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?

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    Because he could convince the studio that LOTR would make money more easily than Hobbit. Oct 24, 2014 at 3:51
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    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, 2014 at 6:42
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    Is there anything you really need to know that en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… doesn't answer?
    – user8719
    Oct 24, 2014 at 8:55
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    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
    May 19, 2015 at 4:05
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3 Answers 3


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.

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    Do you have sources for this or just guessing? Oct 24, 2014 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. Oct 24, 2014 at 22:35
  • @I meant that jackson's decision was based on that fact Oct 24, 2014 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. Oct 25, 2014 at 6:26
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    @OmarDevonLittle: The Boer War ended in 1902, when Tolkien was 10 years old. The oldest of Tolkien's children was born in 1917. So Tolkien could not possibly have written in the way you describe. (In fact he wrote the Hobbit for his children in the early 1930s, and LOTR gradually between 1937 and 1949.) Jul 29, 2015 at 15:31

The Hobbit arrived first in my social circle in circa late 70's. Intrigued with the following LOTR book, borrowed in the same circle, after a bite to eat, each and every work date night, I read it nearly every night for three months.

I'd seen parts of Peter Jackson and Co's work on television or wherever with bits of his adaption of this incredible telling of an imagined world, But. A friend had been sent the whole set of LOTR. Not starting with the Fellowship, but starting with the Hobbit. As it could have been, but as pointed out, the entire project would have fallen flat. I feel that I have been very fortunate in that I was able to start this incredible journey with the sequence in which I have read it! Not only that as a wise old woman I am now, it's easy to relate to the wisdom and unfolding time in which we live and recognize how much mindful thinking will play a part in our present as we enter the Fourth Age

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    This doesn't really seem to explain why the movies were released in the order that they were. Note that the 'Your Answer' field is only meant for posting answers, not related comments. In order to post comments the right way, you need to increase your reputation to 50 or more to unlock the comment everywhere privilege. Please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more. May 5, 2022 at 22:55

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