Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has already split ‘The Hobbit’ into two movies, but he’s now into “discussions” to split the conclusion - ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ - as well.
At San Diego Comic-Con, he was asked if a third ‘Hobbit’ was a possibility. He said: "That's a discussion we're having, yeah. We have certainly been talking to the studio about some of the material we can't film, and we've been asking them so we can do a bit more filming next year. Which, I don't know what would come of that, whether it'd be extended editions or whatnot. But those discussions are ongoing."
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Jackson said that he’s interested in filming more of the material found in the appendix sections of ‘Return of the King’, which the studio has the rights to.
"I’d like to shoot a bunch more material that we [couldn't] shoot. There's so much good stuff in the appendices that we haven't been able to squeeze into these movies."
Jackson later clarified his comments, which still don't entirely rule out a third film. He said: “It’s very premature. I mean we have an incredible source material with the appendices because ‘The Hobbit’ is obviously a novel but we also have the rights to use this 125 pages of additional notes where Tolkien expanded the world of ‘The Hobbit’ published at the end of ‘Return of the King’ and we’ve used some of it so far (and just in the last few weeks as we’ve been wrapping up the shooting) and thinking about the shape of the story. Fran and I have been talking to the studio about other things we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we could persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting. Probably more than a few weeks actually, next year, and what form that would actually end up taking. The discussions are pretty early. So there isn’t really anything to report but there’s other parts of the story that we’d like to tell that we haven’t been able to tell yet.”
‘The Hobbit: An Expected Journey’ is released in the UK on December 14 2012 with the (at present only) sequel out a year later.