Plans are being drawn up to add further films to Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy.
"We recognised 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?" said Jackson in July, when plans for a third film were announced.
But sources within Jackson's camp have confirmed rumours that he does not plan to end the story with this third film.
They have confirmed reports that plans are being drawn up for a number of pre-prequels, including a series of ten films based on the events on J.R.R Tolkien's book The Silmarillion, and a thirty-film series depicting the rise and fall of the House of Numenor.
Jackson plans to bring the Middle Earth story to an end through one of the most ambitious film projects ever undertaken, a trilogy based on Appendix D of The Lord of The Rings. Appendix D is a description of the Shire calendar.
If plans for the new films are approved by Warner Bros. and New Line, filming will commence in April next year and will continue for the next forty years.