The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey

James Fisher/New Line Productions

The Hobbit will be a trilogy, just like The Lord of the Rings.

After much deliberation since wrapping principal photography, Peter Jackson has finally confirmed the rumor that's been the talk of the shire: a third installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is now in the works.

Bilbo Baggins, looks like you'll be on the road a little while longer.

"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," the Oscar-winning filmmaker wrote on his Facebook page this morning. "Recently [collaborators] Fran [Walsh], Phil [co-screenwriter Philippa Boyens] 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."

Jackson continued: "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.'"

The helmer added that his chief reason for adding one more entry to the two previously announced—The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again,—is that another chapter in the saga along with some additional filming next year is what ultimately is needed to fulfill his vision for Tolkien's epic.

"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."

No word yet on the title of the trilogy-capper.

Check out Gollum before and after

The development of the now-three films wasn't without difficulty as the New Zealand director had to iron out, of course, the complicated rights situation with distributors MGM, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, which accounted for the The Hobbit's years-long delay since Jackson swept the Academy Awards with 2003's The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

"So, without further ado…I'd like to announce that two films will become three," Jackson concluded. "It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, "'a tale that grew in the telling.'"

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