Director Peter Jackson announced that his originally planned two-part film series The Hobbit will now be a trilogy.
The decision to add a third part to the Lord of the Rings’ prequel was announced Monday on Jackson’s Facebook account, and the film will have a scheduled release of December 2014.
“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,” Jackson said. “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 Hobbit has faced many delays throughout its development and was supposed to be directed by Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro. Much of the production and designs switched over when Peter Jackson was announced the director. He had been set to just be a producer.
The trilogy will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. Many actors such as Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee, and Andy Serkis will reprise their characters from the previous Lord of the Rings movies.
The Lord of the Rings series has earned over 17 Academy Awards, a record for any film trilogy.
“It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, ‘a tale that grew in the telling,’” Jackson stated.
The first part titled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released Dec. 14 2012, and the second part The Hobbit: There And Back Again will come out Dec. 13 2013.