Middle-earth buffs now have something to rejoice about -- Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson announced today that his movie adaptation of "The Hobbit" will be a trilogy rather than the previously announced two-part sequel.
He made the announcement on Facebook, saying that while he was editing the first and second movies in the series, he realized how much of the story was being left out.
"We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life," he wrote. "All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved 'yes.'"
At the time of this writing, more than 18,000 people have liked Jackson's announcement on Facebook, 11,000 people have shared it, and more than 2,000 people have commented.
Here's more from his Facebook post:
We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
While filming "The Hobbit," Jackson has been using innovative techniques, such as shooting the movie in 3D using 48 RED Epic digital cameras. During a preview of the movie at the CinemaCon trade show in Las Vegas in April, some viewers complained that this technique actually made the movie too accurate and too clear -- giving it a TV-like quality. It's not yet known if Jackson will continue to use the 48 RED Epic digital cameras in the shooting of the third "Hobbit" film.
According to the Washington Post, the third movie does not yet have a title but already has a release date for the summer of 2014. The first movie in the trilogy, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," is slated to be in theaters this December.