Though we’ve heard umpteen times that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is in fact the true conclusion to Peter Jackson’s sprawling fantasy epic, Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen, has weighed in on the future of Middle-Earth on screen and stated that he isn’t convinced that the New Zealand director is finished with J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved source material.
Speaking to the BBC during the threequel’s London premiere, here’s what McKellen had to say on the matter, and though it’s likely that this is merely an off the cuff quip, it’s still interesting to think of a future for Middle-Earth beyond The Hobbit.
“I was told by Peter, in 2001, that that was the end, that it was all over. Here we are 13 years later. So I don’t believe necessarily this is the end of the journey.”
Whether Jackson will continue the cinematic journey so to speak is another matter entirely. Given the rich universe that he has created throughout the course of six films, there’s on doubting that the legacy of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit will live on in the vein of Harry Potter — i.e. through tourist attractions and future spin-offs. Alas, we can only speculate at this stage.
But given that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is now finally upon is, the first reviews have begun to make their way online for the “conclusive” chapter, and those critics have heaped praise on the threequel despite some issues.
Minor issues aside, this is another grand spectacle that does a fine job wrapping things up without offering nearly as many of the memorable moments of its predecessor… or “The Lord of the Rings” as a whole.
It’s easier now to see the entire “Hobbit” project as a labor of love on Jackson’s part, rather than a descent into crass box-office opportunism. Where the first two films often felt like a marking of time by a director intent on fattening his own Smaug-like coffers, “The Battle of the Five Armies” contains a series of emotional payoffs and bridges to the “Lord of the Rings” films that work as well as they do for having been carefully seeded by Jackson in the previous episodes.
The Hollywood Reporter:
But the final stretch of The Battle of the Five Armies possesses a warm, amiable, sometimes rueful mood that proves ingratiating and manages to magnify the good and minimize the bad of the trilogy.
Although the climactic battle affords Jackson & Co. an opportunity to send the cast off with a “bang,” the majority of the supporting characters introduced or expanded upon in the Hobbit motion picture trilogy finally exit with nary a farewell glance.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will march into theaters on December 17. Until then, let us know what you make of McKellen’s quote in the comments section below.