The news that Peter Jackson has been given the green light to turn The Hobbit from two films into three has delighted many of those looking forward to the first instalment this December. Anyone who enjoyed The Lord of the Rings trilogy (and there were a few) is likely to be wanting to prolong the eventual date when Middle-earth disappears from cinema screens for good.
But the question is: what is going to happen in The Hobbit 3?
We (should) all know the story of Tolkien's first masterpiece. In a slightly abridged format it goes: beardy magician persuades hairy-footed midget to join band of small-but-not-quite-as-small men with funny names in quest against treasure-stealing and fire-breathing dragon; midget meets strange coughing creature in cave and steals ring that may or may not prove important 60 years later.
But what next? The Lord of the Rings was made up of three books totalling some 1,008 pages, perfect for adaptation into three separate films. The Hobbit, however, is just one book of some 310 pages, meaning there's likely to be a fair amount of new writing and extra characters needed to fill a third part of the puzzle.
Gandalf the Grey is regularly absent from The Hobbit - the famed wizard often only crops up when it's time for goblins to meet with his staff - and in the appendices, it is explained that he was off battling a Necromancer who was threatening to unleash an "army of darkness".
This Necromancer, it turns out, is none other than the chief antagonist of The Lord of the Rings, Sauron, who Gandalf takes on with the help of Cate Blanchett (aka Galadriel) and Christopher Lee (Saruman).
Jackson has hinted that such events could well feature in the new addition. "We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, the Dwarfs of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance," he said on his Facebook page.
The Battle of Dol Guldur might be all well and good, but with one eye on the ridiculous, here are a few of our suggestions as to what might well happen in the final instalment of what might become a too-drawn-out Hobbit trilogy.
The Hobbit: In Sickness and in Elf
Aragorn (son of Arathorn) and the wispy-voiced elf princess Arwen were already well on their way to getting hitched by the time of The Lord of the Rings (he just had to defeat evil), but there were undoubtedly many out there who wanted to know how they got together.
This heartwarming romcom tells that story, from their first meeting on the dance floor of the Rivendell Ritz, to the initial disapproval of Arwen's stern-faced father Elrond, and finally to her agreeing to renounce her Elven lineage and accept mortality. A couple of cutesy talking animals are thrown in for comic effect.
The Hobbit: There and Gone Again
If you'd just discovered a magical ring that makes you invisible, what would you do? Hide it away for 60 years while you write the odd adventure story or two and grow old? Neither would we.
This action thriller charts Bilbo's previously unpublished escapades with the One Ring between the two books, from the mischievous (eating Hamfast Gamgee's prize-winning turnips), to the cheeky (hiding in the Hobbiton Women's Hockey League changing rooms) to the downright dangerous (sneaking into Mordor and stealing Sauron's washing).
The Hobbit: Pinball Wizards
Although Saruman doesn't appear in The Hobbit, Tolkien's subsequent notes revealed that he had been battling Sauron as part of the do-gooding White Council with Gandalf and Galadriel.
But then, in The Lord of the Rings, he goes bad and starts building his own orc army. Why? Two words: that holiday.
In this Grumpy Old Men-style comedy, both Saruman and Gandalf go on a much-needed break to a resort on the Gulf of Lune after defeating the Dark Lord, only to see things quickly descend into a series of bickering arguments regarding the prices of room service menu selection and one rather closely contested game of pinball in an amusement arcade. They eventually return in silence, and Saruman begins making his dastardly plans.