Here’s the statement he left on his Facebook page.
“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 âyes.’
“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 âThe Hobbitâ? films, Iâd 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.”
The third film’s subtitle has not yet been confirmed (the first two are called ‘An Unexpected Journey’ and ‘There anb Back Again’ respectively) and where in the trilogy it will sit is also unclear.
Jackson has long hinted that Gandlaf’s untold story – where he leaves the dwarves on the edge of Mirkwood – would form teh centrepiece of any extra material, which would suggest that the extra film will come second in the trilogy, with the original two bookending it.
The first two films will be released in December 2012 and 2013 respectively, with the third and final film slated for the summer of 2014.
What do you make of the news?