It looks like we’re saying goodbye to Middle Earth after all.
Recently, some fans have speculated that there might be more JRR Tolkien-based films on the horizon after the upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – but that hope has been firmly quashed by series director Peter Jackson.
Rumours had been circulating after comments from series star Ian McKellen suggested that it might not be the end of the franchise, but when asked today at a press conference if there would be more adaptations of the Lord of the Rings author’s work, director Peter Jackson replied in the negative.
“No…it’s a legal thing,” he said. “The Tolkien estate owns the writings of Professor Tolkien – The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were sold by Professor Tolkien in the late 60s…the film rights. So they are the only two works of his that have ever been sold.”
Jackson added: “Without the cooperation of the Tolkien estate, there can’t be more films.”
The news will come as a blow to devoted fans of the series hoping for more films featuring Gandalf actor Ian McKellen.
"I was told by Peter, in 2001, that that was the end, that it was all over," he told the BBC on the green carpet of The Battle of the Five Armies’ premiere last night.
"Here we are 13 years later. So I don't believe necessarily this is the end of the journey."
However, Jackson’s response echoed that of The Hobbit’s co-producer Phillipa Boyens, who spoke to RadioTimes.com at last night’s premiere.
“The film rights are not available as far as we know,” she said, “and I suspect that when they do become available, if they ever become available, they will pass into the hands of other filmmakers because I will probably be in my wheelchair.
“Professor Tolkien said that other minds should come to these stories, and he welcomed that. And I suspect that we need to do the same.”
Other works by Tolkien that inhabit the same world as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings include the Silmarillion (a collection of shorter stories) and Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle Earth, which were both published after the author's death.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will be released on December 12th