Peter Jackson's third Hobbit film officially has a new title

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Apr 24, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT (Updated)

Peter Jackson has announced that There and Back Again is officially no longer the subtitle of his final Hobbit flick.

Last week, we heard a report that New Line Cinema had registered a new potential subtitle for the third film in Jackson's second MIddle-earth trilogy, which had until now been titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again, after the subtitle of J.R.R. Tolkien's original novel. That report claimed that the new registered subtitle was The Hobbit: Into the Fire, but also noted that it may have been one of several potential choices for Jackson and the studio to mull over. That report also mentioned that, back when New Line announced the extension of The Hobbit from two films to three back in 2012, another potential subtitle for the third film had been registered: The Battle of the Five Armies, a name derived from the climactic final clash in the novel involving dwarves, elves, men, orcs and eagles. Now one of those two subtitles has become official.

Jackson took to his Facebook page just hours ago to tell the world that the new title of the third film will be The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. He explained that, because the subtitle There and Back Again was first chosen when he was still planning to tell the story in two films, it was originally meant to describe a film in which Bilbo would both arrive in Erebor and return to the Shire. With the story stretched into three films, though, Bilbo arrived in Erebor in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, so the "there" in There and Back Again has already been achieved. With that in mind, Jackson started thinking about a new title.

"When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title," Jackson wrote. "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."

So, there you have it. Now we can stop speculating about the title of the third film and start speculating about just how long it'll be. That titular battle will likely be a big chunk of the film's runtime, but Bilbo and his friends also still have the dragon Smaug to deal with, and Gandalf's still off unraveling the mystery of Sauron's return, which Jackson will likely milk for all it's worth as a full-fledged lead-in to his Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

The newly retitled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies arrives in theaters Dec. 17. 

(Via The Playlist)