Ian McKellen, Peter Jackson Defend ‘Hobbit Trilogy’ Decision

Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf the wizard in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and reprises his role in the upcoming The Hobbit Trilogy, defended the decision to split the latter adaptation into three films.

Many fans and critics regard the decision to split The Hobbit into a trilogy as an obvious money grab. The original plan was to divide the prequel into two installments, but director Peter Jackson announced earlier this year that he would instead dedicate a new trilogy for the adaptation.

McKellen defended the director’s criticized move to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that fans will enjoy three Hobbit films:

“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 1,000 times. Now, they’ve got three films they can watch 1,000 times.”

Jackson explains that he expanded the films with appendices written by J.R.R. Tolkien included with The Return of the King.

The (Hobbit) is written in a very brisk pace, so pretty major events in the story are covered in only two or three pages… (We) wanted to do a little bit more character development, plus … 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.”

What do you think? Could The Hobbit have succeeded as two films, or are you more than happy to see a new trilogy?