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Prequels to 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy coming on 2010 and 2011    2007-12-19 07:47:41    

Jackson said: "I'm very pleased we have been able to put our differences behind us. We're delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth."
Peter Jackson will make two prequels to 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy based on 'The Hobbit'.

The director and his wife Fran Walsh have agreed to be executive producers on the big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy book after settling a legal dispute with film company New Line Cinema over the profits from the Oscar-winning franchise.

Jackson said: "I'm very pleased we have been able to put our differences behind us. We're delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth."

Jackson will not direct the films, claiming he could not meet the planned release dates of 2010 and 2011.

Harry Sloan, chairman of MGM, who will co-finance the films, said: "Peter can't get it scheduled and he doesn't want the fans to have to wait for the next two movies."

Excited moviegoers greeted the news with delight, with one user of fan site exclaiming: "Fist in the air! Yes! Trust Peter, The Master, The Commander, The Wizard!"

'The Hobbit' tells of a world inhabited by wizards, dwarves, elves and little people called hobbits, including the central character, Bilbo Baggins.

Cast members from Jackson's 'The Lord of the Rings' films, including Sir Ian McKellen who played wizard Gandalf and Sir Ian Holm who portrayed Bilbo, are expected to reprise their roles.

'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy - 'The Fellowship of the Ring', 'The Two Towers' and 'The Return of the King' - was hugely successful, taking in a massive $3 billion at the box office.

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