’m thinking that execs did play a part in copying the Potter formula and stretching the series out as long as possible. Also, keep in mind that back in the 1990s, when Peter Jackson was first trying to pitch Lord of the Rings to studios, most studios weren’t willing to take the risk of making a trilogy, and many of the studios demanded Peter Jackson make it as one film only (he eventually wrote a screenplay that managed to fit everything into two films, and it was only New Line Cinema who took a gamble and asked Peter Jackson to split the story into 3 films, which he gladly did). Sometimes you can blame the suits for things in Hollywood, but just as often it’s the creative people who sometimes make questionable decisions (Example: George Lucas had no studio interference in making the Star Wars prequels, and they ended up being inferior films). Anyway, long story short, Jackson made the decision to push for three Hobbit films, not the execs (although I’m sure they didn’t complain very much).

          • http://patientambition.com/ Nick

            I think it’s hubris on Jackson’s part to think he could tell a better story than Tolkien wrote. These are entertaining films, but they stray far from the original book. If Tolkien wanted it to be “on par with the Lord of the Rings trilogy” he would have written three books. What is a captivating, well-paced children’s tale, becomes a drawn out, overblown, special effects bonanza. I hope kids these days have longer attention spans than they are given credit for by films like these. The billion $ per movie comment above probably explains the 3 movie rationale best, sigh..

  • Braulio is :O

    Saw the movie yesterday at the premiere, and oh boy! That´s a good movie! I read the book ten years ago, so i’m not really attached to the source material. I’ve read that they deviated from the book, but aside from Tauriel, nothing’s deleted but expanded upon. (And wait for the EE!) But I do love LotR and AUJ, i love spending every minute in this middle-earth. PJ sure knows what’s he is doing. Loved it and breezed through it. Funny and very well done.

  • Botros Reda Rizk

    If that was the case, The lord of the rings triology shold have been nine movies not three. (Not complaining)

    • Botros Reda Rizk

      *Trilogy

      • Amir

        ^ failed spell correction.

  • Hamish

    Okay, I’ve seen the movie, and well, two movies WOULD HAVE MORE THAN SUFFICED.

  • Mariah Lovegood

    So basically they are doing 3 Hobbit movies because there were 3 Lord of the Ring movies. That’s is a stupid reason. I am all for some books being spilt into 2 especially when both parts are only around 2 hours but there is no need to split one book into 3 almost 3 hour movies.

    I relate the production company to Smoug trying to all dwarfs (consumers) gold. I am boycotting the movie. I have read the book and I know what happens. No need to waste a total of $45 and 9 hours of my life on it.

    • humanbeing

      There’s some truth in what you said; one 300 page book should likely not be turned into a 9-hour saga. However (just playing devil’s advocate here), Peter Jackson isn’t really just filming the story of The Hobbit this time around; he’s culling quite a bit of story from the appendix of Return of the King, which delves deeper into Gandalf’s reasoning for taking Bilbo on the quest, more of Thorin’s backstory and what’s driving him as a character, and also an explanation of what Gandalf was up to all the times he left the group during their adventures (including a fairly big battle to come which was mentioned in The Hobbit but never seen, just like Radagast was mentioned but never seen in the original text). You could say that Jackson was simply using this extra material as filler in order to amass enough storyline to last through 9 hours of movie time, but knowing what a Tolkien geek Jackson is, I have to believe that he felt the need to use that extra material to help flesh out the admittedly more child-like story of The Hobbit and create more of a linking bridge between Bilbo’s story and Frodo’s, both thematically and cinematically. That being said, while I somewhat agree with Jackson’s intentions, so far (with the first of the Hobbit films) he’s dropped the ball a little, but I am hearing better things about this newest entry, and I’m willing to give it a chance. As for wasting 9 hours of my life, well, I’ll waste that much time and more sleeping over the course of two days anyway, so I’m okay with using that amount of time to see a few more adventures in Middle-Earth. Also (just as an aside), I would probably be reluctant to compare the consumers of the movie to the dwarves of the story, as the dwarves have almost as unhealthy a lust for gold as dragons do, which is one of the themes of the story, that greed and avarice isn’t limited to dragons alone, and certain folk may do bad things with good intentions.

