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In an ideal world should Peter Jackson have made the Hobbit before the LOTR trilogy?

The Shire

Dec 12 2012, 6:27pm

Post #1 of 12 (472 views)
In an ideal world should Peter Jackson have made the Hobbit before the LOTR trilogy? Can't Post

This is my first post on here...so be gentle with me!!

I have been a huge fan of both the Hobbit and Lord Of the Rings books for many years and I also hugely enjoyed Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy of films with New Zealand proving a stunning stand in for Middle Earth.

I am really looking forward to seeing the new hobbit trilogy and will be seeing the 2D version of An Unexpected Journey this Saturday and the 3D HFR version the on Sunday!! V.excited!! Smile

As a massive fan of the books and the films I don't mind the fact that the Hobbit is being much extended by interweaving other Middle Earth tales. The more Middle Earth the better if you ask me!!

I do wonder though if it would have been better for PJ to have started with the Hobbit and then moved on to the Lord of the Rings. I believe I read somewhere online (LOTR Wiki perhaps?) that this was indeed the original plan sometime around 1995, but that publishing rights complications mean't that in the end it was the LOTR which got made first?

Obviously neither PJ or the studio knew in advance that the LOTR trilogy was going to be such a phenomenal success! The LOTR (which was originally going to be two films) was made as a trilogy, but even so, much of the detail in the book had to be removed (Barrow Downs, Tom Bombadil, Scouring of the Shire, etc) to make the project do-able as a trilogy.

This is touched upon in part of the Empire magazine review for the new hobbit film:-

"To begin with the first form of embellishment is to immediately address the concern that Jackson and co.’s Hobbit may be a painful inflation of a slim, bedtime storybook, as opposed to The Lord Of The Rings’ leaner interpretation of a vast fantasy-historical epic"

I think that if it had been possible to film the Hobbit first and if it had been a huge success, then this would have given Jackson leverage to make a huge version of the LOTR...possibly four or even five films?

I think with five films he really could have made a of series of movies that were every bit as rich and detailed as the LOTR book.

As it is, we have ended up with something the other way around...with what looks like it is going to be a super detailed and drawn out 'The Hobbit' short book, with a fairly truncated film version of the LOTR epic book. That's not to say I don't love the films (especially the extended versions) BECAUSE I DO!!

But is it a case of what might have been?


Dec 12 2012, 6:35pm

Post #2 of 12 (266 views)
If the 3 film LOTR hadn't been such a smashing success [In reply to] Can't Post

I highly doubt that anyone, fans/critics/movie-company-money-holding-decision-makers/the-estate, would have indulged him the 3 film structure, new technology toys, and budget he has to play with right now.

It would have been very, very different and the viability of an LOTR series and any other ME movie over the next several decades would have hung in the balance by the string of a single film based off a book that largely lacks the epic importance and dark kingly royalty themes that are so much easier to get audiences to buy than a simple action series that is so much closer to faery and so much further from fantasies of power and drama.


Dec 12 2012, 6:45pm

Post #3 of 12 (262 views)
Welcome to TORn :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a good question. But if a LOTR film was to follow a Hobbit film, then TH would've had to have been a massive success. And 10 years ago, studios would have only wanted 1 film, rather than 3. They wouldn't risk it.

I think things would have turned out a lot differently, if TH had come first. A LOTR film would have been made in the end though, whether it was canon or not to TH.

There are lots of ifs and buts. In my opinion, it has turned out okay in the end. 5 years ago I didn't even think there would be a film. In under 18 hours, I will be watching it!

All's well that ends well. Thanks PJ and co.

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Tol Eressea

Dec 12 2012, 6:52pm

Post #4 of 12 (271 views)
Welcome, and great question! [In reply to] Can't Post

In a world where LOTR was not yet made, I have to believe that The Hobbit would be a single movie. No White Council, no Necromancer, just the book. After all, it was everything they could do to get even a two-movie treatment of LOTR greenlighted to begin with.

Some might say that's bad, some might say that's good. I for one, would not mind a more canon-like single Hobbit movie. But I reserve final judgement on that until I see the movie(s) we've got coming up. If Jackson nails the White Council/Necromancer/early Dwarf-goblin war threads like he might, then I'm 100% behind the way things happened now. But if he bollixes the whole bit like they did parts of LOTR, then I'll always regret that we didn't get the Hobbit first and a more Tolkien-like LOTR trilogy.


Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Dec 12 2012, 10:08pm

Post #5 of 12 (240 views)
I doubt Radagast would have been in The Hobbit if PJ had made it first... [In reply to] Can't Post

So I'm glad he made it second!Laugh

If he made it first I doubt he'd be able to get away with such a risky move!

"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue, and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends."-Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings.


Dec 12 2012, 10:38pm

Post #6 of 12 (230 views)
Howdy and Welcome, Hobbithole :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree it would have been great to have The Hobbit released before LotR; but I'll bet we would have only had 1 maybe 2 films :)

It's strange how things fall into place... and scary to think that we almost didn't get any Hobbit films at all!

It's so great to have you here in time to share in this exciting time :) CHEERS!


I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.

