During the premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in London earlier, 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 Movie 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 movie trilogy is complete.
Would you like to see more Middle Earth films? Or has the franchise’s life come to a close?
Earlier there were rumors floating round about the possibility of Peter Jackson going for third time lucky by transforming yet another Tolkien property to a box-office busting three part-er.
The little known The Silmarillion was intended as a sequel to The Hobbit and was only published after Tolkien’s death. It’s a collection of Middle-Earth histories and is set at some time in the Earth’s past. As such, it’s meant to have been translated from Bilbo’s three-volume Translations from the Elvish, which he wrote while at Rivendell.
Since the work was never finished, its present incarnation was fleshed out by Tolkien’s son, Christopher Tolkien and others, including fantasy writer Guy Gavriel Kay, and they worked from JRR Tolkien’s notes.
The short retrospective video below offers a balanced perspective on Peter Jackson’s tendency to say no initially to seemingly impossible storytelling tasks and then later take them on. As such, it may give hope to those of us rooting for The Silmarillion Movie!
Reportedly, Tolkien’s family has refused Peter Jackson the rights to film the novel because they didn’t like his rendition of The Hobbit. However, since we haven’t had this confirmed through any official channels, it could just be the rumor mill churning out baseless gossip. Fingers crossed – We’d love to see Peter take on his most sprawling, ambitious project yet.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second chapter in director Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” prequel trilogy is still in theaters, but that doesn’t mean thoughts aren’t turning to even further down the road. So after this trilogy finishes next December, will Peter Jackson come back for more Middle-Earth?
According to “Hobbit” star Richard Armitage, who plays Dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in the movie, it’s not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when.”
“I’m sure the lure of ‘The Silmarillion Movie’ will bring him back to Middle-Earth,” Armitage told. “Although God knows how long that movie will be.”
The main problem with a movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s collection of appendices and short stories about Middle-Earth is that no movie studio actually owns the rights. As recounted extensively, Tokien’s heirs own the rights to any material beyond “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” and they’re not happy with what Jackson has done with the movies.
Part of that unhappiness stems from their claim that Warner Brothers has cheated them out of any money for the films, as WB states they didn’t actually make any profit on the first trilogy. Recently, Warners counter-sued the Tolkien estate; and though that lawsuit was thrown out of court, chances are it would take a lot for Warners and the Tolkiens to patch things up.
But as Armitage notes, don’t doubt the perseverance of Jackson, who has devoted a large chunk of his life to the Baggins family.
“Never say never,” Richard Armitage continued. “I think he loves Middle-Earth. I think he’s defined what it looks like. He’s created all of those worlds that Tolkien talks about. It’s obviously irresistible to him.”
Peter Jackson’s first Hobbit movie has come and gone. And while some Tolkien fans—and non-fans—were upset by how he interpreted the book, watching The Hobbit and the fall of the Necromancer on the screen is still an exciting prospect. Likewise, even though Jackson made some distasteful changes to The Lord of the Rings, those films are still excellent depictions of one of the greatest pieces of writing in English literature.
So of course, some of us are wondering: will Peter Jackson ever make The Silmarillion Movie? And many others, in turn, are wondering: what is The Silmarillion?
The Silmarillion is a collection of Tolkien’s histories of Middle Earth, set thousands of years before The Lord of the Rings; they were unfinished when he died, and his son completed and published them.
The titular tale, and the centerpiece of the book, tells of the rebellion of the elves against the gods and the fall of Morgoth, an evil Vala whom Sauron at the time served. The Valar—the “gods” in Tolkien’s universe—brought many elves to Valinor, the Undying Lands. There, a powerful elf, Feanor, created the Silmarils, wondrous jewels that captivated all who held them. Around this time, Morgoth attacked the Valar and stole the Silmarils. Feanor led his people—the Noldor—to Middle Earth to recover the jewels, rebelling against the Valar in the process. The Silmarillion tells of the Noldor’s rebellion, the establishment of elf realms in Beleriand (then the western region of Middle Earth) the fight against Morgoth and the ultimate fall of the Noldor.
It’s a massive, tragic tale full of epic battles, exotic locales, heartwarming romance, and treacherous betrayals. The problem is, it’s told as a kind of history. There’s not much narrative, and even if there were it would take about 14 full-length books to tell the entire tale.
