We still have two weeks until The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hits theaters but last night the world premiere in London’s Leicester Square saw Peter Jackson and the cast turn out to say the first of many goodbyes to the franchise. While Jackson had only just finished editing the film last week, he already has his mind on the special Extended Edition of the film that won’t be released for another year.
According to Collider, Jackson revealed at The Hobbit press conference in London that the Extended Edition will feature 30 minutes of additional footage. An Unexpected Journey featured 13 minutes of additional footage (183 minutes long) and The Desolation of Smaug clocked in an extra 25 minutes (186 minutes long). The theatrical cut of The Battle of the Five Armies was previously reported as 144 minutes, meaning this extra 30 minutes of footage will round out the entire extended trilogy at 543 minutes. The Lord of the Rings extended trilogy sits at 680 minutes, meaning the most dedicated of us will be sitting through 20 straight hours of Middle Earth goodness.
This extra 30 minutes won’t be easy, however. It’s going to take Jackson another four or five months to edit the final extended cut. For now, he’s is content to focus his attention on the emotions surrounding the final film of his Middle Earth journey: ”Saying goodbye to the cast was like this agonizing long torture over 10 weeks…But the real emotions will hit me in days to come.”
Cast members attending the premiere included Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, and many more. They too had much to say about the final film.
Martin Freeman said “The reason I’m not sad is because we are handing it over to the audience and sharing it with you. You’re the best fans in the world – you’re loyal and mad – so thank you so much.”
Richard Armitage agreed saying, “It’s the most amazing feeling to be here when you step out of the car and the crowd erupt because they love your character. Tonight is going to be a party, a big celebration.”
Sir Ian Mckellen was more hopeful, saying “I don’t believe necessarily this is the end of the journey.”
While Jackson has been adamant that this is his final foray into Middle Earth, he had said the same thing after completing The Lord of the Rings. The change from producer to director for The Hobbit trilogy was due more to circumstance than actual desire to do it, but maybe Peter will turn to The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, or The Histories of Middle Earth for some future inspiration. The fact of the matter is, if Tolkien’s work is ever adapted again, Peter Jackson is the man we want for the job.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hits theaters on December 17.