Forget two films, it's seeming more and more likely that Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" film will come in three parts.
When word broke out Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" prequel, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" would get broken down into two films, though slightly wary, the news was met with general acceptance.
After all, "The Hobbit," the book the film will be based off, definitely has a scene where you can cleanly break away for a sequel.
However, slicing the film one more time seems a bit extreme, but not to Jackson.
In an interview with Deadline, "The Hobbit" director sounded confident he can break it into one more film after reading 125 pages of notes in an appendices J.R.R. Tolkien included in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
What people have to realize is we’ve adapted The Hobbit, plus taken this additional 125 pages of notes, that’s what you’d call them. Because Tolkien himself was planning the rewrite The Hobbit after The Lord of the Rings, to make it speak to the story of The Lord of the Rings much more. In the novel, Gandalf disappears for various patches of time. In 1936, when Tolkien was writing that book, he didn’t have a clue what Gandalf was doing. But later on, when he did The Lord of the Rings and he’d hit on this whole epic story, he was going to go back and revise The Hobbit and he wrote all these notes about how Gandalf disappears and was really investigating the possible return of Sauron, the villain from The Lord of the Rings. Sauron doesn’t appear at all in The Hobbit.
So, Jackson wants to tell us where Gandalf went and possibly include Sauron, with the understanding that "The Hobbit" will introduce the way Tolkien intended to rewrite the book.
While we're fans of the LOTR trilogy, and Jackson certainly seems to have Tolkien's mindset down–his films have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide–there's only one person who knows how "The Hobbit" should be told, and that's Tolkien.
In the end, we're just not sure you can stretch a 272-page children's novel into enough material for three films–with or without Tolkien's added annotated material.