      • robin

        well said

      • GM

        “he’s culling quite a bit of story from the appendix of Return of the King”

        Not really, he’s culling quite a bit of story from his own imagination:

        The inclusion of Frodo, the white orc giving chase, the Radagast storyline, the Thorin, white orc showdown, the invention of Tauriel, the inclusion of Legolas, the orc barrel chase, Bard the boatman and his family, the splitting up of the dwarves, the Laketown orc, elf showdown, Gandalf at the high fells, Gandalf taking on the white orc and the necromancer and getting captured and finally(for the moment) the Smaug, Bilbo/dwarves cat and mouse chase culminating with the giant golden dwarf statue.

        Huge chunks of the films are made up(full stop) from the above, none of it from the appendices.

    • James

      Hhh….don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
      You book nazi’s wanting everything to be so precise make me laugh

      At least there will be enough of us who are less ‘well read’ to fill the small gap you tools will leave ‘protesting’

      Love it Jacko!!

  • TheFirst

    I saw the second movie yesterday and unlike the first one I never felt like the story was stretched too much. The pacing was good, there was a lot of stuff going on and the things that weren’t from the book really enhanced the story and didn’t feel like filler to me. I also liked the litte love story between Tauriel and Kili. I don’t get why people don’t like Tauriel in the first place. I know she’s not in the books, but she’s pretty bad-ass!

  • Andy

    Why doesn’t he just come right out and say I wanted to milk it for everything its worth that’s all he’s doing. Don’t get me wrong I’m enjoying the films but their is no need at all for it to be 3 movies.

    • AllStarX127

      I really think you should actually see how these movies were made before you make stupid assumptions like that

  • Annie Knabb

    Each individual book of Lord of the Rings is longer than the entire Hobbit.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the first movie. I just think 2 movies would’ve sufficed. One for the dragon and one for the war.

    • WarG

      On and on and on about this….
      Just want to say.. I was initially sceptical, but the first 2 movies so far have been awesome! The more movies made in Peter Jacksons middle earth the better, in my opinion. Looking back its great that the hobbit is actually split in 3. Tentatively, Im worried about how they plan to make the 3rd movie a 3 hour movie… not a whole lot left to tell really, but Im excited to find out how Peter does it.

      • Raiu

        Seriously?
        There wasn’t a whole lot to tell to begin with so why worry now?
        I tell you what’s gonna happen. There will be a three-quarter hour spent on Tauriel’s love triangle with the dwarf and the elf (such a shame PJ really did that), the dragon will be killed in another 45-60 minutes max (including the battle of the 5 armies) and the remaining 75-90 minutes will be spent on the so-called necromancer who surprisingly turns out to be Sauron (please..) because apparently things that are not part of the original story have to take up the largest part of the screentime.
        And maybe, if we’re really lucky, The fairy Tinkerbell will join at some point to turn the dying Smaug back into the misunderstood lost boy he is and fly back with him to Neverland. That’s how realistic this adaption is. Booyah!

  • http://daydreamsandwhispers.tumblr.com/ Hermione Granger

    I read the Hobbit years and years ago (well…like 7 years ago) and I think one of the things that drew me to it was the simplicity. I loved the first Hobbit movie, and yes, I already have my ticket to see the next BUT I do remember feeling like the first one could’ve been at the very least, greatly reduced. It really didn’t need to be over 2 hours. Meaning they should’ve probably been able to make 3 movies that were 2 hours each, OR 2 movies that were 3 hours each.

    Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m just not one for the “action” scenes – okay, I get it, it’s Middle Earth and there’s gonna be some battles, but I’m much more fascinated by the actual story and the characters and how they relate to each other rather than just watching fight-fight-fighting. I actually did think a good portion of the first movie (especially at the beginning) was really story-based, and I loved that. But seriously, at least 45 minutes of battle scenes could’ve been cut out of it. (I did however like the inclusion of things like Radagast, whose story I really liked).

  • Ultron

    After seeing DoS, I now understand it’s 3 movies so he can make money.