But I am of the opinion that Peter Jackson could—nay, must—bring it to the screen. I’m envisioning a seven-film series, like those used for Harry Potter and Twilight. This would keep fans in the theaters for years, and make the studios very happy. And, if done right, would be the ultimate tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien and the wondrous contributions he’s made to the fantasy genre, and literature in general.
So here are my ten reasons why Peter Jackson should make The Silmarillion Movie. For those of you who haven’t read the book, be warned there are several spoilers in here.
A Silmarillion movie series would give us a lot more of Galadriel.
Galadriel, a powerful elf ruler, figured prominently in The Lord of the Rings, giving shelter and advice to the fellowship after they escaped Moria. And thanks to Peter Jackson’s changes to The Hobbit, she will feature prominently on those movies. In the first installment, she showed up at Rivendell to back Gandalf in an argument with Saruman, and I’m sure we’ll see more of her as the White Council moves against the Necromancer in later movies. Throughout all this, Galadriel is a powerful, compelling female character that brings a lot to Tolkien’s tales.
Galadriel also plays major part in The Silmarillion. Galadriel appears early in the tale as one of the Noldor. She has numerous adventures—including leading her people across the dangerous crushing ice strait that then separated Middle Earth from the Undying Lands. And she settles down with Celeborn, with whom she supports the elves’ and humans’ fight against Morgoth.
So a Silmarillion film series would be good news for Galadriel fans, which, really, is anyone who enjoyed The Lord of the Rings.
9. He’s Already Referenced Gondolin
In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Elrond and Gandalf discuss the provenance of the swords recovered the troll caves. They discuss their origin in Gondolin, mentioning the name of this long-lost elf city with some awe.
And for good reason. In The Silmarillion, Gondolin was founded by Turgon, a Noldor Lord, as a refuge against Morgoth. The city existed in secret for hundreds of years, until it was revealed through treachery and was destroyed.
The mention of Gondolin in The Hobbit was a nice flourish by Tolkien that connected his children’s story to the broader mythology he had created. Its retention in the movie was a similar move by Jackson.
But it also created a precedent for The Silmarillion. Just as the discussion of how Bilbo found the Ring in the Lord of the Rings films whetted fans’ appetites for The Hobbit, so too should the Gondolin reference key in audiences to the grand history behind the swords the dwarves find in a troll cave.
8. He Loves To Make Stuff Up
Yeah, I know, I should let this go. I will eventually. But as I’ve already complained about, Peter Jackson et al (including scriptwriter Philippa Boyens, above) love to add elements to Tolkien tales that comes from appendices and background material Tolkien had written, but were never set into narrative form.
Leaving aside whether or not this is good (it led to both the excellent depiction of the Battle of Isengard and the irritating reworking of Faramir’s character, both in The Two Towers), the Silmarillion would give him a lot more opportunities to do this. The Silmarillion is basically books and books waiting to be put into narrative form. Tolkien had written a few poems based on the events in the books, but even this would require translation.
How could Peter Jackson et al pass this up?
7. There’s A Young Elrond
Just as the Silmarillion would give us greater insight into Galadriel’s past, so too would it for Elrond. In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Elrond is the lord of Rivendell, a powerful elf. He is a key figure in the fight against Sauron, a close ally of Gandalf, and the father of Arwen. He also helps our heroes at key points in their journeys.
But Elrond’s life stretches back into the days of The Silmarillion. Elrond was the son of Earendil and Elwing, two important characters from The Silmarillion. Earendil was a great mariner who would eventually sail to the Undying Lands and convince the high elves and gods to return to Middle Earth and defeat Morgoth. He also wielded the last Silmaril in his ship, which sailed around the Earth and was still visible in The Lord of the Rings-time as the holy star, Earendil. Elwing, in turn, was the daughter of Beren and Luthien—an early human-elf pairing—and was essential to Earendil’s quest. Elrond’s brother, meanwhile, was Elros who became the first king of Numenor (from whom Aragorn is descended).
Silmarillion movies would give us a chance to see Elrond as a child, and even depict the interesting choice he and Elros were given; whether they wanted to be elf or human.
