's panel at
saw Peter Jackson and several key members of his cast discussing everything from 3D to the relative merits of Gandalf the Grey vs. Gandalf the White. However, the most interesting snippet was Jackson's confirmation that a third film is something he's keen to explore…
"We have got incredible source material with the appendices," says Jackson. "There’s the novel, but then we also have the rights to use the 125 pages of additional notes where Tolkien expanded the world of The Hobbit . I've been talking to the studio about other things that we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we could possibly persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting."
"We’d probably need more than a few weeks, actually, next year," he continues. "The discussions are pretty early, so there isn’t anything to report, but there are other parts of the story that we’d like to tell, that we haven’t had the chance to tell yet. We’re just trying to have those conversations with the studio, at the moment."
To be perfectly honest, unless The Hobbit should prove to be an unexpected flop (and the chances of that would seem remote in the extreme) we can't see New Line saying no to another Middle-earth film, should Jackson settle upon another element of the story he wants to tell. After all, the original trilogy made more than a few quid at the box office…
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in the UK on 14 December 2012. And for the record, both Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen prefer Gandalf the Grey...