    • Robin

      ahh men peopleee stop complaining and let the movie take you on the ride of the beautyfull world from tolkien and jackson hahaha ENJOY IT (fuck men i dont care if he makes money and i dont understand why thats even a discussion from you guys hahaha lol men i love it when its done the 3e part im gonne go in the 1,2,3 hobbit then lord of the rings meen what a day or days gonne be that:D JUST ENJOY LIFE HOW IT SISS

  • Mike

    I need more money from ticket prices…thats the cut and dry.

  • Jonas Grumby

    If it’s awesome I don’t give a good damn if it’s 10 films. My only complaint ever on multiples or sequels is if the subsequent movies aren’t good. If they are really good, who cares?

    • Warg

      exactly. and after watching DoS, I wish there was more than only one left…

    • Turo

      U are all dumb. These movies are bad ass. The more the better.

  • Guest

    I wish he would just come out and say “I wanted to milk it for everything it’s worth”, we all know that’s why he split it into 3 unnecessary long movies LOL

  • Heather

    I don’t see the need to include characters that don’t exist in the Tolkien universe, or to change their motivation and personality because Peter Jackson feels it will make him more money. I think that the story can be told in 1 at the most 2. It was over done and it really didn’t add anything to the story. But then I am a one of those Tolkien fans who finds that deviations from the book is unforgivable.

  • Heather

    I think that it’s best not to know what the White Counsel where up to. As Tolkien himself said “Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, as they are subtle as quick to anger.”

  • CGS

    I am loving The Hobbit the way they’re doing it. More-so than I enjoyed reading the book, sorry.

  • Biggus Dickus

    bla bla bla
    3 movies, and I really enjoy them.
    I hope they make 3 movies with the Silmarillion as well, or a 3-4 season TV show like GoT.

  • Jack Daniels

    3 storylines of Frodo and the Ring.. and 3 storylines for Bilbo. Both characters deserve their share of their adventures equally.

  • http://fandom101.blogspot.com/ Sophia

    I think it was a great idea.

  • Justin Fenech

    Hes doing a good job people needa chill out…I wanna see someone else deliver the past 5 middle-earth movies as good as he did! I would rather see 3 movies balanced out then 1 or 2 with tooooo much packed in to it

  • Steven Lear

    As entertaining as the movies are, the Hobbit trilogy as it currently stands is just too drawn out and WAY too cutesy/fluffy, in my opinion. LOTR was a masterpiece, both in visual style and in the kind of narrative weight and tension that makes the series feel heavy with drama. Hobbit’s been caricatured to the point where there’s no sense of danger or seriousness. I know The Hobbit, as a book, wasn’t made to be as serious as LOTR, but come on…Hobbit’s nothing but CGI, goofy animated characters and scenes which would only spook a 5 year old. Had he made Hobbit in the same brand as LOTR, this would’ve been a MUCH better series.

    Ultimately, I guess my biggest beef with the series is there’s no continuity between the two films; it’s like they were made by two different people. If watching all the films in order (once the 3rd Hobbit is finished), you’d be going from a world that’s unrealistic to a world that does appear realistic. The only scenes in the Hobbit franchise that feel like they have any substance are the ones featuring real actors and sets and I think that says something about what made LOTR vastly superior.

    Rant finished lol

  • Ciaran

    isn’t the short answer simply “So I could milk this cash cow to death, as everthing else I’ve made is just awful”?

  • John Davis

    Three movies gives the movie makers 50% more money than two. By Jove, I think we’ve found the answer!

  • Shannon Ryan

    It’s an interesting point about the length of The Hobbit book being shorter than each of The Lord of the Rings books. There is so much more to it than that when it comes to making a film adaptation. The Hobbit is a quest featuring many characters that travel from one place to another to another, just like The Lord of the Rings. If you’re going to tell a journey story while fleshing out the characters individually, it must have a beginning, middle and end. Both these stories feature many obstacles along the way and a rising threat to their existence, which must be dealt with. Including the appendices really enabled the source material to be expanded upon, to the point where The Hobbit felt as epic in scale to The Lord of the Rings and therefore did not feel underwhelming in comparison. This is particularly true for the character relationships where their appeal is broadened because there is, simply put, more for the characters to say and do. We would certainly care about these characters a lot less if the full scope of the narrative had not been explored.

  • Guest

    In the second movie, the Smaug stuff was so drawn out and different from the book and the pacing in general was horrible.

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