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Grey Havens

Dec 13 2012, 12:32am

Post #7 of 12 (213 views)
In a totally ideal world, maybe... [In reply to] Can't Post

But it would have to be such an ideal world that the studios would have given him a (nearly) unlimited budget and greenlighted at least 2 if not 3 movies for The Hobbit. But if that could have happened...maybe. For those of us who are Tolkien fans anyways, it might have been nice to see The Hobbit first. But if you were a Tolkien fan to start with, and then didn't like PJ's version of The Hobbit, would that have ruined your appreciation of the three LOTR movies? Maybe. And for those who weren't already Tolkien fans, would it have been better to approach Middle-earth first through The Hobbit, or is it easier to fall in love with it through the heavier weightiness of LOTR? I may be wrong, but I think the number of people who are passionate (or nearly so) about book-LOTR but who are ho-hum about book-The Hobbit far outweigh people who feel the other way around -- so how would it have affected their feelings about the movies if The Hobbit came first, and how would that have affected the success of both trilogies? Hard to say!

Anyways, neat question, Hobbithole, and welcome to TORn. :-) Nice to have you here!


Dec 13 2012, 12:33am

Post #8 of 12 (212 views)
Hobbit before LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

As Jackson said in the first production video of The Hobbit, at the very begginning of the process of making films of Tolkien's work, TH was seriously considered as the first contender. However PJ was told that the rights of TH were more complex. LOTR had to be their choices.
Also, it might have weighted in the balance: PJ dreaded at that time making a film with 13 Dwarves as main characters.

@Radagast-Aiwendil That's clear to me, he shouldn't have been in the movie(s) were the Hobbit been done before. He belong to LOTR. I still think it was a mistake not to include him in a short scene with Gandalf in FOTR that could have found a place in the EE to get the sens that there is more than two Wizards (Istari) sent to Middle-Earth. Now it feels as if they've tried to amend for that previous mistake. It might be better than no Radagast at all but now there's Galadriel, Legolas, Frodo ect they've well exceded beyong the book's content in terms of character.

(This post was edited by sam90 on Dec 13 2012, 12:35am)


Dec 13 2012, 4:08am

Post #9 of 12 (264 views)
Good opening gambit Hobbithole. [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to TORn. It is a pleasure.

It is a curiosity isn't it, working this over a bit.

It seems to me, that to have this whole Tolkien happening resoundingly 'breaking ice', Jackson would have to enter with his hole card; the lotr's. But also to do so with meteoric momentum fashion and just explode onto the screen as he did with that opening scene (although it was Newline that actually pushed that i believe).

That opening scene just blew a gigantic hole into ones consciousness (especially to the non-book firsters) of the power and scope and dynamism of Middle-earth where one never looked back being utterly sucked into the breathlessness of each and every scene thereafter.

So having TH entering the scene now, there is still that huge tail wind created by that initial meteor (if you will) that it will re-light that crazed desire to follow suit and just dive head-long into Middle-earth again.

Well, that is how i see it anywaySmile


Dec 13 2012, 3:35pm

Post #10 of 12 (185 views)
Ideally? Yes, probably. [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course, Peter Jackson did try to make The Hobbit first, but was foiled by a complication in who controlled the film rights at that time. That Hobbit would have been a very different project from the trilogy that starts with An Unexpected Journey. I also imagine that it would have been a single film, condensing and compressing elements from the book, with little or no chance of unexpected cameos from Legolas, a young Aragorn, Arwen or the White Council (not that Arwen or 'Estel' seem to be in the Hobbit films that we are getting). The casating would have to have been a bit different too. Martin Freeman would have been ten years younger. Perhaps Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd or Sean Astin would have been cast as Bilbo Baggins. John Rhys-Davies as Thorin? Who knows?

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Dec 13 2012, 3:52pm

Post #11 of 12 (187 views)
If for nothing else [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm glad it was filmed this way because of the casting. I can't think of a single person from LOTR whom I felt was miscast. If The Hobbit had been filmed first, I'm sure we would have had a similarly brilliant cast (for the LOTR), but it wouldn't be the one I'm familiar with and love.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales

Registered User

Dec 13 2012, 10:11pm

Post #12 of 12 (306 views)
thoughts about the films [In reply to] Can't Post

I would have been happy whichever way round the films had been made, but I agree that if The Hobbit had been made first it would only have been one film and it would have been quite abridged. It might have been difficult for PJ (or whoever was making the series) to convince anyone from this that LOTR deserved to be made. Incidentally, I don't think this would have been the right way of looking at things - it's just how those in the movie business would have seen the situation.

One advantage of the Hobbit being first would have been that no-one would be talkng about it as a 'prequel' to LOTR - something which frankly annoys me. You want to say "It was written first, everyone. By quite a long way..." I wouldn't regard it as being poorer quality either. It has a different sort of tone to its much bigger successor, but the writing can't really be faulted. LOTR was written with lots of stops and starts and I think this does sometimes show in the writing - it's great, but it's flawed. I would also tend to agree that three films isn't enough to cover it, but if there had been more films it wouldn't have guaranteed that lots more of the interesting bits from the books would have got in. Rather it would have meant some very long action scenes and some new material, some of which would have worked, some of which wouldn't. A trilogy is a suitable way of telling the stories.


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