Well, MTV News caught up with director Guillermo del Toro, who attempted to shed a little light on the topic. "The reality is that we stopped talking the first movie and second movie, and we just started taking about the movie - the two episodes, or two parts, as if they were a single piece of narrative. We don't even call it the bridge movie, we just call it 'The Movie.' And this is great. When we found what reverberated, and we found it in one of our virtual meetings -- we understood. It's a movie. We all agree that if we do our job right, it should all feel like a continuous journey. That's what we're striving for."
Is that any clearer? No, I didn't think so. But actually, del Toro dropped one hint, one riddle in the dark that might just solve everything -- he let slip where the first movie would end. "We are finding out. I think Smaug dies in the first movie. So draw your own conclusions."
And my conclusion would be that with Smaug's death concluding the first movie, the second would deal with the Battle of the Five Armies, where everyone from elves to the men of Esgaroth have an eye on claiming Smaug's gold. It's pretty epic and vicious, and could easily take up an entire movie. In fact, I'm not sure how they could get all of that into one Hobbit film. I think this is going to turn out to be a sensible move that does the book justice -- not the cash grab we all took it for.