6. There Are Numerous Female Characters
I’ve already complained about Peter Jackson et al’s need to add female characters to Tolkien’s stories. This primarily comes from scriptwriter Philippa Boyens, who appears responsible for Evangeline Lilly’s female elf character in upcoming Hobbit films. They want female energy in stories full of males, so why not come up with a character or, as in the case of Lord of the Rings’ Arwen, give a character who was discussed mainly in the appendices key scenes?
Well, if Jackson makes The Silmarillion this particular line of attack against him will disappear. This is because it is full, full, of powerful, important female characters. I’ve already mentioned Galadriel and Elwing. There’s also Luthien, who—with Beren—stole a Silmaril from Morgoth. And Morwen, the mother of the famous human hero Turin Turambar, who becomes an important figure in her own right. And Idril, the mother of Earendil, who devised a secret escape from Gondolin that helped to save many of that city’s inhabitants.
I’m probably losing readers who’ve never opened The Silmarillion now. But my point is there are a lot of female characters, so Peter Jackson et al could make the Silmarillion movies without either ruining Tolkien’s stories with poorly-written female characters or appearing to endorse a patriarchal system.
5. There Would Be Lots Of Opportunities For Epic Battles
One of the many things Peter Jackson is great at is battle scenes. This includes small-scale melees like the fight between the fellowship and the orcs at the end of Fellowship of the Ring. And massive sieges, like the battles of Helms Deep, Isengard and Minas Tirith. He loves big battles so much he adds them even when they weren’t in the book, like the transformation of the Goblin King scene in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from a brief scuffle into a 30-minute dizzying conflagration.
Well, he would love The Silmarillion, then. It’s full of epic battles that I personally would love to see Peter Jackson bring to the screen. This includes The Battle of Sudden Flame, when Morgoth caused the volcanoes around Angband to erupt and sent dragons out to destroy the elf and human armies surrounding his realm. And Beren and Luthien’s assault on Angand, which includes a fight with the giant wolf Carcharoth.
There’s also the fall of Gondolin, when Morgoth sent his forces into the hidden city from the northern mountain slopes; this involves an awesome scene in which the people of Gondolin see the fires of Morgoth’s dragons coming, and think for a second it’s the sun rising from the wrong direction.
And the battle I’ve always wanted to see: The War of Wrath. After Earendil convinces the Valar to help Middle Earth, the hosts of the Valar and the high elves assault Morgoth and defeat him completely. In the process, Middle Earth is transformed, with Beleriand disappearing under the ocean. It would be tough to pull off a fight between the gods in which half of the Earth is destroyed, but if anyone can do it, it’s Peter Jackson.
4…And Exotic Locales
In addition to the epic battles, Peter Jackson is also great at creating exotic settings from the books, many of which he based on influential artwork inspired by Tolkien. He captured perfectly the autumnal beauty of Rivendell, as well as the fey and quiet grandeur of Lothlorien. And his depictions of Isengard and Mordor demonstrated the mechanistic, despoiling evil that is Sauron.
The Silmarillion contains many more opportunities for Peter Jackson to show off his gifts. I’ve already mentioned Gondolin, the wondrous city in a hidden valley of the mountains. There’s Menegroth, hall of the elf king Thingol (father of Luthien). Menegroth was also known as the “Thousand Caves,” and was hewn by dwarves to resemble a subterranean forest. And the sylvan dwelling of the Laiquendi of Ossiriand, green elves who had hidden dwellings in the trees.
There are also plenty of settings that would let Jackson utilize his skills in the grotesque. I’ve mentioned Angband. There’s also Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the fortress of Sauron, where he was joined by his powerful servants Draugluin the werewolf and Thuringwethil the vampire. And several scenes feature post-combat destruction, such as the ruins of the elf city Nargothrond, in which the great dragon Glaurung dwelt.
3. Great Opportunities For Creature Creation
Another excellent element of Jackson’s directorial skills is his creature creation. The live action orcs in The Lord of the Rings were a welcome respite from the CGI overload of the Star Wars prequels. The motion-capture technology used to create Gollum was brilliant. And Jackson also brought to life several of Tolkien’s more unique creations, such as the tree-esque Ents.
He could do even more of this with The Silmarillion. Unlike the shadowy figure he became by the time of The Lord of the Rings, Sauron was a flesh-and-blood (more or less) entity in The Silmarillion, and it’d be great to see how Jackson interprets that. Likewise, we would see the Valar during the War of Wrath, and I’d love to see Jackson’s take on a god.
Even the elves would require some creativity. The slight figures of the elves in The Lord of the Rings was the result of thousands of years of living. During the time of The Silmarillion they were stronger beings, and some of them—those that had lived in the Valinor—had godlike qualities.
2. It Could Lead To A Clone Wars-Esque Spinoff Series
One of the few things George Lucas got right about the Star Wars prequels, in my opinion, is The Clone Wars animated TV series. These series tell the tale of what happened in the Clone Wars, which broke out at the end of Episode II and ended in Episode III. This includes greater insight into the characters of Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi, as well as more details on other elements of the Old Republic, including relations between the Jedi and the clone troopers and tensions between core and periphery worlds.
These cartoons give Star Wars fans more of what they crave, gives kids an accessible entry into the Star Wars expanded universe, and guarantees LucasFilm—and now Disney—a steady stream of Star War-related revenue.
I could see a similar spinoff from Silmarillion movies. Even with seven movies, there’s no way Peter Jackson could depict everything going on in Tolkien’s history. A TV series could show some of the cool back story of people like Beren—who adventured in the wilderness before meeting Luthien—or Turin, who led a company of outlaws for awhile. Yes, it might become an attempt to make as much money as possible from Tolkien’s stories, but it would also give us chance to watch all of The Silmarillion.
I could live with that.
1. It Would Show Everyone The Brilliance Of The Silmarillion
The most important reason why Jackson should make The Silmarillion into a film series is what it will do for the book itself. As I’ve noted, a lot of people who love The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit haven’t read The Silmarillion. It’s long and, again, is written more as a history textbook than a novel.
And even people who do read it often don’t enjoy it. They skip the tedious historical passages, jump ahead to the chapter on Beren and Luthien, and never really finish it.
But reading and enjoying The Silmarillion is essential to understanding what Tolkien tried to do with his writing. The Lord of the Rings is the end point of an ages-long struggle between good and evil. Sauron’s deceptive ways, the tension for the elves between saving Middle Earth and leaving forever, and the strengths and weaknesses of humans all have their roots in The Silmarillion.
And The Silmarillion provides insight into many aspects of The Lord of the Rings, making reading it a more rewarding experience. It explains why elves don’t trust humans, why the servants of Sauron are scared by cries of “A Elbereth Gilthoniel,” and why the light of Earendil—captured in Galadriel’s gift to Frodo—is so powerful.
The Lord of the Rings movies brought a book series that was popular, but kind of weird for outsiders, directly into the mainstream. A Silmarillion film series could do something similar for a book whose fans are seen as dorky—as I’ve often been told about myself—even by lovers of The Lord of the Rings. I couldn’t imagine a greater tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien than that.
James McAvoy has revealed that it’s his ambition to play Gandalf on the big screen.
Talking to Total Film magazine, the actor – who has starred in cinematic blockbusters such as X-Men: First Class and Atonement – said he wanted to play the iconic wizard in the future.
James McAvoy also lined up a potential project in which he could play the role, which has been taken on by Ian McKellen in Peter Jackson’s interpretation of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Making reference to The Silmarillion Movie, another tome by J.R.R. Tolkien, he said:
“I’d like to play Gandalf”, before saying of the text: “It’s called The Silmarillion! It’s a collection of poems and songs that chart the ancient history of Middle-earth. My true geek is coming to the fore, but they’re really, really beautiful stories.”
“In part of that is the genesis of Gandalf, or Mithrandir, or Stormcrow, or any of his many, many names. Anyway, maybe that’s the one!” he added.
Last month, it was reported that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey set a new US box office record in its opening weekend after raking in $84.8 million (£52.4 million) – the highest three-day total of all-time in the month of December. In addition to McKellen, it also features Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Sylvester McCoy and Benedict Cumberbatch.
I’m as excited as anyone about the Hobbit movies. I can’t believe they’re almost here. However, and I guess that this is a testament to my own glass-half-empty personality, all I can think about is that once the movies have come and gone, that this may very well be it for Tolkien in cinema – at least for another generation or two.
Unless Peter Jackson (or someone) tackles The Silmarillion Movie.
