J. R. R. Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937, and the first Lord of the Rings Book (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) in 1954.

He wrote/published The Hobbit before the Lord of the Rings series, which makes sense, as the Hobbit is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings.

However, Peter Jackson released the first Lord of the Rings movie (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) in 2001, and the first Hobbit movie (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) in 2012.

Why did Peter Jackson release the movies in reverse order to the books?

  • 12
    Because he could convince the studio that LOTR would make money more easily than Hobbit. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 24 '14 at 3:51
  • 8
    He only got the chance to make Hobbit because LotR did so well - do you think any sane person would have set out to make 3 movies out of a 300 page fairly simple and unconventional kid's story, if they didn't have the success of LotR - a much more epic and cinematically suited tale - to be assured of people throwing money at them? One could even say that without the success of LotR, the Hobbit movies would likely not be doing nearly as well as they are - and even with the LotR publicity and more than 2x the budget, that's not nearly as well as LotR did. – Shisa Oct 24 '14 at 6:42
  • 1
    Is there anything you really need to know that en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… doesn't answer? – user8719 Oct 24 '14 at 8:55
  • 1
    I would also suggest that Lord of the Rings is a better story- it is more compelling, far more complex, more exciting, and intended for a more mature audience. The Hobbit is relatively simple, family-friendly, and bland compared to LotR – Wad Cheber stands with Monica May 19 '15 at 4:05
  • 2

In Appendix 7 that came with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson talked about how the studio only purchased the movie rights for the LOTR series. The rights for The Hobbit had already been sold to make the 1977 animated Hobbit film. This is why they couldn't release The Hobbit first.

Peter Jackson had a very difficult time getting the rights to make his version of The Hobbit, and it almost wasn't made due to legal issues. Guillermo del Toro was going to be the original director. The schedule of the film kept getting pushed back and eventually he had to leave the project to work on another movie. This is when Peter Jackson stepped in and became the director.



The Lord of the Rings was written for a slightly more mature demographic. With a projected broader market the financiers associated with funding the making of Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King would have had more confidence in the product making money. Once a potential market had been established then viability would have seemed more likely for production of The Hobbit. Making The Hobbit in the manner they did has also secured the younger generation as a futures market for the franchise. Characters in The Hobbit are inclined to be a bit more endearing.

  • Do you have sources for this or just guessing? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 24 '14 at 14:47
  • One only needs to read the hobbit then read lotr to realize that the hobbit is most certainly written for the younger generation. Lotr was written by Tolkien for his son while;he was away fighting in the boer war and it was sent to him a chapter at a time. – Omar Devon Little Oct 24 '14 at 22:35
  • @I meant that jackson's decision was based on that fact – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 24 '14 at 22:41
  • Well we don't really know. It may not have been Jackson's idea to begin with. He is very passionate about the franchise so it's feasible to think he would have preferred to show the films in sequence. A lot of scenes might have made more sense like when they found Balin's tomb. You would then understand why Gimli is so upset. Balin was a part ofthe quest to Erebor with Oin and Gloin - Gimli's father. But in the end the people with the money would have final call on what they spend their money on. I could be very wrong haha but I'm just floating my theory. – Omar Devon Little Oct 25 '14 at 6:26
  • Letter 124 supports this answer: "My work has escaped from my control, and I have produced a monster: an immensely long, complex, rather bitter, and very terrifying romance, quite unfit for children (if fit for anybody); and it is not really a sequel to The Hobbit, but to The Silmarillion." Of course it's well known that Tolkien was playing games with A&U at the time, in order to try get the Silmarillion published too, so how much of these sentiments are actually genuine is open to debate. – user8719 Oct 31 '14 at 17:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy