back to article Peter Jackson to lord over 'Rings' prequels

Lord of the Rings helmsman Peter Jackson will produce a two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit - but he will not write or direct. Plans to bring the Tolkien prequel to the big screen had stalled as Jackson and New Line Cinema fought a battle royale over royalties from the "Rings" trilogy, which grossed over $3bn …


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  1. Chris G


    Although the Hobbit is a good book with an involved and complicated story, it is not epic in the way that Lord of the Rings is. It is more classic story telling, so I will be interested to see if it will make as good a film as the others. I think the only way will be to depart from the original in order to spice it up Hollywood style.

  2. Steve
    IT Angle

    Two films?

    No way does the Hobbit justify two films. More Hollywood greed "Let's see how much we can squeeze out of Tolkein this time".

  3. Stephen Gazard
    Thumb Down

    a two part hobbit?

    Good grief. With peter Jackson's usual 3-hour-stretch-out-a-film-in-any-way-possible style of making, this will be an epic.

    Having read the books, the hobbit should be much easier to make into a 3-hour film than any of the lord of the rings trilogy since the storyline is much simpler, and much less involved. This, for me, begs the question of why he sees the need for 2 films for the hobbit as opposed to just one?

    Of course it could be a sly way of getting us to spend more and more at the cinema...

  4. Argolis

    Very Epic!

    I think one of the reasons they may be splitting hobbit in two is to better involve the other story that was running parallel (ie: the white council, the attack on dol guldur, the necromancer turning out to be sauron etc) which would be pretty epic.

  5. Andy Bright
    Thumb Up

    Not sure The Hobbit counts as an epic

    Certainly The LOTR could be considered a purple drop, but The Hobbit is surely a blue? Then again it's probably better than most stuff that drops in Kara so perhaps it is an epic after all.

  6. Jon Tocker

    I hope...

    ...this means Ian mcKellen as Gandalf, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Ian Holm as Bilbo (I'm sure they could make him appear younger - Bilbo wasn't so young when he began his adventure and once he got the ring his aging slowed so he wouldn't have to look too much younger than he first apppeared in LoTR)

  7. Lotaresco


    How can The Hobbit be a prequel? It was published in 1937, the LoTR didn't get published until 1954. The Silmarillion is a prequel.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    If they did that, then it would be seriously cool.

    There is plenty of back story that can be dug into just by reading further into the LoTR Appedix.

    However, if they are simply sticking to the Hobbit story, then it is incredible money grabbing overkill to split the movie into two parts - irrespective of how long they make it.

    The Hobbit is a short children's book and its essential themes are aimed at children - hence can probably be covered in a 90-120 minute movie.

    LoTR OTOH was a book for adults (6-books in three volumes), and hence it warranted the epic treatment in three installments at the movies.

  9. Jacint

    Two Parts!

    I can see it being split into "There" - a tall tale of trolls, elves, dwarfs and dragons, (Yawn, we've seen it all before) and "Back Again!", a family homily - telling the tale of the ancestral family home falling into ruin only to be saved by the second cousins once removed, only for the disappearing uncle to return after a years absence, and the amazing hijincks that occur as a result. Where did those silver spoons go again?!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    No, it's epic

    Tolkien understood epic tales. That's why LotR reads like one. The material in The Hobbit is drawn from the same imaginative sources. The manner of presentation is the difference; unless you're just comparing The Hobbit with the first book (not volume) of Lord of the Rings. See, the children's tale grows up in Lord of the Rings. It would be interesting to see The Hobbit presented in a "high" style.

    So, all you lot complaining "Aww no! That would be loooong!" stick to Hairy Pooter and pals.

  11. Gilbert Wham


    Ssssshhhhh! Fuck's sake, don't tell them about the Silmarillion! How long d'you think Jackson could spin that one out for?

  12. Nuno


    "How can The Hobbit be a prequel? It was published in 1937, the LoTR didn't get published until 1954"

    Do you know what a prequel is? Like in the opposite of a sequel...

