Yes, the rumors are true: Peter Jackson has confirmed that "The Hobbit" will become a trilogy. Rumblings that the "Lord of the Rings" prequel would be split into three films first made headway at Comic-Con earlier in the month.
"We have certainly been talking to the studio about some of the material we can't film, and we've been asking them so we can do a bit more filming next year," Jackson told HitFix, after the "Hobbit" Hall H panel. "Which, I don't know what would come of that, whether it'd be extended editions or whatnot. But those discussions are ongoing."
According to Variety, although Jackson has plenty of B-roll footage to work with, another "Hobbit" film will require a re-start of production.
Considering the lack of material in the original J.R.R. Tolkien book, fans were already a bit skeptical of the story being split into two parts. It's rumored that this third movie will use material from the appendices Tolkien wrote at the end of "Return of the King," the final chapter in the "Lord of the Rings" series.'
Currently, the third flick is being slated for a summer 2014 release date. The first film, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," will hit theaters on December 14, with its follow-up, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," getting a December, 13, 2013 release.
UPDATE: This Peter Jackson quote is from the official press release announcing the third film:
"Upon recently viewing a cut of the first film, and a chunk of the second, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and I were very pleased with the way the story was coming together. We recognized that the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, gave rise to a simple question: do we tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved 'yes.' We know the strength of our cast and of the characters they have brought to life. We know creatively how compelling and engaging the story can be and-lastly, and most importantly-we know how much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur would remain untold if we did not fully realize this complex and wonderful adventure. I'm delighted that New Line, MGM and Warner Bros. are equally enthusiastic about bringing fans this expansive tale across three films."