Jackson defends the decision to turn The Hobbit into a trilogy

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Jan 14, 2013, 2:52 PM EST

When word first broke that Peter Jackson was turning J.R.R. Tolkien's relatively short novel The Hobbit into a full-fledged film trilogy, the fan backlash came fast and furious that it was likely just a cash-in to milk out more Lord of the Rings prequels. So what does Jackson (and his cast) have to say to all the haters?

According to Jackson, it'll all make sense once we see the finished product. We'd already heard that he and his writers pulled from Tolkien's associated appendices to fill in the gaps, and he promises there is more than enough action to carry three films.

He told The Hollywood Reporter:

"The book is written in a very brisk pace, so pretty major events in the story are covered in only two or three pages. So once you start to develop the scenes and plus you wanted to do a little bit more character development, plus the fact that we could also adapt the appendices of Return of the King, which is 100-odd pages of material that sort of takes place around the time of The Hobbit, so we wanted to expand the story of The Hobbit a little bit more, as did Tolkien himself. So all those factors combined gave us the material to do it."
Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) tackled the question head-on, saying anyone who thinks Jackson added a third film for anything other than creative reasons is completely wrong:
"Anyone who thinks Peter Jackson would fall for market forces around him rather than artistic integrity doesn't know the guy or the body of his work. If we just made one movie, The Hobbit, the fact is that all the fans, the eight-, nine- and 10-year-old boys, they would watch it 1000 times. Now, they've got three films they can watch 1,000 times."
Series newcomer Richard Armitage (Thorin) said the addition of a third film will give the story room to breathe, as it develops characters and weaves into the larger tapestry that is Middle-earth:
"It does warrant three films. These films are underlaid and textured and layered with incredible detail. And the dwarf characters for example, in Tolkien's book they're very thinly sketched, actually a bit of an amorphous group, whereas every single dwarf you will get to know throughout the course of this journey. They are all very developed parts. You will care for and get to know them, and see how they function in the world. And I love that also, because these films, The Hobbit isn't a separate universe. It's entirely as you saw in the first films, the broader themes are built into the texture of it, and this allows each character to have their moments and play their parts in those themes, that's certainly three films. Condensing it into two films seems almost impossible."
Well, they all seem convinced. But what do you think? Will The Hobbit work as a Lord of the Rings-esque trilogy?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)