I can hear the groans now. It’s kind of amazing the narrative change on Peter Jackson and his expanded “The Lord Of The Rings” hexalogy. The first trilogy, people loved and couldn’t get enough, clamoring for those extended edition DVDs, with more and more footage making for running times that were over three hours for each film. But cut to his new, not-as-well-received ‘Hobbit’ trilogy, and there’s a lot of bemoaning about the similar running times of these movies, in most social spheres.
Well, perhaps that means run in the opposite direction unless you’re a hardcore ‘Hobbit’ fan, as Jackson says there’s about 25 minutes of extra footage that will probably be added to the DVD/Blu-ray version of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” But if you’re looking for an expanded “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” DVD, you’re probably out of luck. “The Smaug movie, we’ve got 25 or 26 minutes of pretty good stuff for that DVD,” Jackson said in a recent Deadline interview. “The first one, there wasn’t that much we left on the cutting room floor and it wasn’t earth shattering. But this is worthwhile stuff that you haven’t seen before.”
‘Smaug’ was 2 hours and 41 minutes. Adding that extra footage would make for a 3 hour and 6 minute movie. And while that may sound exorbitant, keep in mind this is way shorter than the running time of all the extended original ‘Lord Of The Rings’ DVD editions (no film runs shorter than 200 minutes with the extended ‘Return Of The King‘ running a whopping 251 minutes).
Now that his Hobbit series is coming to an end—and, it really is, with Jackson reiterating that the Tolkien family owns the rights to everything else, including the possibility of creating new stories and they won’t budge on giving those rights up—what could come next? One possibility is the long-gestating WWII fighter planes movie, “The Dam Busters.” It’s a project that Jackson hasn’t given up on mainly because fans are always bugging him about it.
“It’s a very beloved story,” he said. “I’ve had so many people the last five years come and ask, ‘When are you going to make The Dam Busters? When are you going to make The Dam Busters?’ Honestly, you ask me what I got out of five years of making The Hobbit? It was me feeling like I have to make The Dam Busters, because of the endless people asking, ‘When are you going to make The Dam Busters?’ ”
Jackson said he had not decided on what picture is next, but “The Dam Busters” sounds like a possibility down the road. “We still have the rights, and it’s one in a little pot of movies. We don’t have a next movie nailed down, but certainly ‘The Dam Busters ’is one of them. There is only a limited span I can abide, of people driving me nuts asking me when I’m going to do that project. So I’ll have to do it. I want to, actually, it’s one of the truly great true stories of the Second World War, a wonderful, wonderful story.”
There you go. Put that one on PJ’s to-do list. There was talk once of a lo-fi Peter Jackson horror movie, but that was around the time that Guillermo del Toro was still attached to “The Hobbit,” so clearly that waylaid him. Maybe that too will surface one day. Thoughts? Will you be happy to see Peter Jackson move away from the Tolkien universe? Verklempt? Sound off below.