As we get closer to saying goodbye to The Hobbit, fans have increasingly wondered if another film could be in the pipeline.

During the premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in London earlier this week, Ian McKellen hinted that Bilbo Baggins’ journey may not be the last time we see Middle Earth on screen. “I’ll never say it’s the end of anything,” he said of Hobbit number three.

Fans have been hoping that Jackson could adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion next, but according to comments from the director at a press conference yesterday, that can’t happen – yet.

“It’s a legal thing. The Tolkien estate owns the writings of Professor Tolkien – The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were sold by Professor Tolkien [in] the late 60s … the film rights,” he told media including THR.

“But they are the only two works of his that been sold. So without the cooperation of the Tolkien estate there can’t be more films.”

Of course it’s completely possible that the Tolkien estate could sell the film rights to other stories created by the author, but as of right now the chances of that happening appear to be slim.

With Warner Bros. looking to extend their most popular franchises – take the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts as a recent example – we’re sure they’re wondering how to breathe more life into Middle Earth. That may include meeting with the Tolkien estate to ask for additional story rights.

Later this month we’ll be looking at what’s next for the Middle Earth fandom now that the second trilogy is complete.

Related: Critics praise Battle of the Five Armies

Would you like to see more Middle Earth films? Or has the franchise’s life come to a close?

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Episode #171 – The One Where We Don’t Talk About Star Wars

Hype Podcast 171 brings you the latest news from the entertainment world, including Disney, Fantastic Beasts, Runaways, Jurassic World and much more. But NO The Last Jedi discussion.

December 15, 2017