Director Peter Jackson has confirmed that his two-film adaptation of The Hobbit will be expanded into a trilogy.
Jackson confirmed recent rumors about plans for three films in a post to his Facebook page entitled "An Unexpected Journey."
Jackson explains that due to the wealth of compelling material and strong character portrayals, it was decided to add a third installment to The Hobbit.
"We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life," the director wrote. "All of which gave rise to a simple question: Do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved 'yes.'"
Jackson sums up his explanation by quoting The Hobbit author J.R.R. Tolkien himself. "It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, 'a tale that grew in the telling.'"
Following the adventures of Bilbo Baggins in Middle-earth as he journeys with a group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen by a formidable dragon, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey rides into theaters December 14, 2012. The second part, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is set to hit theaters in December 2013.