‘The Hobbit’ finale renamed ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’

Martin Freeman and John Callen in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," the second in the trilogy.
(Mark Pokorny / Warner Bros. Pictures)

The third and final movie in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy has an action-oriented new title. The film will henceforth be known as “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” Jackson announced on his Facebook page Thursday.

The movie was previously subtitled “There and Back Again,” a name carried over from when Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel “The Hobbit” was intended to span two films rather than three.

“‘There and Back Again’ felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling,” Jackson wrote on Facebook. “But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced.’”

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Jackson had been mulling a name change and approached Warner Bros. about it late last year. “We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at,” he added. “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.”

The new title, which is reminiscent of the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” and its War of the Five Kings, suggests an action-packed conclusion to the “Hobbit” trilogy, which kicked off with “An Unexpected Journey” in 2012 and continued with “The Desolation of Smaug” (the arcane title that engendered some confusion and snickering) last year.

A number of reviewers criticized the first film for needlessly elongating Tolkien’s slim children’s book and packing it with filler, though “Smaug” was widely seen as righting the ship.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is scheduled to open Dec. 17.


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