The Hobbit Trilogy – An Extended Journey Too Far?

Is there really enough source material to stretch Tolkien's writings into three films?

Adrian Poole

Contributor

An Expected Extended Journey.

Peter Jackson today officially announced that The Hobbit would be extended from its original two part format into a trilogy. Several basic reasons jump out for doing this which we will explore a little below, but the question on most fans lips is – will this have a positive or negative impact on the films as a result?

The first stand out question is; is there enough source material in the book? Well, The Hobbit is in itself a fairly short (by comparison to LOTR) book which tells a fairly simple tale. But with the plethora of extra material in the appendixes and unfinished tales etc that Tolkien wrote during his life there is indeed plenty of source material to work with. We already know that Saruman is involved in the films where he was only mentioned in the book, so we get the idea that there is a good deal of expansion to the background of the story already. This trilogy will undoubtedly try to answer a lot of questions for the setup of the Lord of the Rings trilogy which was brought to life so staggeringly 10 years ago, so there is definitely room for Jackson and co to ad-lib some extra sequences to tie everything in a nice package. So, from a story telling perspective, you could quite easily and naturally expand the original tale.

The next question, is should they extend it? Purists might argue that the story could be told in one sitting as the book intended, after all they didn’t make two films per LOTR book (ignoring special editions here) though they easily could have. The Hobbit would have been a difficult squeeze into one feature and would hopefully be better when extended to two (if not three) films, after all we wouldn’t want to lose a single detail by cutting out bits.

The extension into three parts obviously has a financial implication too and we are sure that Warner Bros were not dissatisfied that one of the biggest films since well, the Lord of the Rings, will now net them an extra third on their previously predicted two part revenue. We of course firmly hope that the reasons are not purely financial for this move…though they probably are. As an audience we will have to part with more cash to see this, but I don’t think lovers of the franchise will hold that against anyone. It is fairly rare that something worth watching occurs, so the extra something to wait for could be viewed positively in that regard.

Other questions firmly surround the film of course, will it be as good as LOTR was?  Will they get the characters right? Will they cut out anything important like they didn’t in Rings (sorry Bombadil, but who cares) Etc, etc, but that’s not what today is for. Today is for realising that we now have three films to look forward too/painfully agonise over rather than two and asking ourselves can we live with this change?

One thing we know is that we will definitely be going there and back again whatever the final number of films goes into making The Hobbit come to life. Yeah, that was cheesy enough. End!

What do you think? Three films? One too many? Massive cash in by Warner Bros or artistic licence? Have your say below.