Let's face it, eventually Peter Jackson will get bored again. Or the economy of Wellington, New Zealand will need a boost. Or New Line Cinema will realize it doesn't have any other sure-fire revenue streams. Or some young film executive — who is probably in middle school right now — will think it's a brilliant idea. No matter what the impetus, eventually "The Hobbit" franchise will be rebooted. Here's how we think things will be different next time.
1. Hey, how about four movies? Five, maybe?
Sure, some people complained about stretching a rather thin children's novel into three extra-long feature films, but they still bought tickets. So let's see how far we can go with this.
2. More "Lord of the Rings" characters:
Nobody seemed to mind too much how Peter Jackson shoehorned Legolas (Orlando Bloom) into "The Hobbit" movies, so let's see how far we can take this! Maybe we could have a subplot where Wormtongue is having a rough go of it in boarding school or something.
3. Mess with "The Lord of the Rings" timeline even more:
Who cares about continuity when you can have even more fan-friendly inside jokes? Say, let's have Sean Bean show up even earlier and die again. People love watching that guy die! (Producer's note: If Sean Bean is no longer available, check the prices for Hologram Sean Bean.)
Using 3-D cameras and higher frame rates might have been enough as far as bells and whistles for a 2010s crowd, but tomorrow's audiences need a little something extra. Like movie-related scents pumped into the theater. You think you know dwarves now, just wait until you get a whiff of them after an unexpectedly long journey.
5. Can Tolkien be a character?
Bilbo telling the story of "The Hobbit" was a great framing device, but how about a framing device for the framing device? Kids love narrative bookends! We could feature J.R.R. Tolkien getting first getting the idea for "The Hobbit." Heck, it could even work as a prequel to a Tolkien biopic starring Elijah Wood (or Hologram Elijah Wood).
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick