Peter Jackson Confirms Third Hobbit Film For Summer 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

After weeks of rumors that Peter Jackson and his collaborators would take on the massive challenge of yet another movie set in Middle Earth, the man himself has confirmed it in his typical low-key, democratic way: via Facebook post. On his official page Jackson wrote a brief, thoughtful announcement confirming that "two films will become three," and that a third film will allow him to tell more of "the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of Necromancer and the Battle of Dol Guldur." You can read the full announcement below:

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."

If you look at it from the cynical Hollywood point of view, this is no surprise, as the final installments of many franchises-- like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games-- have been split in two, essentially doubling the possible profits. But fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's books know the world of Middle Earth is dense and complicated enough that this story might actually merit it-- especially if Jackson is digging into all the supplemental materials that existed outside of the actual Hobbit book.

The third, untitled Hobbit film will be released in the summer of 2014, so less than six months after the release of There and Back Again, which is scheduled for December 2013. We'll get our first look at Jackson's new take on Middle Earth this December, when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes to theaters December 14.

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend