There's a rumor afoot that Peter Jackson and New Line are considering turning the upcoming The Hobbit films, originally planned as two installments, into a trilogy. Yeah, because apparently there's an extra store of information about The Hobbit that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote later in his career that Jackson has put into the films, so there might be enough material to make a trilogy out of the story. Which, no. That simply cannot be.
One novel, into three huge movies? There's no way one novel could sustain that. Well, OK, the Bible could, but that's like a million pages and was written by hundreds of people and whatever. But very few other books could sustain being split into two movies, let alone three. The Hobbit should stop at two. We understand that decision. That way Jackson and crew can be a little more relaxed and really settle into the story. But dividing it up any further seems excessive. And come on, let's be honest here. This has nothing to do with narrative integrity anyway. If they do indeed extend the damn thing, it's solely a cash-grab, like the Twilight series stretching a rather thin third book into two films.
The strategy did, yes, work for the Harry Potter films, but only because the final book in the series was jam-packed with exposition and action. The separation point felt logical and both films were expansive and full. But that doesn't mean it has to happen every time! Though, try telling that to a movie studio that wants just one more crack at making another billion dollars. And that's exactly what another division of The Hobbit would be, something cynical and completely un-magical that's feeding solely a bottom line. Peter Jackson's Middle Earth franchise is deeply respected, and I'd hope that New Line would eventually see the obvious error in making it all about the money. They could hem and haw all they wanted about how the story required it, but it doesn't. And everyone would know that.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.