Peter Jackson says that The Hobbit – originally planned for release as a two-part series – will now be a trilogy, with the third film arriving in the summer of 2014, the Associated Press reports.
In a statement, the Oscar-winning director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy noted that much would remain untold if The Hobbit weren't divided into three parts.
"We recognized that the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, gave rise to a simple question: do we tell more of the tale?"Jackson said. "And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved 'yes.'"
With principal photography finished for the first two films, the announcement came after Jackson watched a cut of the first and part of the second movie and realized he could include a third.
"We know how much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer and the Battle of Dol Guldur would remain untold if we did not fully realize this complex and wonderful adventure," Jackson said.
The first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, hits theaters December 14th, while the second, The Hobbit: There and Back Again will see release December 13th, 2013.