'The Hobbit 3' Has Been Retitled 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies'

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Warner Bros.

We heard the rumors that the third of Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit' trilogy would be undergoing a title change and today, it came to pass. What was once 'The Hobbit: There and Back Again' is now 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.' What was once pleasant and sentimental is now battle-hardened and filled with promises of action. Take from that change what you will.

Director Peter Jackson announced the change on his Facebook page, going into detail about his reasoning for re-titling the trilogy-capping blockbuster. The short version is that he felt the original title was appropriate for when this was meant to be a two-part series, but didn't feel right once it was split (stretched?) into three movies. Here's his full statement:

Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo's own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we've gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the "Desolation of Smaug".

When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.

And so: "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" it is.

As Professor Tolkien intended, “There and Back Again” encompasses Bilbo’s entire adventure, so don’t be surprised if you see it used on a future box-set of all three movies.

Before then however, we have a film to finish, and much to share with you. It’s been a nice quiet time for us—Jabez and I happily editing away in a dark cave in Wellington—but those halcyon days are quickly coming to an end. It will soon be time to step into the light. Expect to see and hear much about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in the coming months.

Jackson also promises (threatens?) the upcoming release of the 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' extended edition, which will somehow be 25 minutes longer than the theatrical cut.

We're not sure we completely buy Jackson's reasoning for the title change. Yeah, Bilbo and the Dwarves do reach "there" in the second film now, but all of the "back again" has yet to happen. As a title, it seems like it would work just fine, especially since it's the title of older Bilbo's future book, which fans of the movies will recognize from the original 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.'

Our pet conspiracy theory is that this change really happened when 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' underperformed at the box office and Warner Bros. demanded a new title that promises action. There's probably some focus group results that suggest the title will play better overseas.

In the original novel, the Battle of the Five Armies is the final conflict over the Dwarven homeland of Erebor between -- you guessed it -- five armies and it promises to be one of the biggest battles in all six of Jackson's Middle Earth films. In fact, it'll probably take up a significant portion of the film's running time. So it's actually not a bad title, but we're just suckers for sentiment.

'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' will storm into theaters on December 17, 2014.

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