BUT, the quote just doesnt seem to fit this in my opinion...
...two movies. The first would deal with the 80-year old novel. The second, imagined entirely by Jackson and Walsh, would link the conclusion of The Hobbit to the start of the first Lord of the Rings book, The Fellowship of the Ring.
Yeah, I know. The "Return Journey" idea I'm suggesting doesn't perfectly match up with all of the various statements made thus far about these films, and I'm taking a lot of liberties with intepreting them. The above quote is one of the most troublesome for the theory. One phrase that jumps out is "imagined entirely". My idea for what film #2 will be does not fit that description. But, to be honest, what sort of film could
be "imagined entirely
" by Jackson and Walsh and still be part of Middle-Earth, especially if it's a story that links two other, well-known works, which are themselves deeply woven into a massive fictional mythology? So, when it comes to phrases like "imagined entirely", I'm making what I consider a reasonable assumption that the media is just watering it down for a general reader, and not really being as rigorous as we are in our analysis of how these movies will relate to Tolkien's works.
As for the statement that film #2 will "link the conclusion of The Hobbit to the start of the first Lord of the Rings book" I once more have to assume a general vagueness on the part of the reporting. Does linking one story's end with another's beginning mean that the linking story must chronologically
span the entire time frame in between? Again, I'm taking liberties here, but isn't it reasonable to speculate that the "link" being described may be more thematic than chronological? All that would be needed for film #2 to more thoroughly bridge The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings would be to flesh out the White Council subplot, which is a mere afterthought in the original Hobbit book. The "link" would therefore be more about introducing the "Wise", wizards and elves we already know from LOTR, who are trying to deal with a growing "Shadow" in Middle-Earth, just "whispers of a nameless fear", a mystery that Gandalf finally unravels in the early part of FOTR. I believe this
is the linking story between The Hobbit and LOTR that is being referenced, and I believe it will likely be more accurately described as an expansion of The Hobbit story, rather than a sequel to it.
I believe there are, in fact, some statements out there that support this:
From an EW interview with PJ, dated 9-22-06:
EW: Are your wheels turning about how you might approach adapting The Hobbit even though the prospect has only just come up?
PJ: Reading about it on the Net, what interested me is the fact that [MGM is] talking about doing two Hobbit movies, which I thought was a much smarter idea than one. Not just for obvious financial reasons for the studios, but from a storytelling point of view, because one of the drawbacks of The Hobbit is it's relatively lightweight compared to LOTR. I mean, LOTR has this epic, rather complex quality to it, and The Hobbit, which was written some 10 or 12 years earlier by Tolkien as a children's book, is much more juvenile and simplistic. If they're seriously thinking about doing two, it makes it more interesting, because it allows you to expand The Hobbit. There's a lot of sections in which a character like Gandalf disappears for a while. From memory - I mean, I haven't read it for a while now - but I think he references going off to meet with the White Council, who are actually characters like Galadriel and Saruman and people that we see in Lord of the Rings. He mysteriously vanishes for a while and then comes back, but we don't really know what goes on. There's clearly lots of interesting politics happening concurrently with [Bilbo's] story, and doing two movies would allow you to explore a lot of those dark areas. You could make it feel more epic and more politically complicated.
Now, in fairness, this interview took place over a year ago. Lots may have changed since then. But, even one of the recent EW articles cited in this thread states that "Jackson and his life/creative partner Walsh have always envisioned the big-screen adaptation of The Hobbit as two movies". Well, unless they've changed their minds about that vision in the past year, it seems that, at least as recently as September 2006, PJ had a pretty good idea about what both
movies would be about, not just the first one. And, note that PJ does
refer to it as "two Hobbit movies", not "The Hobbit" and "a sequel to The Hobbit".
So, this is a big reason why I think the press has been confusing and contradictory: no one knows whether film #2 is part of The Hobbit, or a sequel to it, because the movie would still technically fit into the timeline of The Hobbit, but would be so drastically expanded and altered that it is essentially a "new" story (and a "sequel" to the classic Lonely Mountain quest), meant to more smoothly bridge the thematic gaps between the world of Bilbo and the world of Frodo.
And, yes, I do actually think what we'll get here is a "Duology" set during the same time frame as "The Hobbit", even if much of the second film bears only the faintest resemblance to Tolkien's published work. As for the unsatisfying ending for film #1... well, I'm not sure. TTT climaxed with the Helm's Deep battle, but it ended
on a note of foreboding and doom as the stakes were raised in the Frodo/Sam/Gollum dynamic. Is is such a stretch to imagine The film #1 climaxing with the Battle of Five Armies, but still maintaining a sense of peril going into the next movie for Bilbo as he sets off home? Maybe the return journey won't be just a leisurely stroll back to the Shire, as it's described in the book. Since we don't know anything about the details of what film #2 might be about, though, it's impossible to guess what growing threat, specifically, could be utilized to provide a "to be continued..." sort of ending to the first film. I'm sure things like that are easy enough to overcome for PJ/FW and company by this point, though. It seems like coming up with a suitable ending point for the first movie would be a small worry for them.
Edited by ThunderDroid, 27 December 2007 - 06:23 PM.