    As for 2 films, if they include Bilbo's adventures, they can make 3 movies...

  13. Graham Marsden

    @Gilbert Wham

    > the Silmarillion! How long d'you think Jackson could spin that one out for?

    Ask Christopher Tolkien with "More rummagings from my father's waste paper basket"!

  14. Michael Greenhill

    @ Lotaresco

    How can it be a prequel? Because The Hobbit details events that happened before those in LOTR. Ergo, prequel.

    Look at the Star Wars fillums - the prequels were made 10-odd years after the original three.

  15. J

    Re:Two films?

    Second that.


    You obviously do not know what prequel means. Google "prequel definition" then (hint: "pre" means before, as in prehistoric). :-)

  16. J


    Forgot to mention: of course prequel refers to the *movie* here, not the books...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hobbit could be done in two

    I'd say there is a lot to be crammed into a single movie if you were to do it in one. The unexpected party alone would take up 15 minutes. The trolls would take up 20. Beorn's house would take up 20, Elrond's house would take up a good 30 minutes, trapped in the Elvish Palace 40-50 minutes. The spiders, 15 minutes. The goblins would be 10 minutes. Riddles in the dark would be done verbatim: 15 minutes.

    Anyone who thinks there isn't enough content to take up 2 feature films is dreaming.

  18. Rhys


    Basicly took a lot of the germanic myths that wagner also used...

    and re-told the tale of the rings in his own imaginative style.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Two part Hobbit, cinematic bloatware?

    After all, Melbourne House managed to squeeze it into 48 KB on the ZX Spectrum.

    [sits down and starts singing about gold]

  20. Ian Yates

    Two parts

    Of course two parts: There and Back Again ;)

  21. Leslie Greenhalgh

    Not splitting the hobbit in 2

    They are not spliting the Hobbit into 2 parts, but are making The Hobbit and a film bridging the time between the end of the Hobbit and the start of the Fellowing Of The Ring.

  22. Paul

    Re: Not sure The Hobbit counts as an epic

    No. Bad Noob. No. :-)

    And anyway, It would be a quest, not a drop. Possibly LOtR could be a drop, if the ring were the quest starter. But the Hobbit would definatly be a Multi-part quest.



    Binds when equipped


    1 Armor



    Binds when equipped


    10 Armor


    Binds when called

    Races: Human

    Use: Summons a lift home when drunk.

  23. Greg Williams

    Just because it's one book...

    ... doesn't mean that two movies are not justified. Remember that quite a lot was cut out of LotR and it was more of an action-type soaring drama. The Hobbit, as someone else mentioned, is closer to being more of a traditional fantasy adventure film.

    If you made one film only, it would be somewhat condensed, and would not live up to the book in my opinion.

  24. Dave Bullions
    Paris Hilton

    DVD ?

    The other reason for making the Hobbit as two films is because they, maybe, have the DVD boxed set in mind.

    Two discs for the two films plus another two discs for all the extras. That will bring in quite a lot money.

  25. Slaine


    [wonders] will they be shuffling the order of events, taking all the really funny "english humour" out and sanitising it all for an American audience, complete with naff remake of "your plastic pal who's fun to be with"... or will it be almost entirely CGI? [/wonders]

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the point?

    Does anyone actually think he's going to allow the actual writers and director to do their jobs? More likely, he'll constantly second-guess their work because of his success with LotR.

    I'd really rather not see him involved at all if he's not going to have the proper amount of time to spend on this, as I imagine he'll be more of an interference than help.

  27. Shakje

    Re: Re: Not sure The Hobbit counts as an epic

    The Ring would be an awesome drop. Hidden on equip, + stamina, reveal hidden and track undead?

    Question is, what lvl would The Hobbit be, since Bilbo starts as probably about 20, and Frodo starts LotR as 10.

  28. James Wray

    Money money

    I am sure there is an expiry on when New Line had to do this. At least Tolkien did not sell the Silmarillion movie rights.

