"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," the second chapter in director Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" prequel trilogy is still in theaters, but that doesn't mean thoughts aren't turning to even further down the road. So after this trilogy finishes next December, will Jackson come back for more Middle-Earth?
According to "Hobbit" star Richard Armitage, who plays Dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in the film, it's not a question of "if," it's a question of "when."
"I'm sure the lure of 'The Silmarillion' will bring him back to Middle-Earth," Armitage told MTV News. "Although God knows how long that movie will be."
The main problem with a movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's collection of appendices and short stories about Middle-Earth is that no movie studio actually owns the rights. As recounted extensively here and at other sources, Tokien's heirs own the rights to any material beyond "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," and they're not happy with what Jackson has done with the movies.
Part of that unhappiness stems from their claim that Warner Brothers has cheated them out of any money for the films, as WB states they didn't actually make any profit on the first trilogy. Recently, Warners counter-sued the Tolkien estate; and though that lawsuit was thrown out of court, chances are it would take a lot for Warners and the Tolkiens to patch things up.
But as Armitage notes, don't doubt the perseverance of Jackson, who has devoted a large chunk of his life to the Baggins family.
"Never say never," Armitage continued. "I think he loves Middle-Earth. I think he's defined what it looks like. He's created all of those worlds that Tolkien talks about. It's obviously irresistible to him."
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is now in theaters.