This would be a difficult project. The Silmarillion is the creation myth of the Middle-earth universe: The coming of what more or less passes as the gods, the ascension of the Elves and the rise and fall of Numenor, the creation of the rings. It’s an utterly mythopoeic work – almost a myth cycle than a set of fantasy cycles. This would be more than just one movie here, but with three The Lord of the Rings movies and three new Hobbit movies coming down the pipes, would three The Silmarillion movies really be that unreasonable? What about five or six?
Who knows if Peter Jackson would want to be sign on for that project – he might be Tolkiened out at that point – but surely there would be other great directors who would wish to tackle it. Guillermo del Toro was associated with The Hobbit movie at one point. I’m a huge del Toro fan, but even I didn’t think that he was a good fit for that. However, the Mexican visionary director would be perfect for The Silmarillion Movie, in my opinion. The mythical tone would jibe well with del Toro’s highly visual style. It would be nice to see him come in for his turn on the Tolkien universe.
The Silmarillion Movie might be considered unfilmable, but people said the same thing about The Lord of the Rings. I think it could be a great series of movies, but the bigger question would be whether J.R.R. Tolkien fans would show up to watch it. Would you?
A new movie poster for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been released to the world – featuring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.
Unveiled to mark “Hobbit Day” – the fictional birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins – the promo poster shows former The Office star Martin Freeman clutching a sword and looking determined.
Activity in “Tolkien Week”, which has also seen the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit’s publication, also included a new The Hobbit trailer for the Peter Jackson movie.
The Hobbit will be three movies rather than two. Peter Jackson took to his Facebook page to announce that the story will be extended across three movies as rumoured recently.
Peter Jackson said that: “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.'”
There’s no word yet on the subtitle of the third movie and how it will fit in with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There And Back Again, nor do we have a new release schedule for the three. Presumably this third movie will take the story’s finish back to 2014, but that remains to be confirmed.
In any case, this has got to be good news for The Hobbit Movie fans. What are you hoping to see in the third movie?
Dear Mr. Jackson,
I just heard the news! Your recent announcement that you are making three Hobbit movies instead of two has me almost as excited as the fact that we get to see Radagast the Brown’s home. I know that some will worry that this is a mere marketing ploy to get more money from the fans. However, I am not worried. The Hobbit has so much wonderful delicious back story, which is not seen in the book but will make an excellent movie. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to see Gandalf taking on the Necromancer in Dol Guldur and to see the very first inklings of Saruman’s treachery in his exaltation to power over the white council.
You and I have have our disagreements over how you handle your male lead characters. I do not think that angst or wavering are necessary to create story arc, even in movie characters. You clearly disagree. However, these are but internecine squabbles between two passionate fans of a master. Thank you! Thank you so much for bringing the stories which I adore to the screen!
Thank you most of all for your dedication to the craft of film and your openly expressed desire to inspire others to become great filmmakers like you. It is a rare gift for someone with your skills and talents to so willingly and openly invite us into the process. You have done so in all your travels in Middle Earth. For that you have my undying admiration.
Mr. Jackson, as a fan of Tolkien, I am sure that you are aware that on their shared tombstone Edith and Ronald bear the names of Luthien and Beren. Tolkien did not choose to be buried under the name of the Evenstar and her mortal prince, Aragorn. Rather, he chose the names of their ancestors, the greatest love story Tolkien ever created. This story has yet to find a storyteller who can bring it to life in any fresh way.
Mr. Jackson, you are that person! If you will not bring the tale of Beren and Luthien to the screen, no one will know why Aragorn sings their love song in the wastes near Weathertop and no one will know why Tolkien chose to be buried under the name Beren instead of Aragorn. Not only so, but along with Beren and Luthien shall fade the memory of the great Silmarils which drove the wondrous stories which fill two full ages in the great saga of Middle Earth. It is the pure light of a silmaril that fills the phial which Galadriel gives Frodo. It is the light of a silmaril which turns away the wrath of the last child of Ungoliant in the pass above Cirith Ungol. Yet how can we know why the light of that star, and that star alone, would serve as a light when all other lights fail unless you tell us? This is why today I write to ask you to take on the challenge of making feature movies from The Silmarillion.
