Peter Jackson: Tolkien Estate Rights Prevent More Middle-Earth Films

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The director says that "without the cooperation of the Tolkien estate, there can't be more films"

At Monday's world premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in London, Ian McKellen fueled rumors that Peter Jackson would be returning to Middle-earth, saying that he didn't "believe necessarily that this is the end of the journey."

But at a press conference Tuesday, the director swiftly put down any hopes that he would be delving further between the lines of J.R.R. Tolkien's works.

"It's a legal thing. The Tolkien estate owns the writings of Professor TolkienThe Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were sold by Professor Tolkien the late 60s … the film rights," he said.

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"But they are the only two works of his that have been sold. So without the cooperation of the Tolkien estate, there can't be more films."

Jackson did say that fans wanting more could look forward to his extended edition DVD of the The Battle of the Five Armies, which he would be heading back to New Zealand to work on in the new year.

"I'll be putting that together for about four or five months, which will be fun," he said, later describing how the release would enable people to finally watch the entire extended editions of The Hobbit and Lord of the Ring trilogies back-to-back. "It's 24 hours of joy," he laughed.

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Also at the press conference, Andy Serkis — recently revealed to be the voice in the new Star Wars teaser — spoke of his delight at working with Jackson behind the camera in the final Hobbit.

"Being asked to direct the second unit was an enormous shock, but it really speaks of how Pete collaborates with all the cast members and all the crew, and is a natural leader and a brilliant filmmakers," he said. "His virtues are that he is the most incredibly generous human being, and to learn from a director who is a the most incredibly generous human being — you really couldn't ask for a better mentor."