Between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, director Peter Jackson created one of the most epic franchises in Hollywood history. But don’t expect him to jump back on the bandwagon with another trilogy. In an interview with Moviefone, the director of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies complains that huge franchises are bringing the film industry down. “I don’t really like the Hollywood blockbuster bandwagon that exists right now,” says Jackson. “The industry and the advent of all the technology, has kind of lost its way. It’s become very franchise driven and superhero driven.”
That’s a surprising complaint from the man who pioneered expensive new digital effects for his Lord of the Rings trilogy, and proved to studios that audiences would keep coming back for annual three-hour blockbusters. But maybe it’s the superhero part that’s sticking in Jackon’s craw. “I’ve never read a comic book in my life so I’m immediately at a disadvantage and I have no interest in that,” he admits. “So now it’s time for us to step back.”
Watch a video primer on the final Hobbit:
By “step back,” Peter Jackson means that he and collaborator Fran Walsh (who is also his life partner) want to return to smaller-scale films made in their native New Zealand. He cites his acclaimed 1994 drama Heavenly Creatures, which marked the screen debut of Kate Winslet, as an example. “So if I don’t do a Marvel film, I don’t have any other choice —I’ve got to go make a small New Zealand movie!” he jokes.
Although Jackson insists that he’s “absolutely happy to make smaller films,” he also defends the choices he made in creating a seven-hour Hobbit trilogy from a single book. “It’s a weird thing, even when you look at the reviews for this movie, people are still bitter about the breakfast scene from the first movie. They say, ‘It took so long.’ Fair enough,” says Jackson. “But I always thought of these movies as a seven hour film. So you look at it as, ‘Why are we spending the first quarter of this movie at a dinner scene?’ I’m thinking that it’s not the first quarter, it’s actually one-sixteenth of a thing.”
He even suggests, half-jokingly, that the original Lord of the Rings trilogy (which runs over nine hours in its theatrical version) be expanded to include Tauriel, Evangeline Lilly’s character from the Hobbit movies. “We’re really three or four years away from eight and nine year-olds discovering these movies and watching them in this order and will be wondering why she doesn’t show up in Lord of the Rings,” he says. “Maybe we’ll get Evangeline down to New Zealand, shoot a bunch of stuff, chop it up and put it into a box set.”
Image Credit: Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images