Peter Jackson and Newline have announced:
“* MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute two films, “The Hobbit” and a sequel to “The Hobbit.”
“* Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on “The Hobbit.” New Line will manage the production of the films, which will be shot simultaneously.
“* Peter Jackson and New Line have settled all litigation relating to the “Lord of the Rings” (LOTR) Trilogy.
“The two “Hobbit” films – “The Hobbit” and its sequel – are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of “The Hobbit” release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011.”
I don’t know what counts as “‘The Hobbit’ and a sequel to ‘The Hobbit,’” but AICN says, “the second project is believed to be a bridge between THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy – culled from the titanic amount of periphery/ancillary/notated material found in Tolkien’s works.”
That’s o.k. with me, I guess, as long as it doesn’t completely suck and as long as thorazine drips are being prepared for everyone who ever posted to rec.arts.books.tolkien.
So … assuming a 2010 holiday release, Ben will be six-going-on-seven when this hits. Considering the ease with which he’s absorbed The Dark Crystal, I’m sure he’ll be cool with this.
The main movie challenge Ben will pose will involve hiding the existence of SW Ep’s I, II & III.
“No, no, son … you’re right. In real Roman numerals, ‘IV’ does mean ’4.’ But in the ‘Star Wars’ universe it means ’1.’ If someone tries to tell you about some fake ‘prequel,’ yell for help as loud as you can then run and find mommy or daddy … that person is trying to confuse and hurt you.”