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'The Hobbit': Should It Be a Trilogy?

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Jul 25, 2012 | 12:25pm EDT

The HobbitPeter Jackson: the next E.L. James.

That may be an outlandish statement, but if you think about it, Jackson has made and is making a career on what can accurately be deemed fan fiction. If the director moves forward with a proposed third Hobbit movie, it would be the ultimate Tolkien homage.

The auteur behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy has earned ceaseless celebration for his Tolkien adaptations, even from many of the most didactic, difficult to please fans of the source material. As vivid a life as Jackson breathed into the LOTR stories, and as faithful as he may have intended to stay, there is always a necessary creative license involved when bringing a novel to film. Characters and storylines in Jackson's LOTR movies were expanded from their literary origins — one example is the augmented role of Half-elven Arwen, as played by Liv Tyler.

Jackson is experimenting with the expansion of Tolkien's legendarium once more with his forthcoming Hobbit movies. Initially planned to manifest as two films, Jackson mentioned at Comic-Con that he was interested in turning the project into a trilogy.

The move will involve more of Jackson's taking of liberties with Tolkien literature. Minor aspects of the tale will be transformed into arching scenes; characters will be added altogether (Evangeline Lilly's Tauriel, for one). It seems as though Jackson's creative license is being kicked up a few classes for The Hobbit. After all, he's augmenting the story to such a degree that it's resulting with a whole other movie. And these aren't straight-to-DVD 88 minute movies, either. These are bound to be three-hour epics. An additional three hours of story, after shooting on the two-film project has already wrapped. This means, a project that was once deemed complete is now getting a potential three whole hours tacked onto it.

Of course, the source of Jackson's imagination won't come from nowhere: the filmmaker tells Deadline of Tolkien's Appendices — basically, an encyclopedia of notes on a revised version of The Hobbit that the author never finished. From this, Jackson intends to pull his new story elements.

While Jackson has proved himself a worthy vendor of Tolkien imagery, this news might breed apprehension. Is the director simply tacking on another movie for the sake of extending his own stay in Middle Earth — you can't really blame him. And you can't really blame people for wanting more of his vision. But "more for the sake of more" can be destructive to the integrity of the series.

Do you think Jackson's third Hobbit movie will be an organic continuation of the story? Or will we be stuck with just more "Hey, look at how cool this stuff is!" from an eager director? Hopefully, Jackson's cinematic genius will overpower his fanboy ambitions, and we'll get three full, grand Hobbit movies... or, even better: just the two we were meant to have in the first place.

[Photo Credit: Warner Bros.]

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