Peter Jackson doesn’t make short films. Those who have ever attempted a Lord of the Rings marathon can confirm that (an extended edition marathon takes 11 hours).
The Hobbit is a 300+ page novel split into 3 films so we can already see The Hobbit trilogy being shorter. In a recent interview Jackson confirmed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be his shortest Middle Earth film to date, but not by much.
“It’s looking like it’s going to be about ten minutes shorter than Fellowship was,” said Jackson. “So it’s going to be officially our shortest Middle-earth yet. I mean, Fellowship was just under three hours and this is about 2 hours 40 minutes at the moment.”
The decision to split The Hobbit into three films may have caused some last minute changes to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey but I can’t see them being major ones. If anything it’s the second film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, that will be affected the most, but that film won’t be released for another year.
The Hobbit follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild (Richard Armitage). Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens December 14, 2012, followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug December 2013 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again July 2014.