More filming for The Hobbit will be done in Wellington after Sir Peter Jackson confirmed the movie will be split into three.
The film-maker today announced plans for the third film, with more shooting for the US$500 million (NZ$639m) project planned in the capital next year. The third, as-yet-unnamed part will be released in mid-2014.
Jackson said the decision to the turn the two-part film into a trilogy was based on "the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings".
"[It] gave rise to the simple question: do we tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as film-makers and fans was an unreserved ‘yes'."
Jackson said he and co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens were keen to make a third film after viewing a cut of the first film, An Unexpected Journey, to be released in December, and part of the second, There and Back Again.
Much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the dwarfs, the rise of the Necromancer (arch villain Sauron in The Lord of the Rings), and the Battle of Dol Guldur, would not be told "if we did not fully realise this complex and wonderful adventure", he said.
"It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, ‘a tale that grew in the telling'."
Neither Jackson nor Hollywood studios New Line Cinema, Warner Bros and MGM detailed how the three parts would now be structured or whether the Battle of the Five Armies - the climax of The Hobbit novel - would be moved to the third film.
While most of the filming for The Hobbit was completed in Wellington this month, some additional filming was scheduled for next year for There and Back Again. A small amount of extra filming will now take place specifically for the third film.
Jackson let slip his wish for a third film at American pulp culture expo Comic-Con. Last week The New York Times reported the studios were in discussions with Jackson and the main cast.
- The Dominion Post