My fear is that The Hobbit is going to turn into a B-plot its own movie.
I think this move -- to move to a trilogy -- could prevent that.
If you think about the chronology of events in The Hobbit
and where the "split" that ended the first film was rumored to take place (at the barrels sequence), then the second film would have been top-heavy with battle sequences -- in addition to the Battle of Five Armies, there also would have been the Dol Guldur business. The story of the Dwarves would have been crowded in its own movie.
Splitting all the LOTR
background material into a third film would prevent that. Material leading
to the White Council's attack on Dol Guldur can be seeded in the first two films (which would adapt The Hobbit
), and then, in the third film, Bilbo asks Gandalf on the way home from Lonely Mountain, "So where were you during all that time?" and Gandalf tells the tale of what's basically the opening move in the War of the Ring. This way the latter half of The Hobbit
gets the room it needs to breathe, as does the White Council material, without it all stepping on each other.
If that's what Jackson does, then they've basically gone back to the original plan -- a Hobbit
adaptation and a Lord of the Rings
prequel/bridge film. And I'd suggest that the best possible names for this bridge movie would be either The Return of the Shadow
or The White Council
, though I like the former better. And I don't think this would require a lot of filming. It would really amount to re-editing the films and doing pick-ups where the narrative goes a little thin because they were trying to compress so much into the second film.