Peter Jackson has just announced via his official Facebook page that The Hobbit will indeed be three films.
He wrote on his official Facebook page that the decision came after looking at the majority of the footage post-production:
It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made. Recently Fran, Phil and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first movie – and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.’
We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. 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, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of “The Hobbit” films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three.
It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, “a tale that grew in the telling.”
Last week reports stated that Jackson and Warner Bros were in “deep talks” to decide whether or not they should proceed with a third film.
Fans have been concerned over this idea due to the fact that The Hobbit is one book, and physically smaller than any of the Lord of the Rings novels. In order for this to work, Jackson has to use a lot of material outside of the main story that’s been found in author J.R.R. Tolkien’s notes.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Part 1) will be released December 13, 2012. There and Back Again (Part 2) will be in theaters December 14, 2013. Part 3 is set for Summer 2014.