The Films: A Timeline

  1930 J. R. R. Tolkien begins to write The Hobbit
September, 21 1937 The Hobbit published
  1969 J. R. R. Tolkien sells the film and merchandising rights to United Artists
  1976 United Artists sells the rights to Saul Zaentz Company – partially.
  1977 The animated movie produced by Rankin/Bass debuted
  1981 MGM buys over United Artists
  1995 Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh express an interest in filming The Hobbit
  1996 Jackson puts The Hobbit on hold and decides to film a remake of King Kong
  1997 Jackson puts the plans for King Kong on hold and speaks to Miramax about producing two movies on The Lord of the Rings
  1998 Jackson refuses to work with Miramax due to cost concerns and approaches New Line Cinema
  1999 Jackson begins work on The Lord of the Rings
  2001 – 2003 Films Release
March 2004 – 2005 Jackson launched a lawsuit against New Line, claiming he had lost revenue from merchandising
September 2006 MGM expressed interest in teaming up with new Line and Jackson to make The Hobbit
  2006 The Hobbit Film Project envisaged as two parts
January 2007 Robert Shaye, annoyed with the law suit, said Jackson would never again direct a film for New Line
August 2007 Robert Shaye tried to repair his relationship with Jackson
September 2007 New Line was fined for failing to provide requested documents
December, 16 2007 Jackson was chosen to be executive producer of The Hobbit and its sequel
February 2008 After merger of New Line with Warner Bros, films were announced with a schedule of release for Decembers 2011 and 2012. Jackson chose not to direct. Tolkien Estate filed a suit against New Line for breach of contract and fraud
April 2008 Guillermo Del Toro was hired to direct the films
August 2008 Pre-production begins, with Del Toro, Jackson, Walsh and Boyens writing the scripts
November 2008 Del Toro admits that the script was continually changing
  2009 Frenzied writing in the first few months
March 2009 Completion of the story outlines and treatments
April 2009 Del Toro hires John Howe, Alan Lee, Weta Workshop, Gino Acevedo, Mike Mignola, Wayne Barlowe
June, 12 2009 Del Toro confirms that McKellen, Serkis and Weaving would reprise their roles
June 2009 Del Toro revealed where he had decided to split the story into two
September 2009 The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount
November 2009 Jackson anticipated that the scripts would not be finished until the beginning of 2010
  2010 Filming expected to take place with Del Toro renovating the sets at Matamata
January, 22 2010 Alan Horn said that the first film would likely not be released until the fourth quarter of 2012
May, 28 2010 Del Toro explains at a press conference that MGM was facing financial troubles and The Hobbit had not been officially greenlit
May, 30 2010 Del Toro quits
June 2010 Reports fly about possible directors and fans protest
June, 25 2010 Jackson was reported to be in negotiations to direct
July 2010 McKellen appeared on TVNZ’s Good Morning, where he stated that: “I’m not under contract and my time is running out. I don’t want to give the producers the impression that I’m sitting waiting.”
July, 27 2010 Del Toro responds saying “these are very complicated movies, economically and politically.”
September, 24 2010 Internation Federation of Actors issued a Do Not Work order and Jackson mentions possibility of filming in Eastern Europe
October 2010 Jackson confirmed that Richard Armitage would play Thorin. Other dwarves would be played by Irish actor Aidan Turner (Kíli), English actor Rob Kazinsky (Fíli), Scottish actor Graham McTavish (Dwalin), and New Zealand actors Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Peter Hambleton (Glóin), John Callen (Óin) and Mark Hadlow (Dori). Bilbo would be played by Martin Freeman
October, 15 2010 a Deadline report suggested that James Nesbitt, David Tennant, Michael Fassbender, and Saoirse Ronan were in negotiations for parts in the film project
October, 16 2010 New Line and Warner Bros confirm that The Hobbit was to proceed filming with Jackson as director and the film will be in 3D as well
October, 25 2010 Thousands of New Zealanders organised protest rallies imploring that production remain in New Zealand
October, 27 2010 After two days of talks with the New Zealand government (including involvement by Prime Minister John Key), Warner Bros. executives decided to film The Hobbit in New Zealand as originally planned.
November 2010 McKellen updated his website to include The Hobbit, suggesting that he had, in fact, decided to reprise the role of Gandalf in the two parts.
November 2010 Jackson confirmed that James Nesbitt (Bofur) and Adam Brown (Ori) had also been added to the cast
December, 4 2010 Orlando Bloom was in negotiations to reprise his role as Legolas
December, 7 2010 Mikael Persbrandt confirmed to play Beorn and Cate Blanchett was the first actor who said she would be reprising her role as Galadriel. Also announced was the inclusion Stott, McCoy, Gage, Brophy and Kircher.
January 2011 McKellen confirmed that he was to start filming in Wellington in February, Sylvester McCoy confirmed his part in the movie as a wizard
January, 6 2011 Elijah Wood was in talks to reprise his role as Frodo
January, 10 2011 McKellen and Serkis officially confirmed the reprising of their roles as Gandalf and Gollum
January, 11 2011 Christopher Lee announced on his website he would be reprising his role as well
January, 27 2011 Casting director, Hubbard, revealed that Ronan had been cast
January, 27 2011 Jackson hospitalized with Stomach ulcer
February 2011 Ronan said she was in talks for a role but had not yet been signed
February, 21 2011 Filming was scheduled to begin
March, 21 2011 Filming begins!

 

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