As for “The Hobbit,” Sloan confirmed that MGM was in advanced talks with Peter Jackson to make two movies based on JRR Tolkein’s “prequel” to “The Lord of the Rings.”
The first would be a direct adaptation of “The Hobbit,” and the second would be drawn from “footnotes and source material connecting ‘The Hobbit’ with ‘Lord of the Rings,’ ” he explained.
Sloan did not reveal when these projects might be ready to start shoot-ing. An MGM spokesman emphasized that negotiations with Jackson are still in progress, and that production isn’t likely until 2008 or even 2009.
I have expressed concerns here before about whether a Jackson- directed adaptation of The Hobbit could be faithful, tonally, to Tolkien’s book; The Hobbit is more of a children’s book, while The Lord of the Rings is more of a grown-up book. But this approach could work, I think; the second film could help the story segue from the relatively innocent tone of the earlier adventure to the much darker, indeed apocalyptic, tone of the later adventure.
The question is, what sort of narrative shape would it take?
Oh, and nitpick here: A “prequel” is a sequel that takes place before an already existing story. So while Jackson’s film version of The Hobbit would certainly be a prequel to his version of The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003), Tolkien’s book version of The Hobbit would not be a prequel to his version of The Lord of the Rings, because The Hobbit was written and published first.