Look, nobody thinks it should have taken three films to adapt The Hobbit — nobody except New Line Cinema and MGM, that is. And of course, after a careful examination of the impact of one Hobbit film versus three Hobbit films on his bank account, Peter Jackson.
But let’s be practical, folks — if they’re gonna stretch a 300-page novel across three separate films in a blatant money grab, let’s just accept it for what it is and not get hung up on the little stuff…like the title of the trilogy’s third and final installment.
Keeping that in mind, Jackson took to Facebook Thursday to officially announce the last film in the Hobbit series would be titled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. That title replaces the original title The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
As Jackson explained in his post republished by Crave film site ComingSoon:
“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.”
The change, which was foreshadowed in leaked discussions last week, is already raising some hue and cry among the hardcore Middle Earth set, mostly because There and Back Again was actually the original book’s alternate title as written by author J.R.R. Tolkien himself back in the 1930s.
Sure, There and Back Again sticks more closely to Tolkien’s original vision than The Battle of the Five Armies, which sounds more like it should be the colon-adjacent subtitle for the next Transformers movie.
But let’s all try to be pragmatic about this — despite Jackson’s story-driven explanation for the change, the reason should be fairly obvious: The Battle of the Five Armies has heaps more action-y gravitas and grandeur than the comparatively wistful There and Back Again.
And New Line is in the business of putting butts in movie theater seats. So if a five-army battle helps bring one extra hyper-adrenelized young male into the auditorium in hopes of big-screen spectacle and carnage, it’s worth the change. Artistic integrity, be damned…we already kissed that away when it was decided this story needed 9 hours to tell it.
You can check it all out for yourself when The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hits theaters Dec. 17.