Prior to the summer of 2012, Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ was only meant to be a pair of movies. However, during July of that year, the filmmaker announced that the story of Bilbo Baggins would be extended to a trilogy by adapting the 125-pages of appendices on top of the short novel. At this moment, we’re almost finished with the story as ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ is currently topping the box office and ‘The Hobbit: There And Back Again’ will be released next year. But what would have happened if Jackson had stuck with only two movies? Now we have some answers to that very inquiry.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the master of Middle Earth revealed that the move from two to three movies was not made at the request of the movie studio. Rather, it was the call of himself and screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens because they would have had to cut out a lot of stuff if they had stayed on the original course of action. So, in order to tell the full story, they decided that changes had to be made:

“People think it’s a cold-blooded cash grab from the studio, and no it didn’t come from the studio at all. It came from Fran, Philipa, and I. We just thought there’s a way that we could structure this that might be more satisfying, that might give us a sense of the beginning, the middle and the end. It might just tick all the boxes that it doesn’t seem to be doing at the moment…and their faces kind of froze because we were hitting them up with not just the fact that it had become three movies, but we also wanted to do a bit more shooting during the year to fill out a bit more of the storylines because we liked where some of it was going but we couldn’t necessarily shoot everything that we wanted on our original plan.”

But if the creative team had stuck with two movies, where would they have made the split in the story? Jackson shares that bit of information as well:

“The split was going to occur where Bard appears on the riverbank as a silhouetted figure with a bow. So the whole barrel sequence (from ‘The Desolation of Smaug’) was going to be the climax (of the first film). But it just felt like–it didn’t feel right. I know a lot of people had issues with the first movie in the sense of it being a meandering kind of a road film but…we actually rethought it all. And actually what felt more satisfying–there was certainly no shortage of material. I think people are always coming from the direction of ‘well how do you take a three hundred page book and turn it into three movies,’ but we were almost coming at it from the exact polar opposite which was once we had done our adaptation–and that had been long since done.”

You can hear all this information straight from the horse’s mouth in the audio below:

Considering that the second chapter of the story overtook the box office this weekend from ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’, chances are that you’ve seen ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ already. If that’s the case, then which plan do you prefer for J.R.R Tolkien’s classic story? Did you like the final product or would you have preferred the two-film approach? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’ starring Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace, Sylvester McCoy, and Benedict Cumberbatch is in theaters now.