'The Hobbit 3' May Undergo a Title Change

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Warner Bros.

Years ago, Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' was originally announced as two films. When those two films became three, it was automatically assumed that the second film's title, 'The Hobbit: There and Back Again,' would become the title of the third film. And until now, that seems to have been the case. But, a new report suggests the the sixth and possibly final Middle Earth film will be undergoing a title change before its Winter release.

According to the generally reliable TheOneRing.net, the title of the third film may become 'The Hobbit: Into the Fire.' Although we'd like to imagine that this is a creative decision, the new title reeks of marketing. After all, 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' was a box-office disappointment compared to its predecessors and Warner Bros. may be balking at a more sentimental title, even if it's more thematically appropriate. "There and Back Again' is the subtitle to the original 'Hobbit' novel and the name of the book an older Bilbo Baggins writes in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, but it doesn't promise Action! and Adventure! and Excitement! to an international audience quite like the more dull "Into the Fire."

To be fair, this possible new title is a riff on a chapter title from the original text, but when taken out of context, it just sounds lame. The same report suggests that another possible title could be 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,' but even that lacks the dramatic finality of "There and Back Again." Many fans have already expressed their disappointment with the previous two 'Hobbit' films and this is the kind of change that isn't going to reignite their passion.

The third 'Hobbit' film, whatever it's called, will journey into theaters on December 17, 2014.

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