With The Desolation of Smaug in the rearview mirror, director Peter Jackson is gearing up for his final Middle-earth film and the conclusion of his trilogy of movies loosely based on The Hobbit. Ever since the project was announced, the final film has had the subtitle of There and Back Again, but Jackson has just announced that the final film will now have a much more action-oriented name. The third and final film in will now official be titled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, a reference to the massive, climactic conflict that wraps up Tolkien's novel. Last week, Tolkien fan site TheOneRing.net broke news that Jackson's third film might have an alternate title and presented The Battle of the Five armies as one of several options that were on the table.
It's a move away from the actual subtitle of Tolkien's novel, a move that could rankle purists — but given how much Jackson's films already deviate from the original work, this probably won't be the tipping point for anyone on the edge. Indeed, Jackson's logic behind the new title appears to be fairly reasonable. "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," Jackson writes on Facebook. "But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced — after all, Bilbo has already arrived "there" in The Desolation of Smaug."
With just over seven months to go until the final film's release, Jackson says he's spending most of his time in the editing room — "but those halcyon days are quickly coming to an end," he says. Meanwhile, we're sure Jackson will continue to keep fans in the loop as he's done throughout the entire filmmaking process. As a last little tidbit, Jackson revealed the upcoming extended cut of The Desolation of Smaug will feature about 25 minutes of new material — more than double what was in the longer version of the first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey. While the necessity of stretching these lengthy films even further is up for debate, there's little doubt that the most obsessive of Jackson's fans will enjoy spending as much time in Middle-earth as possible.