EXCLUSIVE: Debunking Those 'Hobbit' Rumors, In Peter Jackson's Own Words

I really hate to step up on my digital soapbox and be "that guy" right now, but some wild rumors concerning the Peter Jackson-produced, Guillermo del Toro-directed adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" popped up yesterday and the record needs to be straightened out. Of the four key components to this latest round of hopeful fanperson musings, three are easily debunked.

Blogspot site MarketSaw, "a blog focused on 3D motion pictures," reported yesterday that (1) "The Hobbit" will be presented in stereoscopic 3-D, (2) it will unfold across two movies, with a third bridge to follow them, (3) Peter Jackson will direct said bridge and (4) the dragon character Smaug will be "darker than in the book." While number four is certainly feasible with del Toro at the helm, one through three directly contradict Peter Jackson's own words on the subject of "The Hobbit." Check out the video below for his own words and then hit the jump for the down and dirty debunkings.

Let's start with the 3-D possibility. In an article published on July 29, Eric Ditzian reported that del Toro won't be shooting "The Hobbit" with a digital camera, thus ruling out any possibility of a 3-D "Hobbit." Now the rumor does report that 3-D is Jackson's idea, and that del Toro is not onboard with it. So who knows? It's harder to take this first bit seriously in light of the next two pieces.

MTV's Josh Horowitz spoke with Jackson at Comic-Con and, as you might imagine, the subject of "The Hobbit" came up. "As far as I'm aware, I think that [Warner Bros.] and New Line only have the rights to do two movies. So I don't think there's any opportunity to do a third film," he said with a small grin, "no matter how much fun that would be."

I can see where the bridge idea comes from of course. The original plan was to shoot "The Hobbit" as a single film and the bridge as a follow-up. That ended up not working out because of the ambitious plans Jackson, del Toro, et al have for the adaptation.

"There wasn't ever any way we could squeeze [the book] into one film. So we made a decision, if we're doing 'The Hobbit'... we're going to split it into two movies and make sure everything that everyone loves from the book is there, plus all this extra stuff that we can have a bit of fun with."

Extra stuff? What kind of extra stuff, Mr. Jackson? "You know Tolkien wrote 'The Hobbit' before he wrote 'Lord of the Rings.' But then once he wrote 'Lord of the Rings,' he naturally expanded the world and the events that were happening and the background of 'The Hobbit'-- things he didn't really know about when he was writing 'The Hobbit' but he devised later on when the world of Middle-Earth... grew in his imagination. So there's a lot of material that we can retrospectively put into "The Hobbit" that doesn't actually exist in the novel."

Presumably, Jackson is referring to Gandalf and his fellow wizards' struggle with the shadowy Necromancer, who turns out to be Sauron, antagonist of the "Rings" trilogy. As well as any number of other possibilities.

The point here is that the standing plan to shoot "The Hobbit" as a duology remains, and that a third "bridge" film is very likely not a possibility due to rights issues. Given the fact that these Jackson comments pretty much directly contradict points two and three of the MarketSaw rumor, I'm hesitant to put any stock in the rest of it.

That said, I am a "Rings" fan -- both the books and the films -- and would absolutely love to see a Jackson-helmed bridge film happen. It doesn't seem likely at this point, but these things are of course always subject to change.

Do you want to see a bridge film come after the two-part "Hobbit"?