    Two films seems excessive...I wonder if they will create a major female character and love angle. Can't see it without one. I mean one old guy and the rest all below 5ft with either hairy faces or hairy feet...or both. I bet Jackson and Walsh won't be able to resist 'improving' Tolkien.

  29. Neil

    Clerks 2

    Of course, they managed to make 3 movies out of a bunch of people walking to a volcano, so 2 films for the hobbit will be a cinch for these guys.

    The Hobbit Part 1 : There

    The Hobbit Part 2 : Back again

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Bright + Paul

    You both know very well that the One ring is only a green! It's not as good as the two ring mind...

  31. Jon


    Actually, Lotaresco is right. A prequel is actually a type of sequel which tells an earlier story. The Hobbit cannot be a prequel because it was published first.

  32. Richard Scratcher
    Thumb Up

    Will they stick to the story this time?

    I'm glad that PJ isn't writing the screenplay this time. He had a tendency to muck about with the story, moving characters about the map to suit his wacky ideas.

    The Hobbit is a well crafted story that should appeal to all ages. It's got a good plot, great characters and excellent monsters for our heroes to fight. New digital film techniques can finally bring this fantasy to the big screen. What could possibly go wrong?

    I'll get me cloak....

  33. TeeCee Gold badge


    No, Lotaresco is spot on here. A prequel is written later (semantically a sequel) but the action takes place earlier, hence "prequel", an artificial word dreamed up by the publishing industry to cater for authors who write series of books without having a plan for the lot in place first.

    Strictly speaking, Hobbit is the first book and the LOTR trilogy is the sequel ("are the sequels" doesn't read right, a sensible bloody language would cater for plural nouns properly here).

    Star Wars is a special case. Lucas had plot outlines for all six right at the start of things, but elected to pitch 4 first as the one that could stand on its own the best. So in terms of story creation it's a conventional 1 through 6 affair of original and five sequels, but was filmed as 4 first, with two sequels and three prequels.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re prequel

    Can we add this Holywood abortion of a word to the El Reg banned words list, please.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What level is Bilbo

    Already answered in the Roleplaying game "Middle Earth", pretty sure it was based on the RuneQuest system.

    Hat .. Coat .. etc etc

    Saying that I was damned annoyed at the LOTR .. its supposed to be a story about the rise of Man ! Not some jumped up green sludge that seems to melt flesh on contact.

    Also the best bit (for me) was missed out. The whole coming home and kicking the orcs out of the Shire spawned huge conspiracies that Tolkien was referring in some way to the end of the Great War and the experiences of those who faught and maybe came home to find what they were fighting for wasn't what they thought it was. After recent findings about how we acted after WWII, picking up the Nazis tools, kidnapping, torture, forced relocation, PoW's forced labour. I would not be surprised.

    Tolkien was concerned that the British had no equivalent to the Ring Cycle so he set out to create it, and didn't do a bad job.

  36. TeeCee Gold badge

    Prequel #2

    I realised after I posted that earlier that I'd carefully dipped my circular argument in Ronseal and varnished myself into a corner*. Oops!

    Books: Hobbit orginal, LOTR sequels.

    Films: LOTR originals, Hobbit prequel.

    I second the appeal of the Anon Cow to have "prequel" consigned to the "shite words" bin.

    * I realise that the common metaphor is to "paint oneself into a corner", but I've never actually done that. Varnish on the other hand........

  37. Saucerhead Tharpe

    Re: What level is Bilbo

    The Iron Crown Enterprises "Middle Earth Role-Playing game" (ICEAND MERP respectively) was based on its overcomplex Rolemaster system. Not RuneQuest at all.

    Hmm. I'll get me cloak


    Not a hobbit, but I play one on Lord of the Rings Online

  38. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Ack, stuff the damn hobbitses

    Let's get Mary Gentle's 'Grunts' on fillum...

    (and if you haven't read it, run, not walk, to the nearest decent bookstore and get it.)

  39. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    Two films

    There and back again was the sub name for the book, but the book itself covers his journey back in short order. His journey back was uneventful so can't be one of the films.