Mr. Jackson, think of the stories you can tell. Just think! There is the story of the creation and the coming of the gods. There is the story of the great trees and the forging of the Silmarils. There is the story of the elves’ rebellion against the will of the gods and Feanor’s flight to reclaim the great jewels. What about Turin and the seven sons of Feanor? There are epic battles between elves and dwarves. We could see Durin look into the lake of Kheled-zaram and found the great city of Khazad-dum. Consider the overthrow of Morgoth. Think of whole armies of balrogs arrayed against a host of elves and gods as the great northern lands are plunged into the sea! This doesn’t even cover the second age with the rise of Sauron and the forging of the rings, the tragic but glorious fall of Numenor and the coming of the Kings of Numenor to Middle Earth.
Do not all of these tales cry out for an epic filmmaker like yourself to bring them to life? What technical feats and storytelling challenges to overcome! There is enough material there to last a lifetime, five or six films worth at least. The tale of Beren and Luthien alone is worthy of two movies — or perhaps you could split the latter half and make it three! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) What spectacle, what glory! Think of the freedom, Mr. Jackson. Most of these are mere sketches just waiting to be filled out by a filmmaker like yourself. No more pedantic critics — like me — telling you that you got Aragorn wrong or complaining about Frodo’s mistrust of Sam. Please, Mr. Jackson, strike while the iron is hot. Use the cash and profit you will generate this December to get a studio to agree to bring us The Silmarillion Movie.
After bringing 12 minutes of The Hobbit Movie to Comic-Con — where Peter Jackson purposefully did not present footage in the 48 frames per second/3-D presentation that perplexed audiences at CinemaCon — the Lord of the Rings filmmaker spoke further about his desire to explore even more ground in the fantasy universe created by J.R.R. Tolkien. One possibility may be a third Hobbit film culled from Tolkien’s expansive LOTR notes and appendices, though Jackson admitted that the author’s posthumously published Silmarillion might present more of a challenge.
Familiar faces filled the screen in the Hobbit preview, which gave Comic-Con fans glimpses of Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel, Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, and new cast member Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in the two-parter, which will hit screens in December 2012 and 2013. Speaking with press, Jackson acknowledged his choice to present the footage in 2-D rather than the 48 fps that earned mixed-to-negative buzz at CinemaCon. “We have to try to figure out ways to make this cinematic experience much more spectacular, more immersive,” he said. “But you know, Hall H isn’t the place to do it.”
Neither is showing just ten minutes of footage in 48 fps an adequate way to introduce the format to thousands of uninitiated fans who may not even be used to big screen 3-D, he insisted. CinemaCon seems to have also taught Jackson not to let 48 fps overshadow the actual film at hand. “I didn’t want to repeat the CinemaCon experience where literally people see this reel and all they write about is 48 frames a second. That doesn’t do us any good. It doesn’t do 48 fps any good. To accurately judge that, you really need to sit down and watch the entire film.”
Meanwhile, Jackson and collaborators Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh are in the early stages of looking at a potential third Hobbit film based on the vast 125-page appendices in Tolkien’s Return of the King, some of which was used to flesh out The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
“Philippa and Fran and I have been talking to the studio about the other things we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we can possibly persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting — possibly more than a few weeks, actually — a bit of additional shooting next year,” Jackson said. “There are other parts of the story that we’d like to tell that we haven’t had the chance to tell yet.”
Jackson looked to the additional Tolkien notes to fill in certain character backstories and events missing from the primary texts. “For instance, in The Hobbit where Gandalf mysteriously disappears for chapters on end and it’s not really explained in any detail where he’s gone, much later Tolkien fleshed those out in these appendices,” he explained. “It was altogether a lot more dark and more serious than what was written in The Hobbit Movie. And I do want to make a series of movies that run together so if any crazy lunatic wants to watch them all together in a row, there will be a consistency of tone.”
A completist’s cinematic tour of the LOTR world might include Tolkien’s The Silmarillion Movie, a collection of universe-building mythology edited and posthumously published by Tolkien’s son Christopher in 1977. The problem, Jackson says, is in who controls the rights to the work. “The Silmarillion Movie is the big volume, but that’s owned by the Tolkien estate,” he said. “It’s not owned by Warner Bros. or MGM — and I don’t think the Tolkien estate are very fond of these movies, so I wouldn’t expect to see The Silmarillion Movie any time soon.”