What We’ve Been Told

14 December 2009

In the build-up to the Hobbit films over the past few years the filmmakers, especially PJ and GDT, have told us a number of things about what the films will be like.  Here follows a few of these facts that are relevant to a consideration of whether the films will be faithful or not.  This list will be updated as more information becomes known.

The Hobbit will be in two films

Unlike some early reports that the first film would be The Hobbit and the second would be a “bridge film” consisting of material pulled from the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, both films will cover the events in The Hobbit (the book).  How the films will be split since the book is not particularly long and has no clear dividing point remains to be seen.  Reports that there would be two Hobbit films in addition to a bridge film appear to be unfounded since neither GDT or PJ seem interested in making one.   However…

The Hobbit will be “expanded”

In the relevant part of this video, PJ said:

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 in the background of The Hobbit.  Things that he didn’t really know about when he was writing The Hobbit  but he devised later on when the world of Middle-earth kinda grew in his imagination.   There’s a lot of material that we can retrospectively put into The Hobbit which doesn’t actually exist in the novel; which is fun, I mean this is fun stuff, because it sort of expands The Hobbit in a way that makes it very much related to The Lord of the Rings.

This presumably refers to the events surrounding the White Council and Dol Guldur; where Gandalf disappears to when he leaves Bilbo and the Dwarves in the book.  This hypothesis is evidenced by the fact that PJ wants Cate Blanchett to return as Galadriel, since Galadriel was involved with the White Council. This is a radical departure from the original story – and PJ himself seems to recognize this! – in that it changes the focus from Bilbo’s adventure to be a broader look at Middle-earth at that time, and makes The Hobbit more closely tied to The Lord of the Rings.  With that in mind….

The Hobbit will be integrated with The Lord of the Rings

Some have described The Hobbit as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, but while this may be true (although two of the three definitions for prequel on Dictionary.com mention that prequels are written after the original work), The Hobbit is rather distinct and self-contained within Tolkien’s overall mythology.  While The Lord of the Rings has many references to Tolkien’s other works, especially in the Appendices, such references in The Hobbit are comparatively limited and is much smaller in scope.  To put it more simply, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are separate works.  GDT does not seem to want to treat them that way however, since he has said:

We all agree that if we do our job right, it should all feel like a continuous journey. That’s what we’re striving for. You should see a movie that’s five pictures long. If we do our job right, you put in ‘The Hobbit’ and you wind up watching the entire Pentology!

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