    With LOTR jackson cut out tons and he rewrote the first half to suit the audience (the move to crickhollow, old man willow, tom bambadil) added and removed characters (glorfindel, erkenbrand, 300 elves at helms deep, explosives, how many were at helms deep again?, liv tyler did what?) and trashed some encounters (legloas and the nazgul on the river, eomer was in helms deep, the scouring of the shire, sarumen as sharky in hobbiton) So who knows the outcome of a 2 film hobbit. We can only guess

    Bear in mind the hobbit was a kids book written after telling a story to the kids so is a different writing style, LOTR was written over 15 years because he had a story to tell. (half the initial cash was his afterall so it wasn't exactly because he was pressured into it)

    As such in the hobbit, huge areas are covered in a few pages. (The detail isn't needed for a five year old) The battle of the five armies was as big as the minas tirith siege or the battle of the black gate, lasting hours and involving waves of enemies. So could be half a flim, just like the return of the king. Then there is the sacking by smaug, the battle of dale which is about two pages of the book.

    But you have to bear in mind whoever writes it is american and won't care, understand or be thinking like a story teller, it will be written for the sceen on some old way of thinking. Such as the obvious. "How a female lead can be shoe horned in" to please hollywood. 14 dwarves, one wizard and a hobbit. **No women.**

    And the silmarillion is technically 7 books (not all interlinked) over two ages so given hollywood it could be anything from a Tv show to an epic.

    As well as the average american not understanding it, so hollywood won't care and would dumb it down so much as to be laughable. Imagine Lucien and Beren's love affair with angelina jolie and brad pitt, or worse, who would play Tulkas teaching the elves to fight? Laughing as he defeated morgoth. Or about how life was created from harmony and notes so that the symphony could be played. Only discord was played by morgoth creating evil.

    Hope they make the film as at least it is then a film that isn't a comic book and I can enjoy the cinema, but as LOTR wasn't that close to the story I won't count on the hobbit being that close either and will enjoy it as a stand alone tale. (Hopefully they will at least use the same set for the trolls as the extended first film has)

    I'll get my coat.

  40. Andrew
    Paris Hilton

    Two films?

    Perhaps the second film could actually be a proper stab at the Scouring of the Shire from the end of LotR? Here's hoping...

    Paris Hilton as Bilbo's love interest maybe?

  41. Chris Cheale

    Or maybe not...


    Let's get Mary Gentle's 'Grunts' on fillum


    I dread to think how much would end up on the cutting room floor to get it below 18R!

    "Pass me another halfling, this one's split"

  42. David Kesterson

    Hurrah for Lotaresco

    Prequel? Hardly! Lotaresco is correct - you can check the definition at Wikipedia

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    middle earth roleplaying game

    based on a skinned down Rolemaster.

    Git of a game. But very good, I remember having endless fun just reading the critical hit tables. However you did have to actually understand what the hell was going on, but once you got there it was simple. Especially if you had 3rd edition.

    2nd edition merp (red rather thin book) had a good few mistakes and it seemed that tables were just randomly scattered throughout the book for no good reason.

    Personally I thought the red book was 1st edition and the thicker marble cover type book was 2nd edition, but my brother told me otherwise.

    Great companion material - I still have the Arnor source book. Huuuuge book is huge.

    top crit on the missile table was

    "increadible shot, arrow goes in one ear and out the other, any extranious ear wax removed"

    Bilbo no doubt was a level one hobbit of no particular class, you'd probably use one of the sub classes.

    There was another LoTR game at the time (only know this becouse both merp books had a conversion table) it was d6 based instead of d100.

    Anyway I almost an hero'd when I heard they were doing LoTR so I'll wait and see.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    You know Jackson!

    The first movie will be:

    The unexpected party alone would take up 15 minutes.

    The trolls would take up 20.

    Beorn's house would take up 20,

    Elrond's house would take up a good 30 minutes,

    trapped in the Elvish Palace 40-50 minutes.

