File this in the are-you-serious category. Peter Jackson, director and demigod of LOTR (that’s Lord of the Rings for the uninitiated) has announced — on Facebook no less — that the planned two-film Hobbit series has magically become three full movies.

In a witty take on author J.R.R. Tolkien’s chapter title in which Bilbo Baggins is whisked into an adventure by the wizard Gandalf, Jackson titled his status update “an unexpected journey” … which is also the title of the first movie in the newly-minted trilogy.

The reason for the upgrade? There’s more story to be told:

Recently Fran, Phil and I … watched for the first time an early cut of the first movie — and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life.

All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.

The three-film journey is indeed unexpected, but most LOTR fans seem to be more than happy at the news, since they will now have three entire movies to enjoy rather than the expected two.

16,000 fans have already liked the status on Facebook, and another 10,000 have shared it. Among the 2,000+ comments, Joanna Diebel says: “Wow! This is so great :) I can’t wait to see how this will all come together! Just keeps on getting better…”

Jolissa Revere is both more excited and more succinct: “Yes! Yes! YEEEEEEESSSS!!”

The downside?

Now fans will have to wait three years to get the full story, assuming New Line Cinema follows the Lord of the Rings model and releases the movies one year apart near Christmas.

You won’t, however, have to wait to see the trailer, if you have not seen it yet: