The third and final film in the Hobbit trilogy will no longer be known as The Hobbit: There and Back Again, as director Peter Jackson confirmed via Facebook. Instead, the new title moving forward will be The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.
“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.” Jackson wrote. “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.”
Jackson went on to admit that the possibility of changing the name first arose during the premiere for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He spoke with the studio heads then about revisiting the title, and they all agreed to wait until there was a cut of the third film to watch. According to the director, the first cut of the film was finished last week, and after viewing it everyone involved agreed to the change.
The subtitle “There and Back Again” may still find some use though. “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,” Jackson said.
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is still on track to hit theaters on December 17, 2014, but there is also an extended edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on the way. Jackson confirmed that they are in the process of finishing the new cut of the second film, which will contain over 25 minutes of new footage.