    The spiders, 15 minutes.

    The goblins would be 10 minutes.

    Riddles in the dark would be done verbatim: 15 minutes.

    etc etc crammed in 4 hours.

    The second movie:

    The Battle of five armies: 2 hours.

    The killing of Smaug: 1 hour.

    Wrapping up: 30 mins.

  45. Mike


    Oh, what the f*** happened to this world? There's only one trilogy, you f****ing morons. All right, look, there is only one return and it ain't of the king, it's of the jedi. Those f***in' hobbit movies were boring as hell. All it was, was a bunch of people walking, three movies of people walking to a ****ing volcano.

  46. Shakje

    @alistair millington

    "or worse, who would play Tulkas teaching the elves to fight? Laughing as he defeated morgoth."

    Patrick Stewart.


  47. David Cornes


    "Of course, they managed to make 3 movies out of a bunch of people walking to a volcano".

    :And I never did figure out Sam managed to remain "the fat one" after having walked leagues on mostly lembas for going on a year..?

    "Star Wars is a special case. Lucas had plot outlines for all six right at the start of things."

    :Are you seriously telling me Lucas had the story for The Phantom Menace 20+ years, and it STILL came out so bloody godawful??!

    "After all, Melbourne House managed to squeeze it into 48 KB on the ZX Spectrum.

    [sits down and starts singing about gold]"

    :Elrond gives you some food. :-D

  48. Anonymous Coward


    "Tolkien was concerned that the British had no equivalent to the Ring Cycle so he set out to create it, and didn't do a bad job."

    He didn't look very far then did he.

    The British Isles consist of England AND some other countries whose names I can't seem to remember just now.

    "You are in the Gandalf. You can see:

    Some Lunch.

    Gandalf says "Hello"

  49. This post has been deleted by its author

  50. RWB

    I'm VERY pleased that Peter Jackson is involved with The Hobbit!

    I can't see HOW anyone can complain that there will be TWO Hobbit films. I'll take all I can get. I loved the LOTR trilogy and can't wait until The Hobbit. Fantastic NEWS about Peter Jackson producing The Hobbit!!!!!

  51. Shakje

    @Gavin Taylor

    So basically, you judge books based on how easy it is for younger readers to read, or based on if someone has a terrible attention span.

    Flame over, sensible discussion follows.

    The LotR is, of course, a more advanced read than The Hobbit, simply because it was aimed at adults, whereas Hobbit was based on tales he told his children. It's like comparing Pearlandra with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, except that both of Tolkien's stories can be read by almost any age, whereas with Lewis I think it's far clearer that TLTW+TW are aimed at kids.

    Because LoTR is aimed at adults, reading it as a teen is naturally going to be difficult. If you try it and accomplish it, it's a thoroughly satisfying read. I was never a fan of The Two Towers, but I reread the trilogy a few years ago and realised that it is a lot better than I originally thought it was. The seperate threads that wander in different directions, come together masterfully, and interlink seamlessly on a reread.

    The Hobbit is not structured better, it's just simpler. The structure of LoTR is amazing, considering how many different storylines and themes are being juggled throughout the trilogy. The Hobbit only really has the one, so any structural comparison is pointless.

    My beliefs anyway.

  52. Mike


    Your flames make you a fool......

    "Because LoTR is aimed at adults, reading it as a teen is naturally going to be difficult."

    OK, I'm well read (or like to think so), catch-22, LOTR, On the road, The female enuich, Unbearable lightness of being, catcher in the rye, etc. etc. and they are all good reads, reading should always be a pleasure, a "clever" book doesn't make a better read, and thinking somehow that LOTR is "better" than the hobbit because it's harder to read is just idiocy, Terry Prachet writes books for "people old enough to understand", Asimov's books are brilliant stories that have wonderful depth and insight, but you don't have to "get" that to enjoy it.

    Stop being so conceited and just enjoy reading, books, any books (just not the fucking bible, for christ sake ;-)

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