Gandalf – we mean, Ian McKellen – raised Tolkien fans’ hopes recently when he said he thought Peter Jackson would return to Middle Earth but now, the Oscar-winning director has quashed all hopes of a Hobbit trilogy follow-up.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Jackson explained that for legal reasons, he would not be bringing any more of Tolkien’s work to the big screen.
“The Tolkien estate owns the writings of Professor Tolkien – The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were sold by Professor Tolkien in the late Sixties, the film rights,” the New Zealand filmmaker said.
“But they are the only two works of his that have been sold. So without the cooperation of the Tolkien estate, there can’t be more films.”
Although The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are Tolkien’s most famous works by far, he wrote many other stories about Middle Earth including pre-history The Silmarillion.
Surely after the huge success of his five Tolkien movies (soon to be six when The Battle of the Five Armies is released next week), the estate would help Jackson out? Quite possibly not.
“Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed by the absurdity of our time,” Tolkien’s son Christopher told Le Monde in 2012.
“The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work and what it has become has overwhelmed me. The commercialisation has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”
All is not lost, however, as there is an extended edition DVD of both trilogies in the pipeline so fans can enjoy “24 hours of joy” at home.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hits UK cinemas on Friday 12 December.
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