Jackson confirms extra Hobbit film

The Hobbit director Peter Jackson has confirmed that his latest Tokien adaptation will be as ambitious as his Lord Of The Rings trilogy - and will also be stretched over three films.

That might come as a mild surprise to Tolkien fans. While the Lord Of The Rings adaptation matched the book’s three substantial volumes, The Hobbit novel was just a slim story for children, in its original form.

Jackson explained how the project grew. "It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, 'a tale that grew in the telling'," he wrote on his Facebook site. "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.

"I'm delighted that New Line, MGM and Warner Bros are equally enthusiastic about bringing fans this expansive tale across three films," he said, although given how profitable the Lord Of The Rings saga proved, perhaps he shouldn’t be surprised.

Tolkien’s obsessive writing about Middle Earth will provide copious extra material for the films. "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," Jackson added.

The first film, with Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, is due in cinemas in December 2012, with the second following a year later and the third scheduled for summer 2014

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